Here on LA CIGALE we love a great pair of boobies... sorry! Got to get that out of our system before we get to the Galápagos (or maybe not!). On our passage we all had our heads stuck in every book about the Galápagos we could lay our hands on and download while in Panama. I was in the middle of reading an account of some eccentric German settlers in 1930s in John Treherne's "The Floreana Affair", while the kids got to grips with guides about flora and fauna on the islands. So when I stood in the cockpit admiring a taupe-coloured, velveteen seagull, with it's soft, white stomach and pinkish feet, Francis was able to correct me. "That's a red-footed booby, Mum" and Isabelle added "Must be a young one too, it's feet will grow deeper red as he grows older, and look at that white fluffy down on his tummy". We looked it up on our offline Wikipedia and sure enough found reference to the "brown morph" variety, as opposite to the fabled white, blue-footed variety.
It was fun to watch the birds clown around, and they really made us smile, sitting up on our guardrails peacefully until one would sidle to close to the other and then a squawk and a flurry would ensue. It felt like they were the advance welcome party from Galápagos and our excitement grew. Watching them close up, quite unphased by us joining them on the bow, I saw how they would have made such easy prey for a sailor's supper in the olden days. Their company made up for the fact that we had not seen any sign of marine life either, although RAFTKIN, barely 30 nautical miles ahead, was reporting back on dolphin-sightings and even a pod of whales 100 metres to starboard. The boobies stayed for 24 hours, and the following day, as I went to sit the bow, I found they had left a small present behind on the seat. I guess that was the booby prize!