Visiting Isla Floreana in the Galápagos Archipelago

Exploring Puerto Velasco Ibarra

The island's welcome sign across from the town pier.   Marcie taking flower pictures along the main street that runs along the shore, while David waits patiently.

Friday, April 23, 2004 (Day 26 in the Galápagos Archipelago)

This morning, as usual, we need to check-in with the Port Captain, so we launched the dinghy and motored over to a dry landing at the town's stone pier. Marcie hopped ashore first then held the mooring line while I stepped from the surging dinghy to the slippery steps. Meanwhile, David deployed the dinghy anchor to hold the dinghy away from the rough rock wall; then he prepared to hop ashore. The stern anchor didn't let the dinghy get very close to the steps, but David normally could have jumped that far without any problem. At the last instant, though, just before he was going to leap, the dinghy surged in a wave and threw him off balance. He tumbled off the side of the dinghy and fell in the water, getting completely soaked (except for his hat). Luckily, the water wasn't deep, so he could easily stand up and step ashore, but it still was an embarrassing and unpleasant moment.

The three of us walked along a gravel road a short distance to the Port Captain's office, David dripping a trail of seawater. As we entered the front gate, we were informed that the Port Captain wasn't in right now, but he would return at 1:00 p.m. Before we went back to Nine of Cups, we decided to take a walk through town, such as it was.

As we walked along the quiet streets, Marcie spotted lots of interesting flowers and snapped pictures. In the center of town, we walked past a busy school and could hear the activity inside. Later on, we walked past the school again, and all the young children were in a field playing a game of soccer (fútbol in Spanish). One little girl acted quite afraid, and whenever the ball was kicked in her direction, she would cower and defensively put her arms around her head to keep the ball from hitting her head.

At the other end of town (one whole block!), Marcie and David visited the small hotel run by the Wittmer family. The family had arrived from Germany in the early 1930's and were some of the earliest settlers on Floreana. Much later, Margaret Wittmer wrote a well-received book describing her pioneer experiences on the island; Marcie had read the book. At the hotel, Marcie met an engaging young woman who turned out to be Margaret Wittmer's granddaughter.

The Wittmer hotel, located where the shore road turns inland.   The hotel was along the shore and adjacent to this black sand beach.

This dog was lying in the hot gravel at the entrance to the Wittmer hotel. For a Galápagos dog, it looked to be unusually well-cared-for.   A tree and field overlooking the ocean, as seen from the shore road.

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