Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ecuador by Plane

First stop - Guayaquil - by Christina 

In February we left Mexico for Ecuador. We flew out of Manzanillo/Barra de Navidad first to Mexico City, changed planes and flew on to Bogota, Colombia, changed planes again and finally arrived the next morning in Guayaquil, Ecuador. It was a long trip, but not as long as it would have been by boat.  

Since arriving, we have visited Guayaquil, Quenca, Uzhupud (near Gualeceo), Guayaquil again, Salinas, Ballenita, and finally Bahia de Caraquez. Blog posts with pictures from these cities will be coming soon.  

We spent our first two nights in Guayaquil and have to say we were pleasantly surprised. About 10 years ago the city created a malecon/park along their riverfront. There are play areas for kids and a nice long path for the people of Guayaquil to walk, with restaurants, coffee shops, and stores mixed in along the way. There is an IMAX theater at one end playing the new Lord of the Rings movie. The malecon has a considerable security force. Any time Kyle did anything slightly deviant, for example, lean out over the malecon railing, a security man or woman would come over and politely let us know that he was doing something unacceptable. Luckily it was ok for Kyle to play on the cannons - which he was pleased to find at each end of the malecon. 

Ken and Kyle along the malecon

$1.00 for 6 minutes of fun. 

A Green Machine - like Seamus'!

Bouncing on the teeter-totter

In the Las Penas neighborhood

On the malecon with Las Penas in the background

Art for sale - Las Penas - if only we had room in our luggage...
Loading the cannons

Aiming the cannon

Schools are closed for "Winter Vacation" along the coast of Ecuador. February, March and April are their vacation months. Locals have told us that February and March are the hottest months along the coast, but it isn't as bad as we feared. The temperatures have been more comfortable than or perhaps as comfortable as November in Puerto Vallarta/La Cruz. The ocean currents apparently keep Ecuador fairly temperate.  

Sunday, February 3, 2013

From Tenacatita

written by Christina 

We spent another couple nights in Tenacatita a week ago (Jan 22nd to Jan 26th) before taking Sea Biscuit to Barra de Navidad last Saturday (Jan 26th). Below are some pictures from the bow of Sea Biscuit taken by Ken and Kyle one evening. 

Highpoints of our visit: 
  • We saw whales in the anchorage a number of times - Yay!  

Whale siting 

  • We enjoyed swimming around the boat
  • Swimming to shore
  • Walks on the beach and beach volleyball
  • Kyle enjoyed exploring the area he calls “Secret Beach” and built castles with flags and extensive walls. 
We also enjoyed our second Mayor's Dinghy raft-up. Every Friday from about January through March "the Mayor," Robert Gleser from Harmony-Alameda, hosts a dinghy raftup close to Good Dog Beach. Each boat brings an appetizer. As we introduced ourselves to the other folks many of them said, "We know Kyle from the Net this morning." Kyle was the Net Controller that morning for the Tenacatita wrap-up of the controlled VHF net that happens at 9AM, every Monday through Saturday along the Cost Alegre. Everyone thought he did an excellent job (not that I'm biased, of course). He wants to do the full Costa Alegre Net now.  The Tenacatita wrap-up wasn't the full deal, but it was a good warmup. If you are curious about what "the net" is, one blog has a nice write-up and another has the script for download. 

Robert started out with conch music and Kyle sang his favorite section of the Mexican National Anthem, then Robert made a little speech and asked the people on each dinghy to introduce themselves and tell a story. This time it was, "Tell a story of one of your most hair raising sailing adventures."  There were some good stories told that evening.     

Robert, the Mayor of  the Western Tenacatita Bay Anchorage

At the Mayor's Dinghy Raft up on Friday evenings
Delivering his speech
And before I sign off, a quick note - the trip up the estuary to the lagoon and over to the Aquarium area that is supposed to be quite nice is no longer in existence. Where the "Aquarium" is, there are no longer armed guards on the beach, but it's not possible to get to the lagoon and access the Aquarium area by going up the estuary by dinghy. The channel has been bulldozed and is overgrown with mangrove trees. From what I can find on the web, the property dispute over the lagoon has been settled in the courts in favor of the developer, it appears that it may never return to its earlier state -  instead it may someday become a mega hotel complex. I hope not. Maybe others have made it further up the estuary/river, but it sure seemed like a dead end to us. 

The end of the estuary
For a simple estuary nature trip to see crabs, nesting pelicans, and other birds, the dinghy trip can be nice, but it won't get you to a lagoon. 

Overgrown mangroves