The Island Hopping Chronicles Part IV: FloreanaGalapagos Islands, Spring 2012
About three weeks after going on our incredible spring break, the university arranged for our program to go back to Santa Cruz for a week. The focus of the second trip was to attend lectures and field trips to learn more about conservation efforts in the Galapagos. One of the trips was to take a day trip to Floreana. With only 120 people living there, Floreana is the least populated of the four people supporting islands.
Floreana actually has a very interesting history. The population of Floreana started with Dr Ritter, a dentist from Germany, and his lover. Eventually another German, family the Wittmers came to join them, much to the dismay of the hermit-y Dr. Ritter. Joining them eventually was the infamous Austrian Baroness and her two German lovers. According to our guide, after the arrival of the baroness life became much less pleasant on the island. The baroness declared herself ruler of the island and demanded taxes be paid to her. When our guide told us the baroness poisoned the island by spreading hateful rumors, I began to wonder if what he was telling us was little more than gossip handed down by people from a still old fashioned society where a woman with two lover was not only unusual but despicable. True or not, after some time the baroness and one of her lovers reportedly left the island overnight for a trip to Tahiti with unexpected friends. However they never showed upon Tahiti. Then it was found out no boats had been reported entering or leaving the island the week. Soon after the remaining lover quickly left the island. Between Santa Cruz and the lovely Cristobal, his boat disappeared. A week later his body was found on the the farthest away possible island of the Galapagos. Adding to the mysteries of Floreana, the vegetarian Dr. Ritter died a few months later from spoiled chicken.
Although there isn’t very much to see on Floreana, the history has made the tiny island famous. Tourists and students such as myself still travel to the island to hear the stories and experience history.
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