A small island (10.5 km²) in the shape of a horseshoe - the interior bay is an old imploded volcano. A wet landing on Darwin Bay beach starts your tour with colonies of Frigates, Red Footed and Masked Boobies. Just behind the beach one sees inland tide pools and outcrops of black rock and saltbushes, frequented by feeding Wandering Tattlers, Turnstones, Whimbrels, Lava Gulls and Fiddler Crabs.
Not so common but still seen are the Yellow-crowned, Lava and Black-crowned Night Herons. Flying around the cliffs one may see Swallow-tailed Gulls, and on the beach a Yellow Warbler. Your second visit today will be to Prince Phillip's Steps on the south tip of Genovesa. This is the major breeding ground for the tree loving Red Footed Booby and the ground Masked Booby, whose breeding season is from September to July.
This is also home to four species of the finch; the Large Ground Finch, the Sharp-beaked Ground Finch, the Large Cactus Finch and the Warbler Finch. Genovesa is also home to the indigenous Galapagos Mockingbird and to the Galapagos Dove. If you're lucky, you might even see a Short Eared Owl. Time permitting you will snorkel in the afternoon in on the west side of Darwin Bay.
A distant sail away from the central islands, at the north-eastern edge of the archipelago, lies Genovesa. One of the most pristine of the Galapagos group, it is the remote refuge of many thousands of oceanic birds. Genovesa, as a result of its isolation, remains an undisturbed nesting ground for these birds, who fish in its rich waters, and lacks introduced as well as native land animals and reptiles-the only reptile, in fact, is a small subspecies of marine iguana.
The island itself is the summit of a huge inactive undersea volcano, which protrudes above the water a scant 250 feet. The main vent of the volcano, a large circular Calder, or collapse crater, with a saltwater Glee some 200 feet deep on its floor, depresses the center of the island, while the southern side of Genovesa, the site of a partially eroded crater, is scooped out to form Darwin Bay.
At sea level, cliff-bound Darwin Bay is the most accessible of the calderas. Boats anchoring in the bay will usually become perches for red-footed boobies in search of food, and a frigate bird or two may easily talkie up residence in the upper riggings. Visitors stepping onto land find themselves instantly in the midst of vast seabird colonies.
Genovesa is home to what is probably the largest collection of red-footed boobies (up to140,000 pairs), who nest in the gray polo santo trees dotting the cliffs. Over- head, cries-crossing the slay, are gleaming white swallow-tailed gulls, silently gliding frigate birds, and the hosts of red-billed tropic birds and black and white Audubon shearwaters that occupy the deep openings in the mountainous lava formations.
The southeaster cliffs are alive with one of island's largest colonies of wedge romped petrels (up to 200,000 pairs), tiny, nocturnal birds that share the small point of land with their daylight-loving relatives, the delicate band-trumped petrels. Toward the interior of the island, which is covered with stocky, low-growing prickly pear and is generally arid, four species of Darwin's finches can be found, and the Galapagos dove can be seen bobbing along under bushes and over the lava, looking for seeds.