The Blue-footed Booby. I had wanted to see one since my friend Terresa told me she was planning a trip to the Galapagos. Imagine, a bird with feet so blue you would swear they were colored with Crayola crayons.
The first day I arrived on the Galapagos, one of my fellow travelers Jo pointed out that there was one in the distance near a watering hole we had hiked to. I pulled out my 300mm lens but still I couldn’t see the bluest blue feet I was hoping for. Alas, five days later I had seen magnificent creatures like marine iguanas, a Galapagos hawk, sea turtles and hundred of sea lions but no blue feet.
Our final day, our guide Tamara promised an early, early morning boat ride to the mangrove trees where birds and marine life tended to gather early in the day. So groggy at 5:50 am, I board the little rough rider with eight others. I was late so my friends were on the first boat with guide Jonathan. Jonathan, a young 20-something, was on his first journey with the Daphne crew. He had been on the job just five days. And he smiled endlessly all five days. His Spanish accented by the words “cool, cool” while we traveled the waters.
We sighted endless frigates and pelicans but no boobies. Closer into the mangroves, Jonathan paddled us into a passage to see a dozen reef Galapagos sharks frolicking among the sea turtles. I tried to get a photo of the little turtles popping up their heads but missed it over and over again. As we left the sharks to go to another area of the mangroves, we found little marine life and were ready to turn back to head to the ship and then the airport.
Suddenly, Jonathan looked up laughing as he exclaimed, “Boobies! Boobies! Boobies!” Jetting above us were hundreds and hundreds of the blue-footed birds flying in unison and bombing into the sea in search of their breakfast. They did this over and over again. It was as if we were watching a planned air show instead of an act of nature. Their feet truly were the bluest of blue.
It was perfection.
It was beautiful.
It’s been two weeks now that I have been back from South America. I already want to return.
I never got to see the tortoises.