Drama on Floreana
German couple Dr. Fredrich Ritter and Dore Strauch, who both left their spouses to be with one another, were tired of the hustle and bustle of Berlin and decided to move to the other side of the world to the Galapagos in 1929. As they worked the rough terrain of the volcanic island Floreana, word spread of the modern day Adam and Eve and other couples were motivated to follow in their footsteps. Longing for isolation, Ritter and Strauch were not pleased with the newcomers, including Austrian Baroness Eloise von Wagner and her two lovers. After many years of struggling to tame the wild land, infighting and mysterious deaths many believe to be murders, the baroness and her lovers went missing and Ritter died, cursing Strauch with his last breath. Today, more than 35,000 people who live in the Galapagos today, descendants of Ecuadorians who moved to the archipelago are European settlers, not unlike Ritter and Strauch.
Post Office Bay
During the early days of humans traveling through the Galapagos, a unique system of communication was created on Floreana island: everyone was a postal worker. First documented in 1813, a barrel became a drop box for sailors and explorers to leave letters for friends and family. When someone was leaving the islands, they would take the letters with them and disperse it to their recipients. Today, tourists leave behind letters and also go through the barrel to see if they live anywhere a letter needs to go.
Centro de Crianza de Tortugas Terrestres
At this tortoise breeding center about 40 minutes from town in San Cristobal, we see how tiny tortoises as well as adults weighing hundreds of pounds are tracked by age—and we see the island where their eggs were collected. At the center, they’re kept in incubators until they hatch, then a number is painted on their shell to monitor their growth. When they are big enough, they are brought back to their islands to help repopulate their numbers.