To get to Genovesa from Bartolome, we had to cross the equator into the Northern Hemisphere, a stark reminder of the tropical location of the Galapagos archipelago. We approached the island, also known as Tower, as the sun rose. It appeared as if our ship was sailing directly into the side of a low cliff, until I realized that we were entering a breach in the walls of the island’s ancient caldera.
While we ate a light breakfast on the back deck of the Endeavour, the ship maneuvered through the entrance and came to a standstill somewhere near the center of the caldera. “Good morning,” Paula Tagle, our expedition leader, announced over the ship’s public address system, “we are inside a volcano.”
This was the last full day of our exploration of the Galapagos. Genovesa was for me the most enchanting of all the islands we saw, not only because we got to walk along the rim of the caldera, but because of the birds in tremendous profusion. And what birds they were: boobies of every kind, frigate birds, gulls, owls, mockingbirds, finches, pelicans. They were mating, nesting, roosting, sleeping, hunting, fighting. The sky was full of them arriving and departing from their feeding grounds. The noise they made, especially at sunset, was cacophonous. I’ve never experienced anything quite like Genovesa.
In this post, I will let the photos tell the story. In future posts, I will be interviewing some of the scientists National Geographic supports to do research and conservation in the Galapagos.
This is the ninth post in my account of a ten-day exploration of the Galapagos, on board the National Geographic Endeavour. In my previous post I wrote about the turtles and tropical penguins of Bartolome and Sombrero Chino islets. I was on the Lindblad-National Geographic Expedition as the National Geographic expert. (See all the Galapagos Expedition posts here.)
Next time on Galapagos Expedition Journal: National Geographic Research and Exploration in the Galapagos.