Thursday, July 23, 2009

In Manta

Having spent up to Tuesday waiting for custons and immigration clearance, we did not have a chance to see much of Ecuador. We took care of the few problems on the boat (fixing the Windvane, clearing the shaft that was wrapped in a fishing net, trying to fix the steaming light that I dropped on deck and broke) and walked around a little in Manta.
Wednesday morning, free at last, we rented a car and went to Bahia Caraquez where we were told that most sailboats would be. Ge got lost a few times on the way but finally made it and stopped at a marina called "Puerto Amistad Yacht Club".
If ever you go by boat to Ecuador, this is the place where you want to make your entry. Do not, repeat do not go to Esmeralda, where crime is high and where entry formalities might cost you as much as a thousand dollars.
In Puerto Amistad, you will not be alongside, you will have to take a mooring, but you will get much better facilities, and much better suited to sailboats than in Manta. You will also save a bundle of money on entry formalities and on fuel. The web site for this marina is ""
The owner is american and speaks fluent spanish as well of course as english. Might help those like me whose fluent spanish is still a dream to come true.
Other than that, the drive to Bahia reminded me of driving in some other countries like Uganda or Haiti, where you keep looking for the one stretch of road, right or left, that has some tarmac on it. Also, there are a great number of steep speed bumps, unmarked, and it is easy to see them too late and have to step on the brakes real hard.
We rode through a variety of sceneries, either dirty and dusty desert, or plains in the valley with various kinds of crops being cultivated.
Back in Manta, we did part of the final provisionning (veggies and fruits will be done last). I still have to recover my mail and the hard drive that were shipped to me from the US, and also try and get the "Zarpe" (outgoing clearance), promised to me for two hours ago.
I had time to upload some of the photos taken so far, but I won't have time to place them on the blog. You will have to go and look at the photo album.

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