The 5-day passage from Panama to Ecuador was wonderful. The winds were light but steady and the spinnaker was out frequently. We became shellbacks along the way when we crossed the equator.
Casey Jones, our Hydrovane wind-steering autopilot, took the helm for a large portion of the 5-day passage. You can see his red steering vane as Terra Firma sails through a large area of krill.
The passage was incredible. The winds were light, but more often than not, favorable. We flew the spinnaker often and enjoyed the easy sailing and tranquil ocean. The days melted together in a pleasantly soothing sort of way.
We were lucky to have the company of Finnesterre all the way from the Perlas Islands to Ecuador. They are very experienced sailors and we learned a lot about passage planning from them.
You can’t cross the equator on an empty stomach! Carrie prepares to dig into a special equator dinner of steak with onions in a balsamic reduction, sauteed vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes. Yumm!
We prepared for the crossing of the equator and our initiation into the legion of shellbacks a couple miles north of the equator. The chilled champagne, kiddie fireworks and 3 wine glasses were set out.
We crossed the equator at 0643Z or 0043 local time.
Time to crack open the champagne and toast Neptune! We gave him a very full glass in gratitude for his kindness on this passage. We also shared champagne with Casey Jones and Chuck, our two autopilots.
We spent one night at a roadstead anchorage named Cabo Pasado with Finnesterre so we could visit with them and share a meal before we parted ways. The next morning we set the sails for the final leg of the passage but soon had to roll ’em up and fire up the iron genny due to light winds.
Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador was finally in sight. We waited for high tide with Plan B to cross the very shallow bar with the aid of a pilot. This crossing was nothing like the crossing at Bahia del Sol in El Salvador. The hair on our necks stayed seated for this performance!
The pilot boat sported a little boy at the bow. He was happy when we passed some candy (and a couple of beers for the adults) to them.
Terra Firma safely on her mooring at Puerto Amistad in Bahia de Caraquez.
Back on land! We hopped in a ‘Green Taxi’ a.k.a. a pedi-cab and started to explore Bahia de Caraquez.
The town was very quaint and had a safe feel to it. There were far fewer men with machine guns at the entrances to places of business than in places we had already visited. People were comfortable leaving their doors and windows opened and unbarred.
We quickly made friends with an Australian woman who visited Ecuador and never left. She loved it so much she bought a hostel and set up shop! Check out her website www.cocobongohostal.com.
C’mon Junior. We’re done working on the boat for the day. Time to go home.
Watch my form and do the same. Try to not embarrass me.
But Dad, all the other kids get to ride home in a panga!
Junior!!!! You call that a dive?!