Galapagos Camping Adventure – Floreana

We were so excited to begin our Galapagos Camping Adventure but, our instructions for out meeting point were a little confusing.

One sheet we were given said Sushi Planet and the other said Cafe Hernan. As they were just round the corner from each other, we decided to sit in Sushi Planet and view the comings and goings of Cafe Hernan.

12pm came and went…

There was clearly no sign of our group as 12.30 arrived. A little panicked, we viewed our papers. 11.30 they said!!!! Damn… We frantically called the emergency number ( the number stated ONLY FOR EMERGENCIES) no answer… (I’m glad to say this was the only fault of our trip. Had it been an emergency, we would be f****d! I am still awaiting a response from G-Adventures for an explanation about this!).

We were stuck in a strange (yet beautiful) land and with tears rolling down my cheeks at the thought of our dream trip being ruined, we headed back to Sushi Planet to think of a plan and make use of the free WiFi.

Behold, a quirky yet seemingly approachable man with a striking resemblance to Jack Black strolled in. He had to be our man! That and the fact there were 14 backpackers with him. His name? Fernando.

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‘Oh no worries, sometimes the plane is late and with transfers and everything, we can’t be right on time’- maybe you should try writing that in your paperwork GA!

‘Welcome to the Galápagos’.

After a little lunch, we caught our first water taxi to Isla Floreana.

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At this point, i think i should make a little note about the water taxis. I never get seasick…HOWEVER… this is the closest i have come and i was told May was when the sea was at its calmest! I highly recommend taking some seasick pills with you (i used these and they worked fine), but you can also get some at the local supermarket in Puerto Ayora which i took after mine ran out and they were great. I really stress the seasick tablets thing because even if you don’t get seasick, there is a high chance that someone travelling with you will be. Also, try and get a seat outside the boat, the fumes near the front along with the heat only makes things worse.

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Wow. Floreana could not be more different to Santa Cruz. The island is inhabited by only 150 people!

We were greeted off the boat by some super cute sea lions, Iguanas and LOTS of crabs.

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Floreana is the only island which did not involve camping.

Floreana Island is a small, isolated, inhabited island part of the Galápagos Archipelago. Its residents have tried to benefit from tourism, but since most tourism is marine-based and the boats don’t stop in the village, they have struggled to find any opportunities. G-Adventures are investing in community training and infrastructure to develop the first ecological, community tourism program in the Galápagos Islands that sees both the islands small entrepreneurs and its unique wildlife as the primary beneficiaries of this project.

Learn more at community tourism projects in the Galápagos at http://www.planeterra.org/galapagos-community-tourism-projects-93.php

We settled into our respective homes for the evening then headed down to the black sand beach for a late afternoon swim.

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The water was freezing! But the beach and sunset were beautiful.

We headed back and met at the restaurant for our meal. Which in the Galápagos is traditionally Vegetable soup, fish and rice and fruit.

To further benefit the community on Floreana island G Adventures have provided training to residents for all aspects of tourism, including food preparation and service. The community will provide the meals while staying on this small island. The meals are rotated amongst different community members in order to spread out the benefits of tourism.

Weary and Jet-Lagged, we said goodnight to our new-found family and headed back to the room for an early night.

The next morning, we woke to our bodies covered in mosquito bites! I counted at least 20! I would like to point out that i was using 50% deet (This one), but that did not deter these pesky bugs!. I am guessing that because there are fewer people on the island there is more mosquito/person ratio! Either way, the deet has never failed me before…

Breakfast was at another of the community restaurants and consisted of fruit and scrambled eggs (i would discover this would be my breakfast for the entire 2 weeks in some form or another, luckily i love scrambled eggs especially with Hot Sauce, which was abundant!).

We made our way to the Highlands to take our first glimpse of the Giant Tortoises and learn more about the history of the island. Our guide was very knowledgeable and told us more about these tortoises – which were reintroduced on Floreana island as the original Floreana Tortoise had gone extinct.

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Amazing right!?!

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We also learnt about the intriguing history of Floreana! In 1929 Friedrich Ritter, a German physician, and his lover (and former patient) Dore Strauch fled their spouses and came to Floreana Island. Floreana is a difficult place to live. There is no fresh water apart from one tiny waterfall that trickled down from the highlands, when this dries up there is not much hope!

They persevered and not much later Heinz Wittmer, arrived on Floreana with his pregnant wife and teenage son.Then followed ‘ Eloise Wehrborn de Wagner-Bosquet’ (a Baroness) and her two lovers.

The eccentric Baroness had big plans. She wished to transform the island into a drunken Bacchanalia (basically, Ibiza!) and would strut around naked with her lovers with a pistol and whip!

The Baroness and one of her lovers disappeared soon after they had set up camp on Floreana. The story goes that they abandoned the island to go to Tahiti (albeit leaving all their belongings..). The second lover disappeared shortly after, only for his mummified corpse to be discovered on the northern island of Marchena. He had  been making his way to the mainland.

Some people suggest that the other of the lovers killed them, other accounts are adamant that the Wittmers, wishing to have the island to themselves, done away with the new arrivals. We will never know.

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We headed back from the highlands for lunch (Yup, soup, fish and rice!) and grabbed some snorkel gear from the locals and headed off to our next destination ‘Loberia’.

It was nice to go for a swim, (it may look cloudy, but it is certainly hot!!) but we didn’t come across much wildlife in the water.

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Florena was a fantastic introduction to the islands. Next Stop – Isabela Island

We booked our trip to the Galapagos Camping Adventure through G-Adventures

 

 

 

 

 

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