Night Watches & Galapagos Part V

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Mon 17 Mar 2008 16:55

It seems that for what ever reason, some of my recent Blog up dates did not appear. So here goes with resending them (at vast cost). Sorry these now appear out of sequence.. But not my fault. Honest!



We have had a fantastic 24 hour run, with just sparkling sailing, covering some 180nm.  Just 1935nm to go now to Nuku Hiva……


We have seen virtually no other vessels on the ocean for the last 5 days now. Except on one occasion when it was Jennie’s watch. Here in her own words is a description of this recent “happening”………………….


“As for container ships well, I am also a magnet for them, in all this huge space of ocean they head straight for me.  Two nights ago we had one, I put the strobe light on, but still he came at me. It took two conversations on channel 16;   he eventually altered course and passed 2 miles to my stern. He hadn't seen me, but he did ask if there were any more of us (yachts) about. I said only 34 of us, have a good watch.”


So, meanwhile to continue the Galapagos saga,   Genovesa……….


On  the Tuesday morning we came ashore, a  wet landing this time, for a lengthy walk on this very rugged volcanic Island. This was definitely not one to be attempted in Flop Flops. So we brought along the best heavy duty walking boots that had being living in a locker on our  boat for the past year or so, for just this sort of occasion.


Genovesa is also one of the principle breeding sites for Red Boobies, and to a much lesser extent Masked Boobies. It was a blisteringly hot day, this despite the fact that we had started really early with breakfast at 0600!!


  Red Footed Boobie, with wings crossed over its back to help it keep cool in the sun.


After wading ashore from the Panga’s, we dried our feet, brushing off the course sand, donned our walking boots and then headed up the beach for the nearest vegetation. We were immediately “into” a colony of nesting Red Footed Boobies.



  4 week old Red Footed Boobie Chick


The parents of the young chicks go miles off shore to fish for food for their youngster, and seem quite happy to leave them to fend for themselves for hours on end. This works well as there are no natural predators on this Island, now that the feral Goats, and Pigs have all been removed.


  A pair of Masked Boobies looking ever so imperious


Interestingly, we never saw a “pair” of Red Footed Boobies. On the other hand, the Masked Boobies, who are close cousins to the Northern European Gannet, were invariably seen in pairs.




This Island is also home to the Mocking Bird. So called because it copies the cry of other birds. These birds are approximately the same size as a Thrush, but with rather plain colouring and makings.


During our walk we also saw several varieties of Finches. Frigate birds and Yellow Warblers. As  well as Swallow Tailed Gulls, and some stunning rock pools teaming with small fish.




Standing around these pools were some of the rare Yellow Head Night Herons.  As the name implies they hunt at night, so when we came upon this chap he was distinctly “dozy”.



These Herons are about half the size of their European cousins.



As mentioned earlier, the terrain was very rugged and also the lava rocks were too hot to touch with a bare hand. This had a remarkably deleterious effect on my favourite heavy walking boots. The soles just disintegrated, and by the time the walk was ended, I had no soles left on the boots. Thus I was reduced to walking on bottomless boots, with only the thick padded socks for protection. A very strange sight I can tell you. Jennie’s boots were heading the same way, so we had to dispose of both pairs once we got back to the boat. (Not allowed to leave anything on the Islands, which never have any visible debris on them).


However, before we returned it was time for another snorkel, off the beach, to enjoy watching large Parrot fish, more Hammerhead sharks, and more tropical fish than you could shake a stick at!


Then it was time for another blow out lunch, on Angelito, followed by a siesta, whilst the boat up anchored and headed for our next destination….El Barco