Greetings From the Galapagos
25 May 2018
Famous for its unique and fearless wildlife and hauntingly beautiful landscape, the Galapagos Islands, just off the coast of Ecuador, is a must for any adventurous, nature-loving traveller. But it’s something aside from all of the fascinating creatures and scenery that caught Latin Travel Expert, Ali’s eye on her recent trip to the Galapagos. Find out why the mysterious Floreana Island reveals more than just postcard-perfect photo opportunities…
When you think of the Galapagos, what first comes to mind is usually its diverse wildlife, striking blue ocean and beautiful scenery. The Galapagos is not typically known for its history but there is one island in particular that is steeped in mystery. Welcome to the eerie island of Floreana.
Floreana is one of the southernmost islands in the Galapagos and if you can incorporate it into your itinerary, it is certainly a memorable one. Floreana is also home to the “Galapagos Affair”. This story is almost too wild to believe as it involves a baroness, her two lovers and their disappearance on the island…
The Galapagos was a frequent stopping point for whaling ships to pick up necessities like water and food. The “food” they were usually picking up was Giant Tortoise which is why you can no longer find them on the island (Insider Tip: There is one located behind Hotel Wittimer that is around 100 years old!). As you can imagine, communication back to their home ports was almost impossible so the whalers came up with a clever solution. They chose a certain spot on Floreana Island to be the drop off point for outgoing mail. Then, when passing ships stopped there en route home, they would gather all the letters addressed to that location and hand deliver them. At times, the letters could take up to a year to reach their destinations!
The best part of this tradition is that it still lives on today! Visitors to Floreana island will stop at Post Office Bay and rifle through the postcards left behind to see if there are any that they can deliver. The “messenger” is supposed to hand-deliver the post card to the addressee and tell the tale of how the card got there. I just got the one I left yesterday – although it was stamped rather than hand delivered.