March 1, 2001 ~ March 15, 2001
March 13 ~ March 15, 2001
We left our med moor at Puerto Lucia Yacht Club at about 8:30am with Nelson's help. We were back on the watch schedule! I started out with the 10am-2pm, 10pm-12am, and then 4-6am! We motored alot, but probably not as much as the other passage. We had a roll from the south which made it less comfortable than the previous passage; however, I still didn't take anything or get seasick. We passed quite a few freighters off the coast (on their way to the Canal) plus long line fishing boats. We continued with NO fish, but gave up another lure in sacrifice!!! We also caught a booby in the foot! We hauled him in and used our HUGE bolt cutters to cut off the hook! We put alot of Bactroban on it and he flew away!!! We just hope and pray he is ok!
We had the spinnaker up several days and with the current, we were making good time. We almost landed a rainbow runner but he managed to get off the hook!!! This isn't fair!!!
We saw absolutely spectacular sunsets every night!!! The stars in the sky are absolutely mind boggling!!!! It is hard to concentrate on watch when the stars are so awesome!! A very special private time!!! (As long as there are no other boats on the radar screen or lights on the horizon). These two passages have been extra special since we have been able to enjoy the ocean, the sea life, the beauty of being at sea, instead of having to deal with adverse conditions with no sleep.
March 12, 2001
The crews from *Zephyrus,* *Freedom,* and *Slepnia* left for their bus trip to Machu Picchu in the rain!!! *Comono* was to join them on Wednesday, but we don't think they did. We have had no communication with them since. Also, *Sangaris* left on March 5 to tour Ecuador with their daughter for about four weeks. We haven't heard anything from them either. We wish them well on their travels! Be safe!
David and I left about 9am in the rain and were absolutely drenched by the time we paddled the dinghy over to the dock! We went to the Port Captain's office and did everything that William (*Hoopolog*) had suggested that we do! It took us 2.5 hours and we finally left....with our zarpe....to the Marquesas!!! The Port Captain will not issue zarpes to the Galapagos. He says that you still need to file with the Department of Defense for a permit!!! Ecuador has nicely changed the regulations and we are granted 20, 21 or 25 days here (we are not sure which???) in four different anchorages. They have finally gotten smart and realize that we bring in money in entering the country, anchoring fees, and we spent money ashore on tours, restaurants and food!!!! We still don't know what the port captain is going to do with our zarpe to the Marquesas? We did not check out of Immigration so we are still checked into Ecuador. Part of the reason that we had decided to go to Ecuador was the advantage of already being checked into Ecuador so we wouldnt have to pay the pretty high fees for entering the Galapagos....We will just have to wait and see what happens!!!
David and I stopped at the mall and picked up more fresh fruits and vegetables, bread from the bakery and money from the ATM!!! The boys were beginning to wonder where we were....we finally arrived back at 1:30 for a very late lunch!!! Eric informed us that while we were away he had turned on the engine to keep us away from the rocks again because of the low tide and the surge in the harbor. We need to leave!!! We spent all afternoon making the boat ready. Then David and I settled our bill with the Puerto Lucia Yacht Club and said goodbye and thank you to Gallo Ortiz, the manager who had been so helpful. We talked with *High Drama,* *Misty Dawn,* * Talisman,* and *Comono* about the zarpe situation and said that we would see them all soon in Wreck Bay!
March 11, 2001
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Wayne!!! I think it was a BIG one!!! We wish that we could have helped you celebrate! Hope it was happy!
We had some rain in the morning (of course, now that we spent money for water to clean the boat and the windows!!!)! I continued cleaning, washing floors and windows (Jason did most of them! Thank you!) and more washing. Jason went to the gym again to workout in the afternoon, while Eric used the Super Snorkel to clean off the bottom. It is soooooo bad!!!! Don't ever buy Sea Hawk Paint....it doesn't work!!! We paid lots of money for that paint at Island Water World at Grenada Marine...and it will have to be done again in New Zealand. It will have lasted a little over a year!
March 10, 2001
Saturday was a busy cleaning day - I worked on the inside, cleaning and stowing everything and finishing up the wash. I also made another huge batch of rotis. The guys had a water hose from the marina and cleaned the topsides (alot of the dirt had been washed off in the big rain while we were away), the sides, and also the dinghy. *Peace and Aloha* was sooooo happy to be sparkling clean again! She had gotten so dirty while in Colon and during the transit, and we had no rain to clean her. We also filled up our water tanks with the water. We had taken two jerry jugs full of water out before we added their water (which was supposed to be RO water, but we later heard that it was mostly city water and not their RO water), so that we would have enough to drink (after chlorinating it and putting it through a pur filter pitcher) until we are able to make our own water while at sea heading to the Galapagos. Then David started working on cleaning the waterline. We also did another load of wash after dinner when the generator was running. (It is amazing how fast wash accumulates for four people even though we really really conserve !)
We were also very surprised (and you can imagine how Puerto Lucia Yacht Club reacted!) when *Zephyrus,* *Comono,* *Freedom,* and *Slipnea* all arrived from Manta about the same time late morning. They managed to get everyone med moored, with Harold and Diana on *Zephyrus* next to us but we were able to maintain our position in two spaces!!! William and Helga on *Hoopolog* had left about 10am, so their space was open.
You, movie/video review fans, are in luck!!!! We watched "Stargate" tonight munching on a bag of popcorn!!! Quite an interesting movie!!!! We gave it an excellent rating!!! We definitely would recommend this movie to everyone!!
March 9, 2001
We awoke at 7am, didn't hear our alarm go off at 6am!!! We always sleep better in our own bed! I had to fix the wash (hang it outside in the sun and air to finish drying), pick up the boat and we left about 9am to go shopping at the mall and visit the ATM machine. We are trying to use cash rather than credit cards, just to be on the safe side! We went to the Port Captain in the afternoon and he would not issue us a zarpe to the Galapagos or even to the Marquesas! We spent $6 for the taxis and were gone for 2-3 hours!!! It also meant that we could not leave on Sunday as we had planned. We then made what we thought was a local call connecting to Sprint for a collect call to Fidelity to obtain bank balances and then we were charged $5.60 for the local call!!!! Wonderful!!! We stopped for a beer (they were unloading about 10 cases!) with William and Helga on *Hoopolog,* to find out how they had gotten a zarpe to the Galapagos about 2 hours before we went there!!! They had also gone to the market in LaLibertad where they had purchased lots of fresh fruits and vegetables....we just had to make due with what we could get at the supermarket. The problem with the supermarket produce is that it doesn't last as long because it has been refrigerated.
The boys worked on cleaning out the bilges with the hose (UGLY job!!!!) and Jason worked on his metal polishing!!! We all went over to the restaurant to bring back our refrigerator/freezer food which they had so nicely stored for us while we were away. We were continuing to watch the tides, because they were getting even lower. David checked it at 10pm and we were ok. We did another load of wash and had an early dinner!
March 8, 2001
We were up early (again!) and checked out by 7:30am and caught the Express Bus to Guayaquil at 8:55am. (Same price of $7 each). We were expecting it to go a different way along the coast; however, we went back the same way and the driver made up two hours by not stopping and by driving like an absolute maniac!!! I spent alot of time....praying !!!! Unfortunately, it was raining and cloudy (it was 57 degrees that morning!!!) so we did not have the views as before. We arrived in Guayaquil at 12:40pm and we were on the bus to La Libertad at about 1pm and were off!!! Wrong!!!! The bus driver drove very slowly and stopped to wait in order to fill up the bus, so it was an hour or more before we even left Guayaquil. Then he made up for it....driving like another maniac!!! We hoped off the bus at the mall at about 3:30 pm and got a taxi back to the yacht club. We were really excited and please about our wonderful adventure to Cuenca until we were on the dinghy dock and noticed that *Peace and Aloha* had been moved....... while we were away a storm came through with 30 knot winds, heavy rains, heavy surge in the harbor and low low tides. She hit the rock in front, and the yacht club had moved her so that she was taking two spots, but then the stern was hitting the cans. So we had damage both on the bow and the stern. We were able to obtain waterproof epoxy and covered the bare aluminum on those three spots.
So, while I unpacked everything, the guys made us more secure, fixed the chafing gear, and accessed the damage. We did a load of wash, had a quick dinner and crashed....but with very fond memories of Cuenca, Ingapirca, Karina, the Andes Indians, and maniac bus drivers! We were thankful to be home safe and sound in our own beds!
March 7, 2001
We were up early at 6am, had our fruit breakfast and were in the lobby by 8am to meet Hueleo for our trip to see Ingapirca, the Inca ruins about 1.5 hours away from Cuenca. Karina had very nicely arranged for our taxi tour. About 45 minutes from town his car stopped!!! He called for another taxi and we were on our way about 9am. We arrived about 10:30am and met Brent and Allison in the museum. Brent was a Mormon missionary in Ecuador about ten years ago and he had returned from their home in Idaho to visit friends. It was perfect for us (that is why our taxi broke down!!!) because he spoke Spanish fluently and could interpret and ask questions of both of our taxi drivers. They charged us $6/person entrance fee (the taxi drivers paid 20 cents!!! Talk about a Kaamainana discount!!!) and the entire museum explanations are all in Spanish and there are a few signs to show you where to go. Since Brent had been there before we saw lots more than we would have otherwise. We walked down into the valley and back up past the Inca Face on the Wall. We purchase a book at the museum, but it is terribly written (or translated!), but the pictures are nice. (Hopefully, there are pictures here on the website update.)
Ingapirca is the major Inca site in Ecuador at 3230 meters above sea level or 10,659 feet elevation. There has been quite a contraversy over their significance, even though a French man drew accurate plans of Ingapirca in 1739. But it has only been very very recently that Ecuador has stepped in and help to conserve the site. During all that time many of the dressed stones comprising the ancient buildings were stolen and used in colonial and modern building projects. Ecuador has done quite an excellent job restoring this site. We would have appreciated more English in the museum and/or maps/brochures/tour guides to help explore the ruins.
We left Ingapirca about 1pm and returned to visit the town of Cuenca again. Cuenca is the third largest city in Ecuador, the center of the Panama Hat industry. The elevation here is above 9,000 feet (no altitude sickness, but we were short of breath, especially in Ingapirca) in the Andes. It was COLD!!! We were wearing pants, socks and shoes, fleeces and two shirts and we were still cold!!! There was NO heat in the hotel but thank heavens there were two heavy blankets!!! It did warm up during the day in the sun! Cuenca is a mix of Spanish Colonial, Republic French and Popular architecture. Cuenca is a very old city (the oldest cathedral was built in 1567) and declared its independence on November 3, 1820 from the "Royal audience of Quito", all the cities belonging to the Spanish Crown. Total independence was achieved in 1822. Cuenca is a very beautiful city with churches, museums, parks, rivers, and beautiful Andes mountains.
We returned to our room (after purchasing a few more items plus fruits) to find that we did not have any HOT water. They were not able to repair the problem, so we were allowed to shower in the next room. We had a lovely dinner at their restaurant. We even shared a banana split for dessert.! Karina came to say goodbye bearing candy, chips, and fried beans (goodies to share from her country!)!!! Thank you again, Karina! We so enjoyed our stay in Cuenca and being able to meet wonderful people like you! That is what this journey around the world is all about!
March 6, 2001
We had purchased some fruit for breakfast from the vendors at the bus station, so that we didn't need to spend time having breakfast at the restaurant. We left the hotel about 9am and tried to find the tourist office, but failed! We spent the morning in the market looking at all the beautiful alpaca sweaters, jackets, blankets, shawls, etc. They also were selling other shawls, dresses, tshirts, dolls, other souvenirs, etc. etc. We looked around and walked alot and had a nice pizza for lunch. We met a lady traveling from Montreal outside one of the large churches. We tried to persuade her to sell us her Lonely Planet Guide, but no luck! We toured the new cathedral of the Parque Calderon (main plaza or park), which is very very large with many side altars and beautiful stain glass windows. The altar is covered in gold with a very large carved crucifix. We think that construction was begun in 1880 and was almost finished in 1967. We also understood that the tall bell towers could not be supported by the building so could not be built as originally design. There are three blue domes which are visible from afar.
After the shops opened at 3pm from siesta we purchased more momentos, a porcelain plate and geniune "Panama Hats" which are actually made here in Cuenca, Ecuador....not in Panama. We purchased more fruit at the large market and went back to the hotel where we had another nice dinner (one other family was there tonight!) at their restaurant.
March 5, 2001
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHAWN!!! Hope it was happy!
We were up at 5:30am and already when Nelson picked us up! We took a taxi to the bus station (?) in La Libertad. We were on the bus from about 8:15 until 11:50 when we arrived in the city of Guayaquil (2nd largest city in Ecuador). It cost us $10.80 for all four of us! Quite an experience! Vendors come aboard to sell jewelry, food (fried plantains, water, apples, others which we didn't know what it was!!!), toothpaste, toilet paper, etc. etc. and when the bus stops to pick up someone, they hop off, others hop on and then they catch another bus back and forth all day! Tough way of making a living! The best sales pitch (the rival of many on television!) was about a silver chain and lasted about 20 minutes....up to a fever pitch, with sweat pouring off his face!!! Of course, this was all in Spanish....FAST spanish....so we didn't understand a word of it!!!
The Bus Terminal (Terminal Terresteral) was another cultural experience! Many many little shops selling anything and everything, EXCEPT The Lonely Planet Guide to Ecuador which we wanted to purchase! Then there are bus companies with their booths on both sides of the terminal, with guys out there trying to hustle you so that they can fill their buses. The bathrooms were another experience! When you enter the ladies room you give them 10 cents and receive your toilet paper, which is placed in a waste basket after use, otherwise, it will clog up the entire plumbing system of the city! The men had to pay also but could use a booth or a circular trough with others standing around in a circle!!! The things you learn from reading our website.....things that you might need later in life!!!!
Diego had told us to use a San Luis Bus to Cuenca and we were quickly hustled aboard and after about 4+ hours, we realized that we are not on the express bus, which takes 4 hours to travel from Guayaquil to Cuenca. We were on the SLOW bus which took SIX hours so that we arrived at the station in Cuenca at 6pm!!! This bus did have a bath room, which the other bus had not had. After David used it, I decided that maybe I didn't really need to!!! Just imagine what it must have looked like inside after all the men had used it, while the bus is traveling 50-60 mph on steep curvy mountain roads!! I know that they don't have the same rule there that applies on our boat....All men need to SIT!!! (for obvious reasons!!!)
However, we thoroughly enjoyed the amazing journey through the Andes to very high elevations with absolutely incredible scenic vistas of the valleys and the mountains. We really enjoyed going through the small towns and viewing the Indians in their local dress. The women wear brighly colored full gathered skirts with embroidery along the hem, white blouses trimmed with lace and/or embroidery, with brightly colored shawls of alpaca and hats (these usually denote their particular tribe.) We saw many new interesting fruits (we need to try) and one lady entered carrying these huge beans (20 or so) strapped across her back. The shawls are used to carry items and babies on the backs of the women. The men also wear hats and capes of various colors denoting their tribe. They are quite dark with dark hair, usually worn in one braid down their back. They often wear gold beaded necklaces. Very very colorful people and they seemed very friendly!
We located the Hotel Pinar Del Lago and were shown a very nice room with three beds overlooking a little lake with ducks and the Andes Mountains behind. Karina, an assistant manager, who could speak English, was a great help while we were in Cuenca. We had dinner (alone....they weren't very full, but we think that Ecuadorians eat dinner very late!) at their restaurant and had a very delicious dinner and it was about $26 for four of us including 12% tax and 10% tip which they add to your bill! Eric shared with the waiter how to fold a napkin a la Seawatch, the bird of paradise fold. The waiter tried it and maybe the next time we go there, they will fold them that way!!!
We were very tired but had to watch a little tv....we were able to watch CNN News and the Stock Market Report, plus the weather channel!!! The boys watched the end of the movie "Virus". We find that in many of these countries they will show our movies with the subtitles in Spanish so we can enjoy the movie and try to learn Spanish at the same time! What a wonderful and exciting day we had!
March 4, 2001
We listened to the nets in the morning and were very shocked to hear that two boats had been really damaged during their Canal Transit . We heard that *Antares Royale* and *Napenthe* had been smashed against the wall, when a rope broke on the tug. We think that they were both dimasted. The tug apparently did nothing! It is amazing that someone wasn't killed with rigs falling down! We didn't hear anything more, except that there was to be a hearing. Our hearts and prayers go out to those cruisers and we hope that the Canal is paying for ALL the damages!
We also heard via email that our very good friends, Liz and Willie, on *Mystique* were mugged and robbed in Anse Mitan in Martinique. No one was hurt, but Willie hit his head and had bruises and scraps when he hit the pavement while he scuffled with this fellow. Willie is celebrating is 70th birthday the end of this month with a trip to visit his family and friends in Switzerland. We wish Willie a Happy Birthday and a wonderful trip! Please be careful! We hope that they have gotten through all the "MESS" of getting new credit cards, etc. etc. etc. It definitely taught us to be much more vigilante and careful!!!! I carried my money and credit cards in my shoe while traveling to Cuenca, but we need another plan when we are wearing "flip flops!"
We cleaned the boat. We talked with *Sangaris* and several other people at the hotel about traveling inland and FINALLY made the decision to travel to Cuenca in the Andes and tour Ingapirca (Inca ruins) by bus. We met Diego, a member of the Yacht Club, who spoke English (he is from Miami!!!). He told us what bus to take and where to stay in Cuenca. He spends alot of time in Cuenca and photographs brides at Ingapirca! So, we copied as many pages from the Lonely Planet guide as we could, packed, put all our food from the refrigerator and freezer into the big ones at the restaurant, made the boat secure and made arrangements for Nelson to pick us up at 7am to bring us over to the clubhouse to get a taxi to the bus station!!!!
March 3, 2001
We were up early listening to all the nets and then we headed to the "Mall." There are armed guards wearing bullet proof vests in three towers above the parking lot!!!! There were many more guards inside! We seem to be getting used to seeing this....but still makes me feel very uneasy and uncomfortable! We should all be so thankful that we live in the United States! We found that the prices in the stores were quite reasonable. Ecuador changed to the US dollar about a year ago to try to stabilize their currency and economy. We have heard mixed emotions about whether it is good or bad for the average citizen! It makes it nice for us since we do not have to change currency. We found some excellent bread in the bakery for about 40 cents/loaf!
We spent the afternoon inventorying and stowing all. Then we visited some with Steve from *Lord Portal*. We were informed that there are 12 Air Force men aboard and they are aboard for about 3 months for training, an "Outward Bound experience! Steve's speciality is bomb defusing!!!! We were VERY impressed! The boat had gone around the Horn, but he had joined in Chile. He and the crew returned to England on March 5 and *Lord Portal* had left while we were away, so we did not meet the new crew. We also met William and Helga on *Hooloplop* from Germany. They told us that we MUST take the train ride from Alausi down the "Cliff" into Guayaquil. (Unfortunately, the train only runs periodically and was not in service when we were there.) Then we talked with *Sangaris* and met their daughter, Jennifer, who is here in the Peace Corps stationed in RioBamba. They loaned us their Lonely Planet guide and gave us suggestions of where to tour here in Ecuador. So we tried to come up with a plan over dinner.
March 2, 2001
HAPPY HATCHDAY, SQUIRT!!! We can't believe that our littlest baby is four years old!!! THANKS to James, Liz, Aidan and Skipper, we known that you are being well cared for and are happy and healthy!!!
The boys spent ALL morning paddling the dinghy (didn't put the motor on) between our boat and the fuel dock, filling up jerry cans of diesel to replenish our supply that we had used while motoring. We had to purchase 106 gallons!!! David and I stopped to find out information from *Sangaris* and then rented a taxi @ $10/hour (pretty expensive for Ecuador) to take us to Immigration in La Libertad to check us (people, that is) into Ecuador (we had to go to a copy place to make copies and then return) and then we had to go to the Port Captain in Salinas to check in *Peace and Aloha*. It took us all morning, but we didn't have any problems, even using our very very limited Spanish!
We visited with Gallo Ortiz, the manager of the Yacht Club, about all the facilities, etc. He has a mechanical engineering degree from a school in California!! The club is VERY VERY posh!!!! We are still wondering where the money came from to build this multi multi million dollar complex in the middle of poverty??? They have the full service yacht club, hotel, tennis courts with tennis programs, gym, restaurant, marina with haul out facilities and fuel dock, condomiums, lasers and kayaks to rent, fishing tours, etc. etc. However, for us to use the restaurant or the gym we needed to pay $100/week/boat or $6/day/person. We were still trying to figure out how to travel to Machu Picchu. We talked with another travel agent and it was about $1000/person with only a couple of hours at Machu Picchu. We decided that was just too much!!! We read a book about it loaned to us by Stacey, Mike, Anne and Jeff on *High Drama* from Phoenix who had just returned. They did rave about it! We will just have to take a trip from Miami after we return...for probably the same amount of money. They did tell us that we could take a 60 hour bus ride....for the price within our budget. After much discussion, we had to rule that one out!!!! Besides price we also had concerns about our lack of Spanish and a shortage of time. So we continue to find the perfect solution!!!!
March 1, 2001
Absolutely beautiful day!! We sailed and made good time with the current and the motor!!! Our final day! We arrived at Puerto Lucia Yacht Club which is located between La Libertad and Salinas, Ecuador (right on the westernmost point of South America!) at about 4:30pm, after 5 days and 8 hours! We were helped into the fuel dock by Steve on *Lord Portal,* a British Air Force training sailing vessel. Then we were helped with Spanish translation by Leonardo and his daughter on *Astra* from Italy. (He is a physics professor at a university in Rome and has done work at Stanford.) We were not able to get a mooring or a slip so we were med moored to the breakwater. We had quite a time getting long enough bow lines to go to shore and they were only able to attach one can/buoy for our stern, so we were sharing the other can with *Lord Portal.* We had quite a time keeping our bow off the rocks in the front and from protecting the boat from banging into the cans in the stern. *Peace and Aloha* is REALLY too long and too deep for Puerto Lucia, but we managed! We were FINALLY secured and had rotis for dinner at about 8pm. Katherine and Craig on *Sangaris* stopped by to say "welcome" on their way to dinner. They had been checking in with the port captain in Salinas and were gone all afternoon. We went to bed immediately after dinner!!!! We were tired but also very thankful to have had such a wonderful passage and to be safe in Puerto Lucia!!! Ecuador is our 26th country. We traveled approximately 560 miles from Las Perlas Islands. We now have 8,100 miles through the water logged on our speedometer (which is not as accurate as the speed over ground reading from the GPS...however, the Northstar does not keep a running log or a trip log.) Puerta Lucia is located at 02 Degrees 13.00 Minutes South and 80 Degrees 55.32 Minutes West.