Posted by: catamarantwooceans | March 31, 2017

Back in Ecuador

22.3.17 – Wednesday – I spent a great week with my daughter’s family in California. The bonding with the children was especially satisfying and important and we had a lot of fun together.

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A side benefit of that visit was the chance to purchase some things that I needed which were not available in Panama or Ecuador. One of those was a replacement controller for my freezer, another a Delorme Inreach Explorer, which will replace the Epirb I had difficulty in finding a battery for. The Inreach has an SOS feature which when activated alerts the GEOS company who would pass the information to the SAR (Search and Rescue) organization. It allows people you authorize to follow your progress on a map and send free short messages using the Iridium network. I also had the intermediate stay I took with me cut to the right size and swaged.

It was time to leave. I flew via Miami to Guayaquil getting there close to ten p.m, waited anxiously for half an hour until my bags showed up and took a taxi to a three stars hotel; trying to save money I get to know some funny hotels but all I needed was a bed for the night so I am not complaining.

23.3.17 – Thursday – At 0815 I approached the ticket office of La Reina del Camino bus company in the huge bus terminal. “What time is the bus to Bahia?” “Eight o’clock” was the answer. I showed the man my watch (0817) but he shrugged and said, pointing at a man near the window:”This is the driver”. There is some good in disorder; it seemed as if they just waited for me to go! Five hours later I disembarked and took a taxy to the marina. Ariosto took me to “Two Oceans” which I found covered on the outside by a fine layer of dust. Inside I had a surprise seeing that the house battery voltage was quite low. In the past the solar panels kept the voltage at a high level. With the new large solar panel I was briefed by Thorsten, who installed the panel and its controller, to disconnect a wire, which I thought would only take out the big panel; it seems that it stopped all the solar charge. I’ll have to check that.

Around four p.m, on my way to the supermarket to get some things that would keep me alive for the next few days, I met Ariosto; “Do you know anybody who is good with refrigeration?” Of course he does and immediately called a man named Gustavo, who said he’ll come by in half an hour. The man came with a helper, Arturo, hauling a toolbox. He replaced the freezer controller and asked for 20$ for the job.

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               Gustavo – the refrigeration man

His phone number is – +593(0)9592677448.

Resumed my supermarket quest and although my intention was to buy “just a few things” I found myself with a full backpack a two cumbersome plastic bags. Not so comfortable to walk all the way to the marina, so I hailed one of those man powered tricycles which was passing by and reached the marina in minutes. I asked the guy how many hours a day he was on the job and the answer was six to eight; he must have very strong leg muscles.

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23-27.3.17 – Friday to Monday – Rain in the morning, I rigged the water catching canvas and got some water before the rain stopped. Cleaned boat, did some shopping and a few jobs on the boat. Made veg curry for dinner – too hot as I used half a habanero pepper. Yogurt killed the flames. Sunday morning when I started the starboard engine for charging the amperage dropped down from the initial 60 amps to 22; something’s wrong! Got to call the maestro! More boat jobs: I painted the dinghy’s oars, found and repaired the puncture that made the dinghy lose air etc.          

I met the marina’s  owner, Gene Tatum and as we started talking I learned that we had something in common. Gene was in the U.S Air-Force, retiring as a colonel.

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I reactivated my Mailasail account which will enable me to send e-mails, get weather and make entries in their blog service using the Iridium sat-phone while offshore. Our position would be shown there on Google Earth and everyone who has it can see us by using this link: Normally the Mailasail program does an automatic configuring of your computer for the Iridium data communications; for some reason it did not work on my windows 10 laptop and after a lot of back and forth e-mails I succeeded in configuring it manually.

On Monday I called maestro Walter, who came to the boat and found out that the alternator pulley was slipping and needed to be replaced.                                     Most of the boats here follow the trend of people sailing bigger and bigger boats; there is a Beneteau 55’ sailing in company with a Leopard 46’. Another forty sixer is a Dolphin catamaran. The smallest boat here is a Prout Snowgoose 37, “Explorer”, hailing from Norway, with Mom, Dad and three kids – 7, 11 and twelve years old. Morten and Nelly’s plan is to finish a round the world voyage in two years, very fast by any standard. They are also going via Easter, Pitcairn and Gambier but then they would sail straight to Tahiti.

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Before coming here they searched the web and found my blog describing Puerto Amistad; that was nice to hear.

28.3.17 – Tuesday – I finally replaced the intermediate stay which was repaired during my visit to the U.S. At first I thought of asking one of the cruisers to beam me up the mast in a bosun chair but then I thought I could climb the folding rungs on the mast to the crosstree, under which the stay is placed. First I opened the turnbuckle and made sure that the thread in the new stay was compatible; then I went up, tied the old stay to my belt and took it down. Brought the new one up in the same method, put it in place and retightened the turnbuckle. The whole thing took about half an hour.

Gustavo came to check the freezer which seemed to be working non-stop despite all the new parts installed; according to him the end of the thermostat wire should be lying at the bottom of the freezer to work correctly. That done – all I have to do is wait and see. I waited and understood that I need to find a better technician. Maybe in French Polynesia?

29.3.17 – Wednesday – “Explorer” went out early in the morning. The dolphin 46’  left later in the afternoon followed by the Leopard 46 and the 55 foot Beneteau.

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Frankly, I was a bit envious…

30.3.17 – Thursday – A grey and rainy morning started a bit of a lazy day. Reading, doing crossword puzzle, cooking, napping. The only productive act I did was changing oil and filter on the port engine. I did not even put the dinghy in the water or went ashore.

31.3.17 – I woke up with the absolute opposite attitude to that of yesterday. I washed the boat’s exterior, did the initial 20 hours maintenance jobs for the outboard – gear and motor oil change – and started shopping for the long trip ahead (9 pack of granola, 3 liters of olive oil, 12 cans of tuna etc.)

I finally succeeded in locating a place where I could replace the broken band of my favorite old Casio watch. After being sent from one side of town to the other a shop owner told me to look for “una caseta (small hut)” in front of the municipality. I found a small stall, with a few people passing  the time away around it. I stated my need and the stall owner opened a drawer, took out a band, which he had to reshape to fit my watch. He worked at it for about 20 minutes and handed it to me. “How much is it?” “Four dollars”. I find it difficult to get used to the local standards. How can this man make ends meet?

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I finished all the tasks on my list; now I’m just waiting for my crew to arrive on April 6th. Until then – Adios from Two Oceans in Bahia de Caraquez. 


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