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The Galapagos islands in the Pacific Ocean were once natural stopovers for 18-century whalers, who were drawn to the remote islands by fresh water and a variety of food sources. These whalers would spend months and sometimes years on the job, hunting whales and processing them for the oil and would return only when the ship’s hold was full with barrels of whale oil, which at that time was a valuable commodity widely used in oil lamps and making soaps. Islands like the Galapagos provided sailors an escape from the monotony of sea-life and from the relentless heaving of the rough seas, and also an opportunity to bring a variety of exotic meat to their plates, such as that of the Galápagos giant tortoises.

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The mail box in a barrel in Floreana Island. Photo credit: Mark Anthony Ray/Shutterstock.com

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