Friday, May 28, 2010

a month in ecuador

by the end of today the boat will be back in the water and we'll be heading south to Callao, Peru.  we've spent a month here in La Libertad, Ecuador.  during that time we've had 3 trips to different parts of ecuador: Cuenca, Loja and Parque Nacionale Podocarpus in the south; Bahia de Caraquez on the coast; and Quito, Otavalo, and Cotopaxi in the north.  Jim finally finished with the dentist, the keel has been repaired and Chesapeake has new bottom paint.  Below is just a sampling of our travels around Ecuador.  i'll revisit this in more detail in the near future. 

landscape scene from the bus on the way to Otavalo (Jim shot)

one of the many catedrals in Quito

pre-Columbian ceramic artifact in Quito

Jim has a new look - el es muy guapo

Cotopaxi volcano (Jim shot)

animal market in Otavalo (Jim shot)

Otavalo - woman shopping with her dog

low tide in Bahia de Caraquez

on the beach in Bahia de Caraquez (Jim shot)

coffee on the balcony in Bahia de Caraquez

wildflower in Podocarpus cloud forest

from the bus to Cuenca

landscape from the bus on our way to Loja

one of the many churches in Cuenca

Santuario de la Virgin near Cuenca (Jim shot)

Ingapirca ruins near Cuenca


bus shot on the way to Cuenca

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

isla Contadora in Las Perlas

our first anchorage in Las Perlas was isla Cantadora.  during the time we were here, we saw several boats we'd anchored near in Playita.  one evening we all gathered on the beach at sunset and it was quite a cultural mix - people from the netherlands, south africa, austria, canada, and australia.  we also had a terrific breakfast at restaurante romantico, a cute series of bungalows and restaurant set back on the beach overlooking the ocean.

the patio was inlaid with shells

we took a walk across the island looking at all the beautiful homes with fabulous views.  Jim decided he could settle down here quite nicely.

it is a working island with it's own airport. 

the mosiac stairs outside a very busy restaurant and hotel

this was ground zero for supplies being carried out to film the reality tv show Survivor

and it was also the beach at the end of the runway where we stood for what left like hours in the hot sun, waiting to get a shot of one of the many planes taking off.  as it turns out, they were all going the other direction.

but i did get to see a flock of pelicans

working harbor

 when we were waiting to check in we had front-row seats to watch the fishing boats come and go

Monday, May 3, 2010

more adjustments

well maybe i have too much time on my hands.  at any rate, i wanted to change the look of the blog and this is my first attempt.  most likely more changes to come.  in the meantime, here are a couple random shots of la libertad.

adjustments in La Libertad, Ecuador

we've been in La Libertad, Ecuador for over a week now. you know the phrase "if you can't say something nice don't say anything at all" and that sort of sums up my feelings about this place. check-in to the country was complicated by the language barrier and a confusing maze of ambiguous rules. we had our first med tie experience (stern into the slip) and thankfully the marina provided ample help. the surge is strong so we're glad we have our cargo straps to prevent us from crashing into the floating dock. the weather is a bit cooler than Panama, overcast and only humid middle of the day. we keep the boat screened in against mosquitoes and gnats. the first week was an adjustment to the area and how expensive things are (this is NOT the inexpensive country the crusing guides reported).

the boat was hauled w/o incident last Friday. I watched with a tight stomach the whole procedure which took about an hour or more. it's like having your house moved with everything in it. Jim has been visiting a local dentist inbetween boat projects and I've been researching where to do some land travel. while the boat is on the hard (on land) we've taken a room outside the marina compound. it has AC, a hotplate and a tiny refrigerator and it's clean. it's also across the street from a mall with a movie theatre and food court. it's no different than any US mall with tweens and teens cruising with hormonal angst, young moms with toddlers and families of all kinds. the only difference is the double cheek kissing between all.

we cabbed over to Salinas (a typical beach town) for a change of scenery last Sunday and cabbed over to the other side of La Libertad for dinner last week. both trips reveal a well-worn low-income industrial area.

boat repairs will include fiberglass work to repair the keel, raising the waterline on the hull and new bottom paint. we're expecting to be done in 3 weeks when we'll go back into the water and immediately head down to Callou, Peru.

we had to wait to be escorted into La Libertad so we could anchor.

this is the fuel dock and the office for the marina. we were anchored in the middle of the entrance to await customs, migracion, pt. captain and health guy. it was a pretty cool location because we could watch the abundance of frigates and pelicans do their thing.

here we are at our first med tie. we opted for the side of the marina that had a dock. about $450/week. ouch. water and electricity are extra.

Chesapeake doesn't do reverse well, especially in surge or wind conditions. fortunately we had a lot of help getting into this bay and into the straps.

one of the four guys handing off the bow line

note the guy on the right fending us off the cement wall

positioning the straps into the places Jim marked on the boat

note the wheels on the left are about 3" from the side of the bay

yard manager George talking with one of the marina guys

carefully placing wooden blocks to balance the keel. I find it amazing that the entire weight of the boat rests on it's keel and is kept in upright position by the braces below.

we just cleaned the bottom in Las Perlas less than 2 weeks ago.

chains are attached to the braces to keep them in place. I still find it hard to believe this will keep the boat balanced.

damage to the keel, most likely from the last rock we hit in Las Perlas (more to come about that in another post)

damage to the front of the keel

damage to the back of the keel

downtown Salinas Sunday afternoon

our resident guard cat who seems to have no problem trusting the braces will hold up the boat

this morning work had already begun on the keel (bow)

these guys work fast. oh, that's not Jim, he's in the cockpit taking the helm apart to check for loose screws.

sign at the fuel dock - just one example of the duel-price system we've discovered.

last evening we watched the pelicans jockey for space on the crane. moments later one of the marina guys came by and flicked them off with a halyard. it took all of maybe 5 minutes before they were back up there. it's one of our favorite pasttimes, watching these guys plop into the water. there's also an interesting phenomena with these guys. just after a pelican has dived into the water he pops back up like a cork and there are 1-2 small white birds who join him, often landing on the pelican's head or neck. they're too fast to photograph so far.