While we were in Galapagos last month we spent some time on Floreana Island, this is a small Island with a colorful past.
We heard stories of Pirates and then took a hike to see their caves. We also heard stories from the 1930’s of a couple of nudists with metal teeth, and a baroness that moved in on them with her three lovers, and basically declared herself queen of the island.
The first two people that wanted to make this little Eden their very own were the Wittmers, a German dentist and his mistress. They wanted to live there alone, were vegetarians and preferred to live free of the encumbrances of clothing, and their natural teeth. Before making the trip to live this solitary lifestyle they decided to pull out all their natural teeth, they had a pair (one pair) of metal teeth made which they passed back and forth as they ate their vegetarian meals. You have to love this story, it just sounds so crazy.
The Wittmers died many years ago, but their decedents can still be found among the 125 people that now live on this tiny Island. Don’t fear they all wear clothes, and I didn’t see any metal choppers while exploring the island.
The baroness that moved in on the two lovebirds, wanted to build a luxury hotel on the island for the rich and famous. Needless to say, once she moved in and started bossing the Wittmers around, things got a little messed up. She along with two of her lovers, and the dentist disappeared one day, and to this day nobody knows what happened to them.
Long before all this took place, the pirates were active on the island, and they carved out caves in the highlands close to the only fresh water spring on the island. We went on a hike to see the caves; we also saw the only other unique carving of its kind found so far in the Galapagos, a human head which looks much like the ones on Easter Island. The Wittmers first child was born in one of these pirate caves.
On the drive up to the highlands from the coast it was very interesting to see the different zones of vegetation, I believe there were seven. Along with the other Islands of the Galapagos, Floreana was formed by a Volcano, seeing the way the vegetation has taken over the landscape was a real treat.
As we hiked through the woods in the highlands we saw many giant tortoises, they are fed regularly on feeding platforms throughout the wooded area on the way up to the pirate caves. The view near the pirate caves of the island and extinct volcano was breathtaking.
One of the staff members from Red Mangrove that accompanied us on our Tour was from Floreana. He said that when he was growing up on the island there were only eight families (large extended families) living on the island.
We enjoyed our visit to this unique, beautiful little island. And think its past is prime fodder for a movie, except of course, we’re thinking of a G rated movie 🙂
If you’re planning a trip, you should check out these Galapagos books.