The Story Behind 'Floreana'
Did you ever play Post Offices when you were little? Or was it only me and my children?! And what does our tagua nut necklace Floreana have to do with the Post Office? Why don’t you make a cup of tea and sit down to read the fascinating story behind this beautifully named necklace - Floreana.
When we named our necklaces, little did we know that Galapagos and Floreana would be our best selling styles. And what’s funny is that they are related. Almost cousins! That’s because Floreana is one of the islands in the Galapagos archipelago. When we named the necklace it was because we love the Galapagos islands so we wanted the connection with Ecuador, and it was a pretty name for a pretty necklace.
However, the history of the Island of Floreana is what is so interesting. And that is where the Post Office comes in! Personally, I’ve always loved writing and all that writing is associated with - stationery, pens, pencils, the lot! Anyone who knows me knows how much stationery I possess. In the days before the internet, I would spend many hours writing to friends all over the world (including my boyfriend who I’ve now been married to for 30 years!). So any stories with Post Offices fascinates me.
The island of Floreana in Galapagos truly has the most unique Post Office in the world. This is a Post Office which operates without staff, without stamps and without money. It is totally dependent on goodwill and trustworthiness. It started in the 1700s when whalers would be at sea for years at a time. Often they would be homesick and communication was a problem as there was no email or social media back then, so a wooden barrel on Floreana became the place the whalers would leave letters for their loved ones. It was a simple system - passing ships would stop and sailors would collect the letters that they might be able to hand deliver themselves when they returned home. So, for example, a sailor whose final destination was was going home to London, would look for any mail with a London address and then hand deliver it on his arrival home. However, this was not Amazon Prime. Sometimes letters took years to deliver! But the system was simple and effective and worked for centuries.
Perhaps the most amazing part of the story is the fact that this system still works! Now it is tourists who leave the letters in the barrel in what has come to be known as Post Office Bay on Floreana. So, if you were to visit, you can write a letter or postcard to your loved ones around the world, leave it in the barrel and in turn you look for any mail you can take home and hand deliver to an address near you! No stamps are necessary!
A beautiful example of how many lives have been affected by this incredible mail system was written about by the BBC. In 2011 a couple visited Post Office Bay and spent the next 3 years hand delivering 22 letters they had found in the barrel to people in 17 countries! Their journey touched many lives and the story is well worth reading!
So, if you have chosen our beautiful Floreana Tagua Nut necklace, not only do you have a piece of Ecuador’s nature, but you have a beautiful story to go along with it!
Have I been to the island of Floreana? Not yet! I have been to 3 other islands in Galapagos, but Floreana is definitely on my list for next time! And I will make sure to visit Post Office Bay while wearing my Floreana necklace.
Update - 24th March 2023
Just to update you all - so last month Mark and I went back to Galapagos on our 30th Wedding Anniversary. And yes! We did visit Floreana, but unfortunately you can only visit Post Office Bay if you are on a cruise, and we just did a day trip. So that's on my list for our 35th Wedding Anniversary! Floreana was beautiful - we saw beautiful Flamingos and the view over the bay from one of the hills we walked up was breathtaking. What an amazing day we had, snorkelling along the coast and just taking in the amazing flora and fauna - Galapagos is just unique. Below is a photo looking down on Pirates Bay, Floreana. How I long to go again!