Thursday, May 7, 2009
Whaling captain James Colnett established the wooden post barrel on the Galapagos Island of Floreana in 1793. At the time whaling was a big industry, ships were typically gone for 2 years at a time. The Galapagos Islands were a frequent stop for these ships. Outbound ships would drop off letters after rounding the cape and the ships returning home would mail them.
Over the years thousands of ships have stopped to send and receive mail at Post Office Bay. Many have posted a sign of driftwood or other materials memorializing their visit. This is the only area in the Galapagos were graffiti is still acceptable. This tradition has continued over the years, and even today visitors may drop off and pick up letters, without stamps, to be carried to far destinations.
My parents recently visited the Galapagos Islands. During their trip, they stopped off at Post Office Bay and dropped in several postcards.
My parents postcard dated 4/2 took just 35 days to travel 3148.2 miles (Thanks distance calculator!) ... without a stamp! It was personally delivered to me last night by Clinton Hill resident John. He knocked on my door and handed me the postcard which I assumed it had been miss-delivered to him by the post office. When he explained the tradition and that he had carried this with him from his recent travels to the islands, I was floored. I felt like I won the lottery. A hello from my parents personally delivered from around the world by a neighbor - how cool is that?!
In this age of emails, tweets, voice mails and text messages, I can tell you NOTHING compares to a personally delivered 'hello' from a friend or family. A truly unique and special experience. Thanks Mom and Dad and John!