Galapagos: Floreana Island

Galapagos

We would be visiting Floreana Island today. It was located west of Española Island and along the southern edge of the Galapagos Archipelago. The island was named after the first president of Ecuador.

Galapagos

I woke up at 6:45am and went out of the cabin for a look once I was dressed. It was a beautiful morning. The clouds had such a beautiful shade of color and looked as if they were part of an oil painting.

Pelican in the morning

KKH and I found a brown pelican perched on one of the dinghies at the front of the yacht.

Rainbow in Galapagos

There was a passing shower after breakfast and I saw another full rainbow. If you looked closely, there was the faint outline of another rainbow. KKH saw the double rainbow too so it wasn’t my eyes playing tricks on me.

Sand on Floreana Island

We went to Cormorant Point in the morning. During last night’s briefing, Hernan told us that the beach had green sand. The sand wasn’t green green but more like olive green/brown. If we looked closely at the tiny grains of sand, some of them were a translucent green.

Seashells and sea urchins

Someone had collected seashells and sea urchins and placed them on the rocks. I didn’t know that there were green sea urchins. I had only seen black sea urchins, usually those that were eaten in Japanese cuisine ha ha.

Floreana Island

Hernan led the way inland. He pointed out the Galapagos passion fruit. The fruit was very small, about the size of my thumbnail. The passion fruit was not native to the island and was introduced by humans. KKH and I shared one of the passion fruits. It was sweet.

Then there was a light drizzle which lasted only for five minutes. I brought a waterproof jacket with me but the rain was so light and so brief that I didn’t bother to take it from my bag.

Floreana Island

We arrived at a shallow lagoon where we saw a few flamingos. It was a big flock but it was still more than the lone flamingo we saw on day one. Due to the light drizzle that occurred on the way to the lagoon, we saw a rainbow again. Two rainbows in one day. I felt incredibly lucky.

Hernan scooped up some mud from the lagoon and said it was very good for the face as it contained sulphur. He said that it was like the mud baths at the spa and invited us to put some of our faces. All of us regarded the wet gray mud with some suspicion. Nobody took Hernan up on his offer.

Then Hernan told us the story of the former inhabitants of Floreana Island. There was a German family of four, a German dentist and his mistress. Later a woman who claimed to be baroness arrived on the island with her two lovers. Although she claimed to be a baroness, she did not have a penny to her name. In an attempt to prevent any future dental problems, the dentist plucked out all of his and his mistress’ teeth. Then the two of them shared a set of steel dentures and took turns to eat. Some of these people died or disappeared mysteriously. Nobody knew what happened to them until one of survivors on his deathbed revealed that one of the woman killed and ate them.

Listening to Hernan’s chilling story in this eerily quiet spot, I was suddenly glad that it was daytime. I would not want to stay here at night.

Floreana Island

Hernan brought us to another part of the island where the sand was white. If I thought that the fact that two islands next to each other could have different colored sand was amazing, then this was even more unbelievable because the same island actually had two beaches made up of different colored sand. The beaches were not even far away from each other as we were able to walk from one beach to the other within a few minutes.

Sally Lightfoot crab

We could explore the beach but we were not allowed to go into the water. This was the nesting site for the green sea turtles and there were stingrays in the water.

Floreana Island

Then we went back to the olive-green beach where we could snorkel. There were a few sea lions on the beach but not as many as yesterday.

Blue-footed boobies

There were also some blue-footed boobies. Because I was alone and not with a big group of people, the boobies did not mind my presence as much.

Blue-footed booby

I guess one human being was not as threatening as a group of them. I was able to get close to them without them flying away.

Blue-footed booby

Like really, really close.

Then it was back to the yacht for lunch. I had a good appetite today and was able to eat both of the desserts that were available. Yeah!

Champion Island

After lunch, there was deep water snorkeling near Champion Island. For those of us who were not snorkeling, we went on a dinghy ride around the island. KKH did not snorkel this time as she said the water was too cold and the current too strong.

Snorkelers around Champion Island

It rained a little and the sea was a little rocky. Between the rain and the wind, I began to feel a little cold. I decided to keep my precious camera in my bag to keep it safe from the water. We saw some birds and spotted some sea turtles and sea lions. An excited little boy told us that a sea lion swam through his legs when he was underwater.

Post Office Bay

Back on the yacht, we were given a choice of postcards for our visit to Post Office Bay later. Hernan told us that in the past, there were many whalers in the area. In an effort to stop the illegal whaling, someone came up with the bright idea to establish a post office on Floreana Island where sailors could drop off their letters. Other sailors who passed by would look through the letters and see if there were any addressed to the destinations they were going. If there were such letters, the sailors would take them and deliver them when they reached their destination. But actually this was a trap to find out where the whalers would be going to next. It was very successful and illegal whaling in the area was stopped. Although there was no longer whaling in the area, the tradition of posting and delivering letters still continued.

KKH and I took one each and went back to our cabin to write. I only had the addresses of two friends with me and I finally picked one of them to write to. I wondered how long it would take for the postcard to reach her. Maybe if I paid another visit to the Galapagos Islands ten years later, I might find the postcard still in the barrel.

Post office on Floreana Island

The post office was just a simple barrel but it was decorated with a lot of things left behind by other visitors. Jorge took out the letters and postcards in the barrel and handed them to us. They were kept in ziplock bags to protect them from rain. We looked through the letters and postcards. Some of them were indicated for “pickup only”, which meant that someone would be here to pick them up and they should not be delivered. Unsurprisingly, most of them were from addressed to USA. There were none for Singapore but there were two for Japan and dated just a few days ago.

The crew playing soccer

On the other side of the beach, there was a cleared area where the crew from the cruise ships would play soccer. All of us were invited to join in if we wanted to. Only three guys joined the game. The crew played a fast game and kept teasing at each other in Spanish. The game was entertaining to watch. Once they scored three goals, the game ended and we all returned to the yacht.

There was ice-cream waiting for us when we arrived back on the yacht. How nice!

I felt a little melancholy before dinner. I was sad that the cruise would be coming to an end and I told KKH that I would miss this place as I really enjoyed my stay even though I was a lousy sailor. KKH kept quiet and thought about what kind of jobs I could do if I decided to work in the Galapagos Islands. Then I opened my mouth and made a stupid remark about the green sea turtle eating fish. “You fail as a guide,” KKH said.

After dinner, KKH and I were given envelopes to put our tips for the crew and guides. We found out that Hernan would be leaving the yacht tomorrow for his holiday while Jorge would be going to Coral II. So there would be new guides coming to replace them. I was glad that there wasn’t a change of guides during our stay. I quite like Jorge and Hernan.

For some reason, I felt quite unwell around 8pm. I’m not sure if I was seasick again or it was something else. KKH and I went to look for Alex to settle our bills as we took the postcards. However, Alex told us that there was no bill to settle. I remembered a few days ago, Alex noticed that we did not buy any drinks from the bar so he offered to treat us to a drink and said it would be on him. We declined as we were happy enough with just plain water. So I wondered if Alex paid for the postcards as a treat from him.

We chatted with Alex for quite a while. He gave us his mobile number and email and told us to email him to let him know that we reached Quito safely. He also told us to call him if we ran into problems. Even though he would not be in Quito, he could get someone to help us. I thought it was very nice of him.

I went to bed at 9pm as I was feeling quite unwell. I didn’t do much packing so I would have to wake up early to pack tomorrow. The good thing was that there wasn’t much that I need to pack.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s