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Floreana Island is an island of the Galápagos Islandsmarker. It was named after Juan José Flores, the first president of Ecuadormarker, during whose administration the government of Ecuador took possession of the archipelago, having previously been called Charles Island (after King Charles II of England). It is also called Santa Maria after one of the caravels of Columbus.
Floreana Island
Post Barrel
The island has an area of 173 km¬≤ and a maximum altitude of 640 metres. It is one of the islands with the most interesting human history and one of the earliest to be inhabited. Pink flamingos and green sea turtles nest from December to May on this island. The "joint footed" petrel is found here, a nocturnal sea bird which spends most of its life away from land. At Post Office Bay, since the 18th century whalers kept a wooden barrel that served as post office so that mail could be picked up and delivered to their destination mainly Europe and the United Statesmarker by ships on their way home. Cards and letters are still placed in the barrel without any postage. Visitors sift through the letters and cards in order to deliver them by hand. At the ‚ÄúDevil's Crown‚ÄĚ, an underwater volcanic cone, coral formations are found. At Punta Cormorant, there is a green olivine beach to see sea lions and a short walk past a lagoon to see flamingos, rays, sea turtles and ghost and Grapsus grapsus Sally Light Foot crabs.

When still known as Charles Island in 1819, the Island was set alight by a sailor from the Nantucket whaling ship the Essex. On the same voyage one year later the Essex was sunk by a massive bull sperm whale.

In September 1835 the second voyage of HMS Beagle brought Charles Darwin to Charles Island. The ship's crew was greeted by the Acting Governor of Gal√°pagos, Nicolas Lawson, and at the prison colony Darwin was told that tortoises differed in the shape of the shells from island to island, but this was not obvious on the islands he visited and he did not bother with collecting their shells. He industriously collected all the animals, plants, insects & reptiles, and speculated about finding "from future comparison to what district or 'centre of creation' the organized beings of this archipelago must be attached."

References

  1. Keynes, R. D. ed. 2001. Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 356.

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