Surfer at Canoa
Well we’re finally back on the boat! Back on the boat?, you ask. Where have you been?
As you may remember from our last update, we arrived in Ecuador April 1,2007. Shortly thereafter, we received an email from Pat’s Ex-employer asking us to come back to help out on a project for 3 to 6 months. So we buttoned up the boat and flew back to the States. After working for 6 months we decided to visit family and friends for a month back in Arizona.
Finally the day came to fly back home to the boat, but with a short stop in El Salvador. A friend of ours from Arizona recently bought a home there, so we decided to stop in, see the place, and say “Hi”.
Our arrival home in Ecuador happened to be Thanksgiving Day. So we were immediately treated to a feast that had been prepared by Puerto Amistad and all the cruisers there.
Not all our time in the States was spent working. We did have a few adventures which are detailed in this update. In the next update you will find us exploring South America.
Well it happens to the best of us …. Work calls. We were busy minding our own business somewhere between Panama and Ecuador when emails started arriving requesting our presence for 3 to 6 months. We helped out at CryoCor on a cryogenic balloon catheter project they took on with Boston Scientific.
Here is Pat on our last day of work pointing and laughing at Jim (our Boss) and Joe (some other people’s Boss). They were on a phone conference with Boston Scientific at the time.
We were put up at the Residence Inn for the 6 months of work and felt like one of the family by the time we left. The staff and accommodations were awesome. Pat was going to leave me for Lolita because she would sneak some cookies to our room from time to time. Here are the managers and Lolita presenting us with a gift. It reads, ‘Time flies when you’re having rum’ and was signed by everyone. From left to right: Pat and Carrie, Lolita, Charlie, Nicole and Zen.
On Friday nights we reverted to our usual routine of going out for sushi and decompressing with the aid of a few sakes. We didn’t know the area very well when we got there but happened upon a really cool sushi bar, Happy Sushi, in our very first week. The sushi and sakes were wonderful and it was close enough for us to hit the happy hour specials. What a deal. The photo below is of the owner and one of the main chefs. He is actually from Laos and very talented!
We took a few road trips during the 6 months of work. We visited Carrie’s parents and brother in Palm Desert and Colorado at timeshares, did some wine tasting in Julian and visited the San Diego Wild Animal Park.
The tram just outside of Palm Desert. It takes you from the valley floor where it 100+ to ~8,000ft where it is a pleasant 80F. Needless to say a short hike to a spot with a great view was capped off by a picnic and a bottle of wine!
The Steam Locomotive between Durango and Silverton. We took the ride with Carrie’s parents and brother. The views all the way to Silverton were beautiful. The aspens were just changing and the air was crisp and clear.
Cheetahs at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. The CryoCor annual picnic was held at the park.
After the work was done, well our 6 months came to a close anyway, we took off for Arizona to visit family and friends.
We spent a week in Sedona and did many hikes, played a round of golf and tried to remember what it was like to be retired. We were also trying to lose the 10+ lbs each of us gained while working!
Friends Shelagh and Randy became restaurant owners in Cornville (very close to Sedona). We had a fine dining experience and enjoyed catching up with our friends. From left to right: Shelagh, Carrie, Pat, Steve, Marnie and Bob.
After a week in Sedona, we spent a week in Flagstaff at our friend Bob’s house. One night we had a Sushi-Fest party and learned how to make our own sushi. Lots of fun!
After Flagstaff we visited with Carrie’s parents and brother in Tucson with a weekend visit to the Bay area. While in Tucson we celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas. This was October by the way!
Carrie’s brother and Mom went to a Browns Backers bar to help cheer on the Browns in a game against their biggest rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Browns led 21-9 at the half, but proved once again that they were capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
A Bridge. Friends Eric and Sarah Ryba invited us up to the Bay Area for a weekend. We had a great time and saw many of the sights. We also visited with friends Tim and Laurel Konkol.
Muir Woods in the Bay Area. We took a hike through Muir Woods and stood in awe of the massive redwoods.
If you’ve followed our travels you know that we spent nearly 7 months moored in El Salvador while we explored all the countries of Central America by land (see archives). Our friend Bob came down for a visit and fell in love with the country and its people. So the logical thing to do was to buy a house. We couldn’t pass up a chance to see his new home on our way back yo Ecuador. WOW! Nice place on the beach, a plunge pool, and of course hammocks. We spent the week exploring our old haunts and visiting some new ones.
We arrived in Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador Thanksgiving Day to a feast for Kings prepared by Puerto Amistad and all the Cruisers. We had so much fun that we decided to do it again at Christmas. Great food and of course multiple imbibements.
This is the view that we were regularly treated to from the cockpit of Terra Firma. Bahia de Caraquez is located on a spit of land with the Pacific on one side of town and the Rio Chone on the other. Anchoring in the river provides for a safe and tranquil anchorage.
The other view from the boat was of Puerto Amistad ( yellow building), the provider of the moorings we were tied to as well as a great restaurant and Cruiser hangout. The boat in the foreground is Walkabout (Island Packet 32), owned by Tripp. Tripp, the owner of Puerto Amistad, sailed here from Alabama, loved it and never left. Seems to be a recurring theme down here. For more info see www.puertoamistadecuador.com.
And yet another view from Terra Firma! A view of the entire mooring field, roughly 20 boats, under some incredible light. The picture just doesn’t do it justice.
Life in an anchorage can get exciting once in a while. This photo finds Pat in the dinghy attempting to fend off a runaway catamaran that had broken loose of its mooring with no one on board. With help from s/v Entelecheia and s/v Blew moon the day was saved and the runaway ‘Cat’ was secured to a new mooring. No harm no foul!
Road Trip! We saw this poster on a bus promoting a surfing competition in a town across the river called Canoa. So we jumped on a Ferry, well, actually a Panga for the ride across the river to San Vincente. If you don’t know what a Panga is shoot us off an email and we’ll explain. From there it was a 15 minute bus ride to Canoa, a cool little surf town. The contenders and competitors ‘packed’ the beach. By California standards the beach was empty. A picture of the Ferry landing follows on the next page.
One of the competitors in the competition. We’re not surfers, but they looked pretty good to us.
Ahh, checkout all the spectators! Just kidding, there were actually a relatively large group of people down the beach a bit farther. We just thought this was a cool picture. Again, the lighting with the marine layer was awesome! We met people from all over during the day including, Germany, Australia, and the USA. We ran into a few of them later on at Coco Bongo, a local Hostal, where backpackers, cruisers, and locals hangout. For more info see www.hostalcocobongo.com.
Don’t overlook Ecuador as a vacation spot. From here you can easily visit active volacanos, rain forests, and the Andes.
After ~6 weeks at Puerto Amistad we opted for a little change of scenery and motored 2 miles up river to Siananda. The property, also a B&B, is owned by Alfredo. Alfredo just recently installed additional moorings and is looking forward to hosting additional cruising boats as the the season progresses. For now only one other boat, s/v Revenir, is moored here. This photo shows the grounds as viewed from our boat with the main house on the right and guest house on the left. It’s a short 10 minute bus ride into town with a cost of 18 cents. Email us if you have questions about Saiananda.
s/v Terra Firma and s/v Revenir moored at Saiananda.
Oh, did I mention that Alfredo raises Peacocks, Parrots and so much more. This white peacock, one of two, is especially unique. Watching these guys do they’re mating dance was pretty cool.
Our view from the boat at Saiananda. Every morning these local fisherman in their caucas (canoes) would paddle past the boat throwing their nets in the hopes of a few fish. It seem like a tough profession. The waters have been over fished and it seems a struggle to make it, but it sure makes for good pictures. We found these people to be kind and friendly. One afternoon while returning to the boat we were approached by a fisherman in a frenzy. Apparently his cauca had broken loose on the incoming tide and had drifted a few miles up river. Once again, rescue dinghy at work. Pat and his new friend, Jimmy, chased down the cauca and towed the runaway back home. The following day, Jimmy, stopped by with a nice fish as a gift.
As promised, a picture of the Ferry Landing with the city of Bahia de Caraquez in the background. We didn’t have a good place to stick this picture, but we liked it so we just stuck it here at the end.
Don’t miss Ecuador! You’ll love the people and the country.
On January 21 we leave the boat for a 3 month adventure (planes/trains/buses) to Chile, Argentina, Uraguay, Brazil, and maybe others. We’ll hopefully keep you posted with a new update monthly.
We love hearing from you so send an email when you can!
Pat and Carrie