GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) – During the Burch family’s trip to the Galapagos Islands in March, the Greenwich residents wrote a few postcards to send to family back home.

One was addressed to Cathy Burch’s parents in Connecticut and dropped at a post office on San Cristobal Island bearing $1.60 in postage. Another had no stamp, was sealed in a plastic bag and placed in a wooden barrel planted in the sand near the Pacific Ocean.

The barrel, stationed at what is called Post Office Bay on Floreana Island, was once part of a network started in the late 18th century. Whalers and other sailors passing through the Galapagos Islands dropped off their letters and packages to be picked up by other passing mariners, who would bring them home to hand-deliver to their intended recipients.

The Burchs’ traditionally mailed correspondence never made it to its destination, but on May 8, the old-fashioned system won out.

Edward Dadakis, former chairman of the Republican Town Committee, drove a few minutes from his office in Stamford, where he’s a senior vice president with Aon Risk Services, to present the postcard to the Burch children, Caroline, 11, and Alex, 10.

Dadakis had gone to the Galapagos Islands, located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, at the end of March. He has sifted through the scrawled messages at Post Office Bay, and came across a familiar address. The Burchs’ home is just down Butternut Hollow Road from his father’s house.

“Your postcard wasn’t dated, so I was really curious how long it had taken,” Dadakis said to Cathy, Caroline and Alex, after handing off the missive to the kids. “So, this came pretty fast.”

Some people deliver items to places 45 minutes or an hour away from their homes, Dadakis said.

Caroline, a sixth-grader at the Stanwich School, said the postcard itself wasn’t a surprise.

“I know that you wrote it to us, but I didn’t know what you wrote,” she said to her mom after receiving it from Dadakis.

Cathy and Drew Burch had written the letter as if their children weren’t with them on the trip, thinking it may be more likely to get to them that way.

“Wish you were here!” they jokingly scrawled in pen. “We are having a great time with the kids. We’re going snorkeling today and we saw whales yesterday!”

Before heading back to work, Dadakis and Cathy Burch reminisced about their trips, comparing details of the tours they took and chatting about the celebrities – Nicole Kidman, Prince Charles, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie – who had chartered private sailboats to tour the islands while they were visiting.

Both had left before the La Cumbre volcano on Fernandina Island that had been dormant for several years, erupted in early April.

Caroline, who had studied the discoveries that Charles Darwin had made about evolution on the Galapagos Islands in school, recounted the many animals she saw on the trip, including sea lions, penguins and giant tortoises.

Caroline also discovered she was lucky to get the postcard from Dadakis. The family of a friend of hers, who had gone to the Galapagos Islands last year, had left a letter for themselves at Post Office Bay, but never received it.


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