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Archive for the ‘Ecuador’ Category:

Galapagos

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

GalapagosIt took us roughly 5 days to get from La Libertad, on the mainland of Ecuador, to Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz of the Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos are a part of Ecuador but we still had to check in and out of the country in between because we sailed through international waters. We ended up motoring all the way except for a few hours because there was no wind. Generally there is no wind around the equator, the area known as the doldrums. On the way to the Marquesas, our next stop in French Polynesia, we will have to sail south to 10 degrees to catch some wind.

The crew for voyage worked out well. Brad, who I met a week before, the other Internet pick-up crew member, is about my age and originally from Indiana. He spent the last six months or so teaching English literature at a school in Guayaquil. We all get along fine and do an equal share of the cooking and the dishes. Watches are 3 hours on and 6 hours off and since that amount, multiplied by 3, is not divisible by 24, means we each get different hours on different days, which I like because it means I get a change of scenery. Unfortunately, we only had two fish bites (dorados) the whole way. The first one got away while Brad was trying to get at it with the gaff. The second one broke off before we even had a chance to snag it. I’m hoping we’ll have more luck the rest of the way; the rice, pasta and canned tuna is already getting tired.

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Counterfeit Twenty

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Twenty Dollar BillSomewhere along the line I picked up a counterfeit twenty dollar bill. I didn’t know it was dubious until I tried to spend it at a restaurant in La Libertad. The waiter asked me if I had another bill, he said the one I gave him was bad. I protested, a little offended. It’s not like I counterfeited the bill and regardless of its authenticity, the restaurant could just pass it off to the next unsuspecting customer and so the bill would circulate like a hot potato.

The waiter took me to the cash register and showed me what it looked like under a black light. There were several creases that had worn away to white from wear, the white creases shining under the black light. I had noticed the bill was worn before I tried to spend it but I thought it was just because I had put it in my shoe for safe-keeping on one bus ride. I finally agreed the bill was fake and I borrowed money from my captain for the bill, figuring I’d spend the twenty at some less vigilent establishment, even if I have to wait till I get back to the States–they never check there.

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Marlin

Friday, March 13th, 2009

marlinAfter Quito I took a night bus to Guayaquil and then another to La Libertad. I didn’t bother checking out Guayaquil because I’ve grown tired of the big cities. If I have time before we leave, I might check out some of the smaller towns on the coast. Once in La Libertad I phoned my new captain to tell him I was getting in a taxi to the marina. He said he’d meet me at the gate in 10 minutes. At the gate I met Tom, face-to-face, for the first time. He hopped in the cab and the driver took us the rest of the way, through the marina, to Tom’s boat, Marlin.

Marlin was drydocked and had been for the last 6 months at Puerto Lucia while Tom had to go back to working as a chef in the Caymen Islands. I liked Tom immediately. He’s responsible, hard working, fun and easy-going. When I arrived, He had been working on installing a new auto-pilot and an electric windlass (that’s the thing that hauls the anchor up, thank God). After some small talk, he continued working on the boat and I slept, having gotten poor sleep on the bus ride.

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Ecuador

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

QuitoFrom Bogota, I took a bus to Cali (not -fornia). I arrived late at night and didn’t have an address for the hostel. I had a taxi driver take me to another hotel and I used their Internet to locate the hostel. It was like saying, “I’m not going to stay here, but can I use your Internet to locate another hotel?” I spent two and a half days in Cali. It was okay, I hung out at the hostel mostly, laying low and trying to save money, especially because I can’t get any more until I get my bank cards. The hostel was kind of empty anyways but there was one guy who rode his bike from the US to Costa Rica until he hurt his leg.

I left Cali at 9pm to go to Ipiales, the border town before Ecuador. I managed to sleep most of the ride except when I was woken by a police officer in Popayan who wanted to search my bag and check my passport. He did and I went back to sleep. We arrived at Ipiales early morning where Felipe, an Argentine I met on the bus, and I took a cab to the border. We checked out of Colombia and into Ecuador. Then took another cab to Tulcan, where we hopped on another bus to Quito. This leg took 5 hours and we passed the equator without much notice. My first time in the Southern Hemisphere.

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