Posts Tagged ‘Volcano’

Been Awhile

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Been here awhile. Two weeks. Tried to have a boat sewing project completed by a local. No good.  Couldn’t find anyone in either of the shops that we could talk to. Oh, there were some commercial machines visible through the windows but no one was ever around. So, we decided to do it ourselves. Thankfully we did purchase a Sailrite machine prior to cruising. That machine has come in handy on three separate occasions and we even used it prior to our cruise.  We had serious need of it in Cartegena, the San Blas,  and now the Galapagos.

After we arrived and had slept away the better part of a day or so, Pablo visited the boat and offered us a tour of the island for 40 bucks per person. Tony on sv Cetacea had been offered a similar tour for $65 dollars so we felt pretty good. But one never knows what is included and what not. I thought the ferry ride was included from the boat and back. NOT.  We actually found two other cruisers that had indicated an interest so the four of us Steve, Kim (sv North Star), W/ and I were on the ferry at 8 ish heading to town for our 4 person tour.

A Face only a Mom Could Love

A Face only a Mom Could Love

The tour was well worth the $49 bucks each we paid, including transportation and tip.  We stopped first at the Turtle sanctuary where they are attempting to restock the land tortoise supply of the island. At one time there were about 100,000 tortoises living on the island and past residents (people and animals) had dwindled that supply down to now about 3,000.  So

Baby Tortoise Numbers, Galapagos

Baby Tortoise Numbers, Galapagos

the scientists and their helpers dig up every nest they find and incubate the eggs, care for the young till they reach about 5-10 years of age and then release them into their natural habitation hoping to restore the existing stock.  Each turtle gets numbered, the younger ones with paint and the older ones with permanent etchings in their shells.  They; the turtles, are rather ugly, immense, noisy creatures chewing on the plants with nairy a thought about etiquette. Their mouths are reminiscent of the age of dinosaurs and they walk short distances then; BANG, down they go. Obviously resting. But as they do plop down one hears the sound of 250 lbs being dropped from 10 cm’s. There just is no grace in their movements. Anyway, none to our eyes.

Caldara Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Caldara Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

From there we traveled to the site of a volcano caldera that has filled with fresh water. On some days the Frigate birds will fly up there and clean their wings. The Volcano fills during the rainy season and has no egress from the walls. Only water removed by the Ecuadorians or nature is effecting the lake level. Why it is not like the great salt lakes I can only guess is that it is rather young; that is, in geological time. We hiked up without our guide he most likely feeling a needed siesta coming up and I walked down to the water level while W/ Kim and Steve hung out on the edge.

Front Steps to the Tree House

Front Steps to the Tree House

Upon descending we drove to one of the coolest tree houses I’ve ever seen. As children we played at a friends tree house and even I believe slept there one night, but compared to the tree house of our childhood, this was 5 star. Cooking, refrigerator, loft with bunks, easy chairs, couch, hammock and a good breeze. It was all yours for the sum of $20/ person per night.  In the bottom

Damn Big Tree

Damn Big Tree

of the tree house was a man cave. There again was a fridge, TV, and cot.  It also was cool. All of us marveled at the size of this tree not even coming close to circling it with all outstretched arms. We then viewed the accouterments of the Alboral Casa while savoring a Magnum Ice Cream bar.  My excuse; lunch was an hour or so away.

Next we stopped at ruins of an old restaurant but here there was a view of the Ecuador side of the Pacific and a view on the leeward side where were anchored off the harbor.  On to the South Beach we went; la Lobaria but we didn’t go to watch the Sea Lions, we went to see the Marine Iguanas. Here, as no where else in the world the iguanas swim out off the rocks and dive to the bottom feeding on the algae.  Obviously we didn’t get in the water and record this event; although Steve sincerely wanted (wants) to, but we followed a few around Sunning themselves and after tiring of them we piled back

Ok! Who will blink?

Ok! Who will blink?

into the taxi truck with our Guide and drove back to town for our traditional Ecuadorian lunch.

While it may be traditional it is not really for me. A soup with what ever the restaurant seems to have left over that day, a piece of grilled fish. some starch something and juice. While one would not starve to death consuming the plate of calories one would never describe the meal as a gastriointestinal delight. Survive yes; enjoy – not I.

There in we returned to the boat for an evening of rest. The following day found the 4 of us heading to the  Interpretation  Center  a short walk outside of town where we picked up a good dose of Galapagos history. Seems to have began after Darwin fell upon this magic kingdom and there in various nations and people put their hard labor into creating and selling it as a paradise. They exploited the land, the sea, and each other; all ending in what seemed to be often tragic deaths. These islands have difficulty supporting people with any variety of food sources. The islands are dry 8 months of the year and being of new volcanic origins they have very little fertile soil. They’ve imported Goats; not much meat there, and the goats ate a lot of vegetation that the turtles feed on adding to the declining turtle population. They’ve harvested Sea Lion pelts and I’m sure ate and sold Sea Lion meat as well as Turtle meat. As those populations dwindled and as the world began to see this ecological area as most unique in our floating spaceship the Ecuadorians  finally discovered the best way to exploit these islands. Tourism.

The Grotto

The Grotto

After our visit to the Interpretation Center  we hiked some of the trails and found a great vista of the Western side of the island where Steve and Kim began their Frigate bird hunt; but with a camera. Kim wanted badly to capture a picture of the male Frigate in full mating style with his blown up red crop that they wandered the trails on the cliff  edge for nigh on another hour while W/ and I descended to the gorge where others were swimming with the Sea Lions. Unfortunately we didn’t bring any  snorkel /swim gear but promised ourselves we would tomorrow.

The following day we  four gathered at the dock carrying bags of gear and snacks. I had expected to pick up water at the store on the beach on our way; my only snack I would carry. This should have been my fist clue that the day would not go as planned. It was closed. Kim indicated she would share her water as needed so we trudged on. We walked the trail to the gorge and over the rise our four faces showed disappointment. A young couple was sitting on the rock entrance chowing down some lunch watching the waves come crashing in. Young and bold they were, they told us they had gone in earlier and the water was so cloudy that the Sea Lions were not even interested in them and really, they couldn’t see anything. For once we chose to listen to the voice of experience and walked away. But not to be disappointed entirely my first order of business was to find a delectable snack; I was looking for the Magnum bars I love. Again wiser minds put me in my place saying that I need to find some “real” food first and then I could indulge in my ice cream fix.  So it was Ceviche followed by the Magnum bar.

ps  They don’t have any Klondike Bars here. 🙁

pps  After the couple of days being a tourist and not finding a place to sew our sail, Bolivar (our agent) not connecting us with anyone to sew our sail, we decided to repair it on our own. We spent one am pulling it down and roughly folding it on the boat. What a PITA!  It is amazing how big things are on the boat when you take them down and begin working on a  500 square foot sail in a 25 square foot cockpit.  We hauled it back to the cockpit where it sat out one day and the next while we arranged our

Stitchin the Yankee Sail

Stitchin the Yankee Sail

supplies from inside the boat. We discussed where to stitch it, what we would need. How much, do I need to cut some Sunbrella with the hot knife, etc?  In the end we had the inside of the boat a mess but we didn’t need to do much cutting of the Sunbrella and we discovered all we really need to do a lot is a lot of sewing. We sat the machine on the cockpit  seat and W/ helped me drag the sail so I could run the new stitching. I used the Tenear thread even though it is really, REALLY, expensive. I don’t like having to do things a second time especially when  I could have done it right the first time. We were lucky that day. I figured it would be at least a 2 day job as we had been getting some drizzle in the pm. But here Neptune and his relative Mother Nature decided to let us be. Twas a long day with lots of 40′ runs of stitching varying between straight and zig-zag. We tried to not go over a lot of the old stitching exactly as I didn’t want to weaken the sail at all and this sail is one of our work horses. By 3 pm we were finished and now it was time to put it all away. At 4 pm we were on the VHF calling other cruising friends looking for company for dinner. No way W/ was cooking as we had basically worked straight through.

Tony chose to join us and therein we talked him into a brief visit the following day to aid in hoisting the Yankee back up, send me up the mast to check out the rig there, clean the VHF antenna connection and hopefully assist W/ in retrieving me from the lonely heights. Paid in Oreo’s and beer Tony was a happy man.  He hauled my slightly overweight behind up the mast with a 28 volt angle drill and a wench bit. W/ tailed. And going up was much like traveling in an elevator.  W/ now thinks she needs to add one of those drills to our list of boat stuff as she’s been the one to hand crank my  hulk up 60′ above the water. She’s sold. And on and on it goes. We check stuff off the list, add stuff to the list. Check off places we’ve been and things we’ve seen and add some more to it. Now I’m wanting to see the Blue Footed and Red Footed Booby Birds. Next week, maybe.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Cartag YEAH na!

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Well we’ve been here over a week now. Settling in. We’re having “Elvis” paint the engine. We’ve walked the walled city. We’ve eaten at several restaurants, we have a scheduled for a Dermatologist and we went swimming in a Volcano.

Well not really swimming. More like floating. Jeri on Peking organized a tour to the Volcano, $30 US / person and we signed up. We traveled in a new minivan (for me mini isn’t all it’s cracked up to be) and had Alex as an English speaking tour guide. We meandered through the city a bit with Alex telling us of various neighborhoods and how the growth has occurred and tidbits  of the history of Colombia; political as well as long past.

We went through a toll booth and even passed the first speed trap I’ve seen since in the US.  Just as in the US, autos coming the other direction flashed their lights as a warning.  Things that work just seem to be universal. We turned off the highway and went up a road to the mud volcano. The road had just recently been paved and wasn’t yet finished. There we passed some small Tiendas and received instructions on the experience.

Mud Volcano, Colombia

Mud Volcano, Colombia

Most of us had worn a bathing suit under but those that didn’t went to change. We left our shoes at the bottom and climbed the stairs to the top making sure to hang on to the hand rail as the steps

Mud & Me

Mud & Me

were covered in the mud from people descending. Any moisture on the steps and they too were a bit slippery. At the top we watched as people entered the mud backwards and one of the massagers (people working in the bath’s for tips) laid you on your back and then slowly covered you with “MUD”. It wasn’t an unpleasant experience. The mud was slick and barely warm; most definitely not cold. Once covered from head to toe he massaged the legs, torso, face and arms (all in a couple of minutes – not nearly long enough) then he gently pushed you as you floated to another who rolled you over and massaged the back side. You could hang on to a wooden lattice work on the sides to keep your face out of the water. After a few more minutes you were rolled back over and he pushed your feet under you so you could hang upright in the mud.

Hang is the best word to describe it. The mud had so much material that you floated about chest high. Just for fun I slowly tried to dunk W/ (she was aware of it) and I couldn’t get her shoulders below the surface. I kept rising out of the mud.  One group of the tour, Fay, commented that she couldn’t seem to find the bottom!  We all laughed at that as we had understood the bottom was over a 1,000 ft deep!  All of us floated in the mud for about 30 minutes; slowly moving around, sometimes our body getting out of a vertical plane and then our feet would come floating to the surface. The best way to get upright was to have some assistance in pushing your legs back under you or balling up, and rotating slightly and getting your legs under you; then projecting them back down.

As we began to exit we paused at the ledge and scraped the gobs of mud off of us and back into the Volcano. Of course as legend goes the bath is good for “curing” any skin issues you might have as well as removing years of age.  Now I know I look 40 again!

After being washed off by another in the fresh water lake we cooled off with some local drink and food. We tried their equivalent of the Egg McMuffin; without the Muffin, ( I wasn’t fond of this) and I had up a fruit salad which was IMHO; excellent (cost approx $2.25).

We boarded the bus and went back through a small community that excelled in making cast nets

Good Luck!  Dark are is all fingerlings.

Good Luck! Dark are is all fingerlings.

and fishing. Megan and Becca (another two on the tour) tried their hand at throwing the net but they would have been on an extended diet if this would have been their life’s work as they both came up empty handed. This is one place the lake exits to the sea over a small dam and the fingerlings were so abundant here they literally  turned the water black. The dark area in the photo is a mass of fingerlings. The larger fish come to feed on the smaller with the Colombian’s hoping to feed on the lager fish!

Back at the boat we did what all good folk do at the end of a day’s work – we rested.

In the Walled City, Cartagena

In the Walled City, Cartagena

The walking tour was self guided and we had started with Jeri as our tour guide on Peking ( a beautiful Diesel Duck Motor Yacht).  She had bought a book All Cartagena De Indias (which ironically isn’t even available in the US) and there we followed Jeri like good

An Artist; He moves, he lives!

An Artist; He moves, he lives!

puppies as she led us through the “Walled City”.  Once upon a time Cartagena  had been referred to as the Stone Playground. Even though this was  a tour we spent more time simply gawking as we walked through the city. We tasted some of the local “sweet” fare that people were selling outside the courtyard, we toured the “Gold Museum”, we found a restaurant  that had mostly locals eating in and thus we figured it would be good and reasonable!  It was both.  We ended another day totally exhausted and ready to count sheep.

I seem to just stack too much life into too small a space. Two big events in one week!  What’s happening?  In between the tours we had contracted with a local mechanic (Elvis) to paint the engine. All day Elvis and Alfonso labored to clean the oil off the engine, sand lightly any

New Engine? Not!

New Engine? Not!

rust ( I wish they would have just used Ospho), primed the engine and then paint it. In the states they would have been hung by some branch of our government.  Elvis had a small low pressure paint sprayer that he  had cut a hose off of the pressure end. Then he and Alfonso would exhale into the pressure end and “spray” the engine.  Better them than me!  They were able to complete this job in one day for  350,000 mills (about $220).  What he said he couldn’t do was the bottom of the engine. Oh well. I know W/ and I can.

We borrowed some Ospho from Passport, and then set about to paint the bottom. I first wiped off any oil, then wiped with mineral spirits, then put the Ospho on any rust areas. Two days later I rolled and brushed paint on all the ares they didn’t hit. I had run out of the small amount of paint that Elvis had left so I had to buy some more from him. Oh well. At least now the engine looks “pretty”.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long