A Day on Mysterious Floreana Island
Day Five of our Galapagos Islands expedition aboard Silversea’s Silver Galapagos began with uncharacteristically overcast skies replacing the intense sunlight that has been with us for several days now. This was perhaps brought on by the unusual Blood Moon that accompanied the Full Moon we had last night. If, that is, we’d have been up at 3:00 a.m. local time to view it.
The blood moon is all you’d need to add to our location this morning to turn it into the perfect horror movie set. Located on Isla Floreana, the Baroness Lookout is so named for a reclusive Austrian woman named Eloise Wehrborn de Wagner-Bosquet. She arrived on the island in 1934 with her three lovers in tow, two of whom were German, while the ‘odd man out’ was an Ecuadorian gentleman named Manuel Valdivieso.
She fancied herself a rather schizophrenic array of individuals, from the island’s nun and moral confidant to provider of sexual favors. She claimed, so it is said, to have been sent “from above” to govern the island as the “Pirate Queen of the Galapagos.” Because every good pirate queen needs props, she took to parading around Floreana with a pistol and a whip. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to pick some place to be divinely sent to, it’s going to be the Cote d’Azur and not a barren blip in the Pacific.
What’s more, this strange foursome were far from the first people to arrive on Floreana. The Baroness didn’t do much to endear herself to the small population of European settlers that had arrived almost a decade prior and one man in particular – a German doctor named Friedrich Ritter – despised this new “Pirate Queen.”
The Baroness’s problems weren’t just confined to the island’s other residents. I can’t claim to have had three lovers at one time, but I assume that’s the kind of shell game you only keep going for so long. Rudolf Lorenz found that out the hard way. As Harem Lover Number One, he found himself mercilessly attacked by Harem Lover Number Two, Robert Philippson. Lorenz found solace with the family of Heinz Wittmer and The Baroness was constantly having to leave her Pirate Lair to come and get him.
There’s enough psychological intrigue and sexual undertones to this story to fill several Patricia Highsmith novels, but the long story short is this: e