After our first landing at North Seymour, we headed north approximately 60 miles to one of the Northern most islands in the Galapagos – Genovesa. The individual islands have two names, a Spanish name and an English name. The first map of the islands was made in 1684 by the buccaneer Ambrose Crowley who named the islands after some of his fellow pirates and certain British royalty. Ecuador took possession of the islands from Spain in 1832 and gave them the Spanish names used today.
Upon arriving at Genovesa, we anchored in Darwin Bay. From there we made two island visits, the first to the beach area to the west and in the afternoon to Prince Phillip Steps at the eastern end of the bay, where after climbing some 40 rough hewn steps carved into the cliff, made our way across to the other side of the island.
I usually relate cactus to arid desert regions and not to tropical regions, which brings up some interesting facts about the Galapagos. They are all volcanic islands, many still active, the tallest being Wolf Volcano at 5600 ft. Because of the ocean currents that affect the islands there are two distinct seasons, the wet warm months of December – February and the cool arid season from May – September. With the barren dry volcanic rocky ground there are three main types of Cactus found. Our first to see was the Prickly Pear above. The particular Mockingbird in the photo is found throughout most of the islands with three other species found only on specific islands. Like the sea lions, the mockingbirds are everywhere, friendly and curious!
Another endemic species is the Galapagos Dove. On Genovesa, evolution has made the cactus softer which allows the dove to pollinate the cactus flowers since there are no bees.
Another Booby!!! We met the blue footed booby and now we meet the red footed booby, the smallest of the boobies. As you can see from the photo, they nest in trees as opposed to the ground for the Blue ones. They are the only booby that can curl its feet as you see above, thus the only one you will find in the trees!
Youngsters playing in the trees! Notice how bland the juveniles look compared to the elegant adult above.
Wait …. more boobies!!! We now find the largest of the three found in the Galapagos, the Nazca Booby. Unlike the other two, these guys are cliff dwellers. This is important to note because in addition to nesting in different areas, the three feed differently. The red footed feed way out at sea, the blue can be seen diving for fish off shore and the Nazca feed similarly but stay closer to the cliffs. These differences in nesting and feeding eliminate the competition between the species.
So much to see and so much to tell, we’ll stop there for today with a few more above …. and it just gets better!!