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Up early for my last morning in the Galapagos was spent among the bird colonies on North Seymour
Galapagos Map
Click here for my last island )

Click to go to Otavalo, Quito & Mindo
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After leaving Española we headed west to Floreana for the next day’s adventures.

Galapagos Map

Floreana has a rich soil and a water supply and because of this it was one of the first islands of the Galapagos to be permanently inhabited, although it was always seen as a place for food (an apparently inexhaustible supply of tortoises) by whalers and other ships. Inevitably with man in permanent occupation, animals were introduced and as a result, tortoises on the island have become extinct, as have some birds.

It is one of the islands where human history is just as interesting as the flora and fauna. The human history of the island includes pirates, whalers, convicts, and a small band of somewhat peculiar colonists, including a supposed Austrian Baroness, whose stay there ended in mystery and death. Today roughly fifty Ecuadorians inhabit the island. At the beginning of the 19th century, an Irish sailor was abandoned on Charles Island (Floreana), his name was Patrick Watkins and he is considered the first inhabitant of the islands. He cultivated vegetables, which he traded to the whalers for rum to get drunk. Several years later, he managed to take some boats and some men whom he treated like slaves. With them, he took to sea but he arrived in Guayaquil alone. He then went to Patia where he convinced a mulatto woman to accompany him back to the island. He was arrested when trying to steal a ship and he spent the rest of his days in prison.
Step ashore on Floreana )

I found a web site set up by one of the settler’s sons about his mother, Margaret Wittmer who was among this group.

Here is the website - www.margret-wittmer.com

She also wrote a book about their life eking out an existence on Floreana.

There seem to have been some extraordinarily salacious stuff written about the mystery Baroness -
http://www.galapagos.to/TEXTS/MANSACTION.HTM

A more factual history of the island could probably be read here -
http://www.galapagos.to/TEXTS/Hoff-0.HTM

These pages are part of a very good site if you are interested in all things historical about the Galapagos -
http://www.galapagos.to/
It also has some great historical maps as well.

Click to go to Galapagos - Day 8 - Nth Seymour Island
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Española, also known as Hood, is one of the smaller Galapagos Islands, at the south-east edge of the archipelago and is the oldest Galapagos Island, or at least the island on which the oldest lavas have been found. Its lavas are 3.4 million years old and Española appears to represent roughly the northern two thirds of a once larger volcano. On the island’s south coast the vertical cliffs rise from 30 m to 100 m cliffs and bear the brunt of the prevailing southeast trades and the Pacific swell. In comparison, the north coast is low and sheltered with fine, sandy beaches. Since Española has no mountains to capture the rain, Española is particularly dry and inhospitable or usually is but not the day I visited. While inhospitable to terrestrial life, Española is a haven for seabirds and there are some wonderful seabird colonies.
Galapagos Map

But first we had to meet the welcoming committee at the sea lion nursery at Punta Suarez.
Click here to land on Española )

Click to go to Las Islas Encantadas – Day 7 – Floreana Island
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The next day we woke up moored in the harbour of Puerto Ayora and most of the other passengers were going home but I was going up into the highlands of Santa Cruz, into a more lush and green place than any I had seen yet in the Galapagos.

Going to visit the home of the Giant Tortoises. )

Click here to go to Galapagos- Day 6
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A really quick, efficient and smooth flight and reception at Baltra in the Galapagos. Baltra is a small island to the north of the main island, Santa Cruz. See this map –

Galapagos Map
Welcome to the Galapagos )

Poor Book!Stephen he would have killed for just a week in any one of these places.
Click to go to Galapagos Day 2
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