Our adventure began with a wet landing on a white coralline beach inside Darwin Bay, named by a celebrity visitor, William Beebe, in honor of the great naturalist who redirected human thought, Charles Darwin. At low tide and over a platform, we walked surrounded by birds of all kinds parenting their chicks.

Tower Island, or Genovesa, is home to over one million seabirds. This included frigatebirds displaying “kleptoparasitic” behavior. As an adult female regurgitated food to feed her baby, a frigatebird thief dove down and succeeded in taking part of the food. The sight, sounds, and speed of this antisocial behavior right in form of our eyes was outstanding. We also spotted a few marine iguanas that are smaller and darker than the ones at the southern hemisphere islands. Each island has its own ecology and like Petri dishes, they yield different results.

Back aboard we prepared for our last snorkeling outing to explore the undersea realm. Today we had close encounters with many fish and playful sea lions for the last time. We then came back to our ship anchored inside Genovesa caldera to be briefed about our departure, and enjoyed a last delicious lunch, with deep appreciation for our culinary staff.

In the afternoon, we visited Prince Phillip’s Steps where Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, and frigatebirds, surrounded us. A guest was able to find an elusive short-ear owl—one of four we eventually saw. All of us felt rewarded to have seen the well-camouflaged diurnal raptors. Taking this walk was like being transported back in time. There were birds flying all over, like in prehistoric times, and lava formations made us think of the first foundation of Earth.

Later, it was time to return to the ship and reminisce about the many experiences of such a wonderful week. As we look back and gaze at the islands for the last time, this place now seems to be timeless to us. It is now deep within our hearts and our experience has been unforgettable on these special islands, where the wildlife has no fear and allows us to realize that we are not so different.