If most people were to guess which is the most iconic animal in the Galapagos it would probably be the Galapagos tortoise or maybe the marine iguana. If the gift shops in San Cristobal are any indication it would appear the overwhelming winner is actually the blue footed booby. Maybe it’s the name – the opportunity to have some fun with the name is just too easy, but in fairness the blue footed booby does seem have some real appeal. It’s often popular in documentaries about the Galapagos, where pairs of them bow and shuffle and show off their blue feet in mating rituals.
Upon arriving in San Cristobal, Galapagos we picked up some souvenirs that included a blue footed booby t-shirt and a pendent featuring the bird. It seemed a given that we would soon see the famous sea bird. While it was mating season the only way to guarantee seeing one was to get to one of the smaller uninhabited islands where the colonies are common. Asking around we were told that it wasn’t uncommon to sight a blue footed booby on the rocks near shore around the island. In talking to a naturalist she indicated there were a few places near to town where we should look. One was Playa Mann about a mile down the coast and the other good places to look were the cargo pier in town and the rocks just outside the Naval Base.
Early the next morning we headed out to see the area on foot and look for the blue footed booby. We started at the Naval Base – no boobies. On our way out of town we stopped at the cargo pier – no boobies. One of our goals that day was the Interpretation Center above Playa Mann so we spent some time at the beach – no boobies. After the Interpretation Center we headed back into San Cristobal again visiting Playa Mann – still no boobies. Cargo pier again and still no boobies. After some seven miles walking with the heat climbing we stopped in town for Cokes and a snack and on the way back to our hotel to cool off we made one last visit to the Naval Base – a booby!
One solitary booby just standing on the rocks in the water at the Naval Base. Later that day he was joined by friend…