Genovesa, Galapagos Day 2

Stepping onto Genovesa was a realization of every fantasy I had ever had about the Galapagos.  I've literally wanted to travel to this place since I first heard about it many, many years ago, long before it was on the radar for most.  This horse-shoe shaped island is also known as "Bird Island" for good reason.  Before landing, we saw Magnificent Frigate Birds soaring overhead, joined by Red-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies and Swallow-tailed Gulls. Arriving at Prince Philip's Steps, we climbed the steep cliff side on wooden stairs, which led us into the incredible seabird colony.  Spending about an hour wandering over the paths created by the Galapagos National Park Service, we also spotted our first marine iguanas, a bizarrely evil-looking reptile.

Male Magnificent Frigates sat perched on vegetation with their bright red throat-pouch inflated to
attract females.  Red-footed boobies with their contrasting blue bill, balanced on branches, flew overhead or sat on their tiny nests.  A Short-eared owl was seen by a few in our group, on the eastern side of the island, but his distance, and ability to blend in, kept him hiding from us.  Numerous fluffy young Nazca stayed near a parent, and we spotted both Nazca and Red-footed boobies sitting on eggs.

Staying around Genovesa for the remainder of the day, our activities were varied to keep us immersed in different aspects the island had to offer.  A deep water snorkel along the cliff followed our walk.  Even though the water was cloudy, we still saw a nice variety of fish, and a white-tipped shark.

Swallow-tailed gulls exchanging pebbles
After a lunch break, we climbed into a double kayak to paddle along the cliff, where we spotted a number of Red-billed tropicbirds.  Darting quickly overhead and landing only momentarily on the cliffs, they eluded our efforts to get a picture.  After paddling back to the boat, we took another panga ride to the sandy beach of Darwin Bay.   I opted for a short walk, while Alan went back in the water to snorkel near the shore, where he spotted a Galapagos shark.  Never a dull moment!
Not sure what type of fish this is, but look at that smile!
Descending Prince Phillip's Steps
Nazca chick almost as big as mom!
Nazca Boobie on egg
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Red-footed boobie on nest
Sally lightfoot crab
Marine Iguana
Magnificent Frigate Bird

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