“The government of Ecuador took over all the more permanent installations of the base, and I had heard in Quito that some of the houses the Americans had put up were to be distributed among the settlers under certain conditions.

I applied to the Ecuadorian admiral of the fleet for permission to get one of the houses, and he promised to do what he could. He kept his word too, for quite soon afterwards the government decided that in their distribution the settlers already on the Galapagos should be given priority consideration. I was permitted to look for one of the houses on my return journey and afterwards have it brought over to Floreana. Best of all, this would be a gift; we should have nothing to pay for it at all.

When the ship called at Seymour on the way home, I looked round for a suitable house, and choose immodestly one of the biggest, which had served the Americans as a post office. It had several rooms and represented a great deal of timber. That was the important thing, because the trees on Floreana were all too gnarled to make satisfactory timber for building purposes. That was why we had never managed to build a house at Black Beach.

Finally, there would be enough wood to build not only our own living accommodation and a big hen-house but also a food store, which we had come to realize was urgently necessary for marketing our produce - instead of having to rush it down to he coast at the last minute for ships with no time to wait."