Floreana

Sat, 2011-07-16 16:34
Wednesday
13. July 2011
Floreana, outpost of civilization. From here it’s just thousands of miles of open water to Antarctica.

A dozen shabby houses, two dusty streets, two rusty pickups and a few truck converted into buses with wooden benches. Worst of all, as we find out just a little later, no internet – probably one of the last few “white spots” on the globe. On our hotel’s doorstep a German sign: “Hilf Dir selbst, dann hilft Dir Gott”. Probably the last thing you’d expect here, but Floreana’s first permanent residents were German adventures back in the thirties.

Our hotel has no room keys. We ask the friendly shy lady who runs the place; grand child of the first German settlers. “Oh, you don’t need keys”; she replies, “you are the only foreigners on the island”. Nobody locks his door here, difficult to grasp for us urban citizens with double locks and anti-burglary systems in our homes.

The lowlands are covered with green salt grass, red succulents and the white balsam trees, now leafless until the rainy season. Lava humps cross our path and dive into the sea, like the back of some giant sleeping dinosaur, cracked and formed into pebbles by sand, water and wind. Large grasshoppers and little lizards hush away; spiders have build their traps into the hot sand – eat and being eaten, constant flow of life.

Crabs line the water’s edge, undisturbed by the floods washing over them. Sea turtles stick their heads out of the water, a pelican rests on a block at the shore and the sea lion’s newborns squeak like lambs. Suddenly the sunlight is gone; a dark rain front is coming in from the south. The mountains dissolve in the mist and rain showers, all colour turns into grey. The wind brings the first spray, but no heavy rain – it’s gone as quickly as it approached.

Location

Isla Floreana, Galapagos Islands
Ecuador
1° 20' 48.48" S, 90° 28' 20.6832" W