Genovesa, Galapagos

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Click on the thumbnail to see a map of Galapagos, showing our route

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They'd warned us of possible rough weather overnight while crossing to Genovesa, but Jen and I slept like babes and the sea felt pretty well flat calm to us. However, the swell was too severe for us to land at Prince Philip Steps, so after a while, Plan B was implemented, and we cruised slowly anti-clockwise around the island, looking at birds, breakers, lavas, etc. It was quite pleasant to have the morning off!

The weather kept improving and after lunch we were lounging on the sundeck watching the birds and catching an occasional glimpse of a hammerhead shark that was slowly circling the boat. There was also an original panga hanging about at the back of the ship for a while, though it never became clear why.

Eventually the Isabella II cruised into the caldera and then we could see why Prince Philip Steps were off the menu - the swell had a throw of a good 3 metres at that point, so impossible for a Zodiac to land.

One of the first things that was pointed out was that the Opuntia here have soft spines you can safely touch. This is because there are no pollinating insects here, and the cacti are pollinated by Galápagos doves, and there being no tortoises or iguanas on the island, there's nothing eating them.

We walked through and past a mixed colony of red-footed boobies and frigate birds, close enough to see the green sheen to the dorsal feathers of one of the latter, confirming that these were Great as opposed to Magnificent Frigate Birds.

Returning to the beach we were picked up and then taken across the caldera to some cliffs to see fur seals. I was more interested in the nesting shearwaters, but no-one else seemed to be. The driver took us alarmingly close to the cliff, considering the throw of the swell, but he proved completely competent, of course! I reassured myself by realising he does it all the time!
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Juvenile boobies
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Juvenile Booby
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Breakers on the coast
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A real life panga
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Frigate bird
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Red-footed boobies
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Ground Finch
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Frigate bird
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Frigate bird
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Yellow-crested Night Heron
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Mocking Birds
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Sandpiper, turnstone, heron
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Frigate bird
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Unknown Plant
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Ground Finch
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Frigate Bird Skull
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The swell against the cliffs

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