After 7 hours of shopping in Manta at two grocery stores, we are now provisioned with durable goods, i.e. canned foods, paper, plastic, flour, pasta, cookies, condiments, etc. for at least 6 months. 50 cans of tuna was one of our main purchases, that and toilet paper. Manta bills itself as theTuna Capital of the World because of its vibrant tuna trade and the canned tuna is very good. Steve tried to discourage the purchase of heavy canned goods because he wants to sail, not wallow, across the ocean. Portia points out that if we can't eat we can't even wallow, plus what fun is it to sail if we are starving? Steve became more cooperative after he noticed 4 large packages of double chocolate Oreos in the basket.
Upon our return, we spent two hours entering our purchases on the master inventory list, finding places for them on Dream Caper and then noting where everything is stored, a tedious but essential process to avoid confusion and a constant treasure hunt later. We then dinghied to the catamaran Leu Cat for dessert which was a deliciously thick chocolate mousse which also substituted for our dinner because we were so focused on getting the goods put away that we did not have time to eat. So starts the sometimes weird eating habits that come with doing watches during crossings.
Upon our return from Manta, we decided to change our departure date to Thursday rather than Wednesday because the other two boats with whom we are exiting have some obligations to meet on Wednesday. We were somewhat relieved to have another day to take care of business on the internet, to provision with fresh fruits, vegetables, shrimp, and eggs, and to get a bit more Chilean boxed wine (2 cases). We will be very happy wallowers!
WELCOME TO OUR NEW WEBSITE! After too long, we now have a user friendly site that has many benefits, one of which is the ability to enter blogs as we cross the Pacific and also give position reports along the way so that those who are interested can follow our daily progress. We will be entering photos and blogs soon!
Yes, we are going to finally cross to the South Pacific. We leave Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador, on March 3, for the Galapagos where we will stay until the end of March. We will then push on in April, to do the "Puddle Jump" to the South Pacific, a 3000 mile crossing. We left Dream Caper in Ecuador in June and have since spent 4 months in Chapala, Mexico, a week in Okinawa, Japan (Portia had an arbitration there), 2.5 weeks in China, and a little time in California visiting friends and relatives. We just returned from a very quick trip to California to see family, buy boat parts, and enjoy 2 wonderful days of skiing in the Sierra Nevadas before we take Dream Caper across the big pond.
On Wednesday, we will be joined by our crew: the Roses (David & Eileen) who live near Chapala, Mexico, have owned their own sailboat, and have crewed on an Atlantic crossing from England to the Caribbean aboard a catamaran. They will sail with us to the Galapagos and on to the South Pacific. We look forward their arrival.
To the right, click on the link "Where in the world is Dream Caper?" or "Current Position" and you will find where we are. After 6 years, we are finally ready. Follow our experiences as we make our way to the Galapagos, French Polynesia and beyond.
We received from our agent in the Galapagos Islands, our "Autografo," the necessary permit for Dream Caper and its crew to anchor in the Galapagos for up to 45 days. With this "Autografo"we will now be able to obtain from the Port Captain our "Zarpe," the authorization for Dream Caper to exit from Bahia de Caraquez to the Galapagos. So it looks like the administrative requirements are getting resolved nicely, in time for our planned department on Wednesday. Carlos, marine manager/bar pilot at Puerto Amistad Yacht Club where we are moored and whose last day of employment was yesterday, will be on another exiting boat when we depart the estuary into the Pacific Ocean at high tide. We will follow him closely because the passage through the shallows, reefs, rocks and breaking waves is a bit tricky but since we are a catamaran and only draw 4 ½ feet, we have a lot of leeway.
We have been busy saying our goodbyes to many cruiser friends who have decided to settle here in Bahia and others who are heading a different direction than us. During our 6 years of cruising, lots of our cruiser friends have stopped and "swallowed the anchor," got off the boat and settled on land. The most have been this year. Many chose Panama in the highlands (Boquete) and Panama City, Ecuador in the Bahia de Caraquez area, Mexico, and some have returned to their homes in the USA. Different geographic locations appeal to different people. We guess that we will be doing the same after 3 years in the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia. Steve hopes it will be longer but we shall see.
But for now, we are doing last minute internet chores and small boat projects to get Dream Caper ready.
We came on shore mid-morning and heard the news of the 8.8 earthquake in Chile and the tsunami warnings. At that point, if the tsunami was going to hit Equator and our area, it would have done so at 7:00 am. The owner of Puerto Amistad Yacht Club announced the earthquake and possible tsunami at approximately 4:00 am, 3 hours after the earthquake, on VHF radio to the boats in the anchorage. Unfortunately, most cruisers turn off their radios at night when they are in a safe port. We had ours on. Portia vaguely heard a voice but by the time she got to the radio it had quieted so she turned it down. Being in an estuary about 1 mile from the ocean is usually a safe place to be. Luckily, there were no noticeable effects from the earthquake or tsunami. Friends anchored in Panama City, 500 miles away, quickly pulled anchor and motored to Taboga, a nearby island. About 50 boats did this and waited a few hours until the tsunami possibility had passed without event. We appreciated the emails from concerned family and friends.
With the tsunamis in Thailand, Indonesia, Samoa, Tonga and now from Chile, are the cruisers concerned? I have heard various statements such as, "Well, it is over now so it is a good time to go." Or, "A boat is the safest place to be in a tsunami." Or, "We'd better go now before there is nothing left." Steve has a similar response. Portia is more concerned as usual but still believes it is safe. The sailboat, El Regalo, met its scheduled exit time today from Bahia at 3:00 pm, high tide, on its way to the Galapagos without incident. So, we continue our preparations to head to the Galapagos amidst the sad reports of the devastation in Chile. Our hearts go out to the victims.
Our crew, David and Eileen, arrived after an 8 hour bus ride from Quito! They are now settled in the starboard aft berth of Dream Caper. We had an outboard propeller, engine hoses, yogurt starter, dried eggs and a few other items sent to Eileen's sister's address in California where Eileen and David were visiting prior to flying to Quito. We were very happy and thankful to get these items. They are settling into the slow rhythm of this 10,000 population town except that they have jumped into the fray of getting our new Sony computer loaded with the programs we need.
We have a taxi trip to Manta (1.5 hour) scheduled for Monday in a pickup to get our provisions. We have not received the all important "autografo," a permit for the Galapagos which we need before we can obtain the exit "zarpe" from the Port Captain here in Bahia. We sent the required boat documentation, passport information and $300 to our agent in the Galapagos to get a permit which will allow us to anchor in 5 anchorages in the Galapagos and stay up to 45 days. Without this autografo we would only be able to stay in one anchorage for no more than 20 days. Our agent has told us that we will have the autografo by Monday. We shall see.
The exit to the Galapagos from Bahia has started. Two boats are leaving on Saturday. SV (Sailing Vessel) Ubatuba (Columbia), SV Tin Tin (Spain) and SV Dream Caper are set to leave on Wednesday at 5:30 am, at high tide so that the deeper draft boats will clear the exit path. All three of us plan to sail to Cabo Pasado, 20 miles north where we will anchor just off the coast in clear water for a few days. Since we are currently moored in the river here in Bahia which is brown and of questionable quality, we are looking forward to checking out the bottom of the boat and doing some snorkeling and spear fishing.
Our days are now focused on making sure all systems are working and provisioning. Steve with the help of David just succeeded in getting the GPS to interact with our navigation program on our new computer. Yaaaaaay! What a great crew already!
We picked up Adiosto at 8:00 am to clean the outside of the boat. He has spent the last 2 days on the inside, doing a fantastic job scrubbing the white leather-like walls, cleaning the ceilings and shampooing the salon carpet. Steve and I went into town to buy plastic bins and containers to hold fresh fruits, vegetables and other provisions for the crossing. I then spent my daily hour with Olenka, my Spanish teacher, conversing in Spanish. Olenka is a local Ecuadoran who grew up in Bahia de Caraquez and three years ago she married our cruising friend from California, Bruce, whom we met in El Salvador 4 years ago. At noon, el maestro Garcia, the canvasmaker brought our new bimini to the boat for its third fitting. It is looking good and is almost complete.
Steve continued work on our new Sony computer loading all of our necessary programs; this has proved to be a very time consuming chore because Windows 7 is not compatible with our older programs. Portia organized photos for the website, studied the documents in an arbitration decision she needs to write, tidied up the boat in anticipation of our new crew's arrival this evening, and handled a number of emails.
Adiosto shined all of the stainless steel on the boat, took stains off the gelcoat, washed the entire boat, scrubbed the salon seat cushions, and waxed the outside of both hulls. What an amazing worker. We paid him $30 for the three days plus $20 tip, an extraordinary amount since most workers receive $150 per month for a 6-day work week here in Ecuador.
It was a hot and humid day. The sun came out early and there was no wind. The mosquitoes were ferocious on shore early. We usually put up the screens on our windows around 5:00 pm every night and take them down mid-morning. With the rainy season, came the mosquitoes!