Tuesday (Martes) 29th September, 2009
Day 200

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Miles: 24,134
N 00.31366°
W 89.94698°

We awoke this morning in Darwin Bay, Genovesa Island. Everyone is showing the effects of last nights navigation - as they call it - which began at midnight and was rough. The morning is a bit misty and there is cloud over the top of the island. We spent the first couple of hours walking around the shores and rocks of Darwin Bay. There are the usual collection of sea lions, a few marine Ignuanas but the special treat of the day are the hundreds, maybe thousands, of nesting birds. Red Footed Boobies (with blue beaks), frigates, and gulls, plus the occasional heron, mockingbird, and even a finch or two. The birds simply don't see us people as a threat. It is common to walk within a few feet of a mother and chick without any concern being shown by the birds. The land is flat, and composed of old volcanic lava flow and supports only the most hardy of plants.

There was a snorkeling session after the island visit but most of us stayed on the vessel and caught up on sleep.

By the time of our afternoon excursion the sun was out, making it a much better session for photographs. We started with a dingy cruise along the cliff line looking for a medium sized white bird with long tail feathers called a tropicbird XXXX. They are quite pretty but difficult to photograph; but we got a good shot or two. The landing was at Prince Phillips Steps, a name that belies the rickety nature of the steps and handrail of the landing place. From the steps we spent a couple of hours walking among the dry scrub and rocks looking at more multitudes of birds, Masked Boobies, Red Footed Boobies, Frigates and gulls all nesting with eggs, chicks of various ages or the hope of future offspring. The sheer number of birds nesting and their lack of fear of us people is simply amazing. The islands are a real contradiction. At one level so harsh and inhospitable with their lava rock surface, almost no soil and no sign of permanent fresh water, on the other hand teaming with mating and breeding birds by the thousands.

After an early dinner we all prepared for an even longer - all night - navigation. The guide, Diego, suggested we all take a pill for motion sickness,. Nina and I followed his advice.