Archive for June, 2007

On to Piura, Peru

Friday was another long bus ride; about half way thru the trip we crossed the border into Peru at Macará. The ride was thru interesting territory. Starting out from Loja, the road continued at the top of the world for several hours with unending mountain tops and blue sky on our left and a series of deep canyons falling off on our right. This was followed by a long winding downhill. The hills changed from green to brown as we dropped toward the desert. The border town of Macará is in a high desert; the most notable thing about it is that the airport is in the center of town, with the control tower on one side of the central plaza.

In Peru we continued down into the Desierto de Sechura, the northern Peruvian coastal desert. The bus dropped us off in Piura, Peru in the late afternoon. We got settled in a hotel – the Hotel Peru, $69 Soles per night (about $23 US) – before hunting for an ATM to get more Peruvian Soles and then ice cream and sandwitches.

Saturday we did some exploring of the city, checking out yet more churches before retiring to the central plaza to sit and read while we people-watched. The one museum that we wanted to see was “closed for remodeling”. Tomorrow we plan on heading to Chiclayo where we will first see interesting pre-Columbian ruins.

Loja, Ecuador

On Wednesday, June 27, we took the bus from Guayaquil all the way to Loja. The bus followed the coastal route to the city of Machala, there it turned inland. We spent the next 5 hours climbing into the Andes mountains. It was a wild ride as the bus driver seemed to be racing over the winding mountain roads; he would have done well in a Grand Prix race! For the last two hours of the trip we felt like we were riding at the “top ot the world”. After checking a number of very cheap and not-so-cheap hotels, we picked the Hostal San Luis, near Plaza Simon Bolivar, just $16 per night for a nice clean room, with hot water and cable TV.

Loja is a small city high in the mountains of Ecuador with several interesting churches and a very interesting city gate. It was much cooler there than it was at lower elevations and we even had light rain over much of our visit. On Thursday we followed the “tourist trail” thru the town stopping to enjoy coffee at one of the many small restaurants along the way. This small cafe had upstaris seating overlooking one of the many church plazas and we enjoyed several mokas while waiting for the rain to lessen. The trail passed thru the main plaza with it nearby cathedral. The cathedral has a golden altar that stands out in its ornateness against the more simple walls. We ended the walking tour on a street of older homes with wooden balconies overhanging the sidewalk.

Guayaquil, Ecuador

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

We finally got underway yesterday to begin our adventures in Peru. We left Bahia de Caraquez on the 9:30 AM bus on Monday and are now staying at our favorite inexpensive hotel in Guyaquil, Ecuador – the Hotel California. We pay $25 US for a room with air conditioning, hot water, cable TV and breakfast. Today was spent checking out more of the sites of this city. We walked the length of the main central street to the Malecon Salada along the Salt River, stopping to enjoy ice cream sundies at one of the many small eateries. Tomorrow we will head further south to Loja – still in Ecuador – for a few nights before continuing on to the border and into Peru.

Week of Birthdays and Problems

Sunday June 17, 2007

This was a week of Birthday parties. Last Saturday we celebrated Alinka’s Birthday with steak dinners at Muelle Uno. The steaks there are quite large and it is only $6 for the dinner. After dinner we returned to Puerto de Amistad for cake to finish up the celebration.

Then on Sunday, Tripp threw a big party to celebrate Maye’s 30th Birthday. The restaurant was decorated with lots of flowers and the serving tables were piled high with food. We all enjoyed several hours of drinks and visiting before the food was served; and after eating there was dancing. On Tuesday Bill turned 60, so we had a small celebration with cake during the cruiser’s happy hour. It was a bad day for Bill as his computer was giving him fits. The new Windows Vista operating system is full of hiccups and it was not until Thursday – after three days of struggle and 5 hours at the internet café – that he got things working again. Without easy linkups to the internet, the modern software has problems, as it seems to want you to have the computer constantly connected.

We also got several boat projects done this past week mostly due to failures. The Kubota generator is still not working well, and then the alternator gave up making electricity on Thursday morning. Many wires had come loose and we hoped that reattaching them would make the amps flow, but it was not to be. Bill installed the new voltage regulator that we had brought south with us and the amps again are flowing but the Kubota is just as cantankerous to start. I got the patch in the aft cabin filled (where the old stereo was removed) and smoothed and finally painted. You can almost not tell where we had the old stereo installed. In the midst of all the fixing, the toilet decided to “pack it in”. The repair was not difficult, but it did take Bill two tries (on two days) to get it working properly again.

Another project this past week was the installation of new cockpit speakers, another item brought south with us. We got one speaker installed only to discover that the (brand new!) speaker was defective. The second speaker worked fine. Since we already had one speaker in the cockpit we just left the old speaker up and only installed the good one of the new ones. At least we have stereo in the cockpit now! Once Bill’s computer was working again he took the time to hang the new EPIRB and then ripped more music for the iPod. All our music has now been transferred to his computer.

Today is Father’s Day and another day for a party at Puerto de Amistad.

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Alinka’s Birthday celebration

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Maye Celebrates her 30th Birthday

Return to Bahía de Caráquez

Because of a thunderstorm in Houston, our plane from Portland did not leave until late in the afternoon.  We therefore missed our connection to Guayaquil and spent the night and much of the next day at the Houston airport.  We did not arrive into Guayaquil until very early in the morning on Thursday May 24, but the receptionist at the desk of Hotel California was ready for us with a nice room.  We stayed in Guayaquil two days before returning to Bahía de Caráquez on the late morning bus.  Upon arrival in Bahía, Carlos helped us to get all our heavy bags out to Lanikai.  Bill and I got the boat opened up and returned to Puerto de Amistad for dinner.

The first week back was busy and somewhat exciting at times.  We got the bags unloaded in the first two days and Bill even got our stereo system set up to work with the iPod that we had brought south with us.  Then, Monday night we were awoken about midnight by the aft bilge alarm.  Finding no leaks in the aft bilge, Bill lifted the floor boards to the forward bilge to discover that it was full of salt water!  We spent the next 1 ½ hours pumping it dry and removing the items that we had stored there.  After it was dry, exploration showed that the sea strainer on the house salt water system was leaking.  We shut off the sea water inlet and returned to bed.  The next morning Bill filled 6 five gallon jug of fresh water for me.  I rinsed off the items removed from the bilge and the upper area of the bilge where the water had drained aft from the forward to the aft bilge.  In the process I discovered that the copper foil radio ground in that area needed replacing.  The sea strainer turned out to be broken and unrepairable so the two hose ends were just joined together.   With the bilge emptied out, I got new copper ground foil run and Bill replaced a broken valve on the house saltwater manifold.  The board that held the manifold was discovered to be delaminating so it was removed and epoxied back together and then protected with a coat of paint. 

Wednesday night when we attempted to go ashore the outboard would not run.  No showers that night and it took Bill three tries and three mornings, before he finally got the motor running ok.  The real problem was crud in the carburator, but there were also problems with the fuel pump.  We had just brought back a repair kit for the carburator, so all was well in the end.

The weather has been rainy the entire week that we have been back, which is very unusual for here and is blamed on a weak El Nino.   This has givien us lots of time below deck, which Bill has used to work on his computer, making additions to his FotoAlbum program.  I have already read two of the books we carried south with us.