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Genovesa Island

Genovesa island made me feel like I was inserted in a National Geographic special.  First of all, we anchored inside the caldera, as Genovesa is the top of a volcano.  It really gave you a strong impression of the origins of these islands.  This is a giant cove. 

 In Darwin Bay, I was greeted on the beach by the strange, hollow-tube sounding whistle of the Nazca booby. 

Frigates swooped and cackled. 
immature frigate, or a female. Sometimes I couldn't remember.
immature frigate, or a female. Sometimes I couldn't remember. (Staci Edwards)

A sea lion lounged in the shallows, rolling and wriggling like a giant puppy, to scratch her back. 

We made our way down a path that was lined with preening frigates, their chest pouches inflated to attract the females.  If a female flew over, they would stretch out their wings and quiver, making an unearthly "lololololol" sound.  Our group likened it to the stereotypical scene when a female human walks by a construction site. 
If a female flew over, they would open their wings and call.
If a female flew over, they would open their wings and call. (Staci Edwards)

Red billed tropic birds darted by, nervous. 
Red billed tropic bird
Red billed tropic bird (Staci Edwards)

Frigate birds don't create enough oils to actually dive for fish.  If their wings get saturated, they will drown.  They can skim fish off the surface, or...they can pirate.  They dive bomb and harass birds returning from the sea, trying to force them to regurgitate their food.  Our guide said he has seen them pull the tropic bird's beautiful tail plumage out in a raid.  Their acrobatics were intense and fierce.
acrylics, frigate bird, detail
acrylics, frigate bird, detail (Staci Edwards)

Boobys put on their mating courtship dances, and mated in front of us.

The Short-eared Lava owl made an appearance off in the distance. They are the only owl to hunt the way they do--the volcano's bubbling lava left holes in the rock that the petrels use to nest.  The owls learned to watch them enter the holes, sneak up and wait.  They catch them when they come out.
Short-eared lava owl
Short-eared lava owl (Staci Edwards)

Our group coined the term, "He got natured!"  Which just meant, nature got him.  There were many strange and unique ways to be caught and eaten in the Galapagos!
The marine iguanas eyeballed us.

In the afternoon, we took a dingy over to Prince Phillip's steps.  On the way, we encountered a few Galapagos fur sea lions sunning themselves and staring at us dispassionately.
Galapagos fur sea lion
Galapagos fur sea lion (Staci Edwards)

Our Guide on Prince Phillips Steps
Our Guide on Prince Phillips Steps (Staci Edwards)

From the top of Prince Phillip's steps
From the top of Prince Phillip's steps (Staci Edwards)

It was an advantage to be on a small ship.  There were 16 of us, plus our guide.  We would all take turns taking photos, shifting around each other.  There was plenty of spacing between the different tour groups so we never felt crowded.  Most times they were not even within our visual plane, so we felt like we were alone on the islands.
Darwin finch
Darwin finch (Staci Edwards)

Snorkeling also revealed new treasures. 

The most playful sea lion on the trip! 
There are many more photos in the album, if you are interested.  Hop over there and watch the slideshow!
My artistic inspiration today: The frigate.  The throat pouch, the iridescent colors, the stark beauty...
acrylics, colored pencil, frigate bird
acrylics, colored pencil, frigate bird (Staci Edwards)

What an amazing place!


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