About a month ago I hand-delivered a postcard I had carried a very long way. From a dot of an island in the southern Pacific Ocean to a small city in Virginia. From Post Office Bay to a parent back home.

You see Post Office Bay, on Floreana Island in the Galapagos, was set up in the sailing ship days. Back then crews were away from home for years, with no way to contact loved ones at home except by mail. Getting that mail home relied on other ships, however, so sailors would pick up mail headed to where they were going and take it there themselves.

postcard-galapagosThe tradition continues today, ironically now working better and faster than the real Ecuadorian postal service, which charges an amazing $2 and up to send a postcard or letter internationally. The cards we stuck in the mailbox at post office bay got to their recipients in a couple weeks.

I took longer delivering mine as I waited until I was driving through Virginia for the holiday break. I spent the night in Lynchburg (at the wonderful Craddock Terry Hotel) and hand-delivered my postcard to its surprised recipients—pictured here. Their son and his family had toured the Galapagos right before I was there and said, “This was an amazing trip. It’ll be even more amazing if this card makes it.”

It did, and I was almost as satisfied as a swashbuckling sailor.

If you’re heading out on a Galapagos cruise, don’t forget your address book!