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Genovesa
Ecuador Adventure

La Compania, QuitoLa Compania, Quito (Charles Anderson)
Genovesa is one of the northern most islands and consists of two parts. The first part is essentially a large caldera approximately 1 1/2 miles in diameter. The outer wall has collapsed, allowing sea water to fill the caldera, creating a large sheltered bay. The remaining walls of the caldera rise high above the water and join the second part of the island which is a relatively flat area of lava rock, broken up by large cracks created by the walls of the caldera which over thousands of years have been slowly falling into the crater.

Our pangas ferried us to the beach in Darwin's Bay for a walk and snorkel. The highlight of the hike included a chance to see the Red-footed Boobie. Boobies were everywhere, perched in the mangroves that surrounded the beach. Some sat on eggs while others fed their fuzzy white chicks. These boobies nest off the ground in contrast to the Blue-footed Boobies we would see in the days to come. Numerous Frigate birds were also present. They like to steal nesting material and food from the Boobies. The whole area had the appearance of a kind of Eden, teaming with life. A small inlet of water was home tonumerous small rays. Lava Gulls were perched on rocks, apparently oblivious to our presence.

After lunch, our pangas took us to Prince William's Steps, a narrow stair case carved into the caldera wall which leads up to the flat top of the island. We had a chance to view the only fur seals of our trip whichlike to rest on their sides in the water with one of their flippers pointing upwards. A Hammerhead shark and a large ray swam by.

The high plateau of the island is the preferred nesting spot for Nazca Boobies and Frigate birds. The opposite side of the island gives a panoramic view of the open ocean. Thousands of Storm Petrels raced through the sky over their nests. We tried to spot some of the owls that feed on them but were unsuccessful.

After returning to the ship, we left the sheltered water of the caldera and headed for Fernandina. The seasons at this latitude begin to change in August and the open ocean gets quite rough. Over half the guests were unable to eat dinner. Transderm Scopolamine really helped my son. I tried to eat dinner but the smell of garlic shrimp was too much. Poor Luis!

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