Mating Rituals

Published: May 2nd 2014
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This morning we crossed the equator to the Northern Hemisphere. We arrived at Genovesa Island and anchored in Darwin Bay, a huge submerged caldera of a dormant volcano. Genovesa is the island of the birds, one million of them, red-footed boobies, frigate birds, swallow tailed gulls, storm petrels, Nazca boobies and short eared owls. We sighted all species, an overwhelming seabird experience.

This is mating season for the boobies and the frigates. The male frigates have a giant pouch that inflates upon their chest. They will sit waiting with the pouch inflated, fasting, for up to 10 days to attract a female. We observed these large birds, with a wing span of about 8 feet in the midst of their courting ceremony. In some cases a group of 5 or 6 juvenile males gather together as if it were “Happy Hour” and the females arrive and peruse the lineup looking for the strongest and most attractive of the flock. It is quite interesting to watch ritual and the culmination of the selection process.

The red-footed boobies were doing their mating dance as well and we saw many couples building their nests and settling in to wait and hatch the egg.

The steps up to the top of the island (Prince Philip’s Steps) were steep, rocky and leads up a narrow fissure to the cliff top, about a 90 foot gain.

As the first week of this adventure comes to a close it is safe to say that this is indeed a trip of a lifetime and that we have an awesome God providing us with many wonderful sights to see and lessons to learn.

Tomorrow will be a day of travel; I depart the ship at 8 a.m. and arrive in Lima just before 9 p.m.

Additional photos below
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