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Strauch, Dora; Brockmann, Walter / Satan came to Eden

Chapter III: We find our Eden,   pp. 34-49

Page 35

We Find Our Eden 
to bode or harbor evil. The tall cactuses standing up against the 
sky looked to me like weird sentinels ever on the watch for 
strange things about to happen. But at the same time there was 
something ludicrous in those imposing watchers, for impressive as 
they looked, I knew that the slightest push could topple them 
over. That is the odd thing about the Floreana soil-it can be made 
to bear rich life, but is so shallow that nothing can take firm root 
in it. Perhaps there was in that too an omen for us, but neither of 
us knew it then. 
  Within the smooth curve of the bay, the Pacific waters lay so 
calm and blue that they reminded one almost of the lakes of 
home. But hardly an hour would pass before the vicious wedge 
of a shark's fin would cleave the mirror-like surface of the ocean, 
followed by another and another. The delights of swimming were 
denied us in our beautiful retreat, and this disappointed me some- 
what at first, for I had hoped to experience here that oneness with 
the sea which is unattainable to those whose country lies in the 
cold region of the northern oceans. On the day of our first land- 
ing we had ventured out to the end of the decrepit pier which the 
settlers had built, and I had said to the Norwegian that I should 
never dare to risk entering that shark-infested water. He had 
answered reassuringly that they were really not so bad, and often 
were quite satisfied to take only an arm or a leg of swimmers, not 
always demanding the whole man. 
  But on this first morning of our life on Floreana there was lit- 
tle time to spend in contemplation of the landscape. I was so eager 
to be up and going on our exploration of the island that I could 
hardly wait for Frederick to complete his preparations. I think I 
could not myself have said what magic scene I expected would be 
unfolded to our eyes in the interior-I only knew that I had never 
been more happy nor filled with such golden anticipation. The 
books we had read described Floreana as the most valuable of the 
Galapagos Islands by reason of the fact that it possessed four 
springs. Considering the islands' extreme aridity, this was a com- 
paratively good water supply, but it had apparently not sufficed to 
sustain the lives of a modest number of settlers for any length of 
time. For us, however, it would be enough. 

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