Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Leaving Mainland Ecuador

As our days in mainland Ecuador come to an end, I feel both sad and excited: sad to leave Bahia de Caraquez where we’ve been living for the past three months and excited to be sailing again back at sea amongst clean water, dolphins and turtles.

When we arrived in early September almost three months ago, we were ready to kick our heels deep in the sand, escape the rain and lightning that faced us north of the Equator, hone in on our Spanish and become part of the community. Bahia (when you say it in Spanish, don’t pronounce the “h”) was a perfect place to accomplish these goals.

We settled in quickly with a routine for life on land. Maya and Kai attended a local school for one month, we joined the tennis club, and found our favorite lunch places as the 2:00 pm almuerzo/lunch is the most important meal of the day. Most places charge $2.50 for soup, fish and rice and sometimes even a dessert.

Puerto Amistad, the place where we dock our dinghy and take showers, lives up to its name as being a port of friendship. It is here at Puerto Amistad where we recently had Thanksgiving with more than 120 people (we brought Mayflower boats that we made from pineapples)

It is where we celebrated Maya’s 10th birthday with classic games of the egg toss, water balloon toss, limbo and more.

Here at Puerto Amistad, everyone worked together to complete a 2000 piece puzzle. It is here, where we connect to the Internet, have Spanish lessons, eat our shrimp crepes and hamburgers, drink hot chocolate and Pilsener beer, chat with locals and sailors and where Maya and Kai and their buddies Thomas and Patrick from the boat Victoria play for hours on end.

Now it’s time to clean all the dirt off of Kamaya, raise our anchor, sail out of the Rio Chone and back into the Pacific. We're headed back to Panama, then to the states for the holidays and then on to the Galapagos. “Good-bye Bahia” or “so long” as we hope someday to return.

It’s time to say good-bye to our hundred year old friend, Miguelito. We loved feeding you bananas, giving you water that you inhaled through your nostrils and climbing on top of your huge shell. You are historic and amazing!

Thank you to Pierre and Kim from Victoria for paving the path for us here in Bahia -- we look forward to sailing west with you and hitting more backhands and volleys on tennis courts somewhere in the near future. Gracias to lovely Margarita for starting my Monday and Wednesday mornings with sun salutations and controlled breathing. Bruce, Olenca and Anita, we hope to see you out on the high seas someday -- keep up the good spelling Anita as next year you can win the Spelling Bee. Montserrat - you have created an impressive Montessori preschool school, one which will teach the younger generation to respect our planet.

Maye and Trip, thank you for creating a happy home for us at Puerto Amistad. Carlos, keep up your sense of humor and thank you for finding our anchored buried in the muddy river. Isabel and Guillermo from the boat TinTin, we hope you had a wonderful trip to Peru and hopefully we can continue our Spanish/English language exchange in the Galapagos. Henry, Ana and Brianna, we hope your new life in Canoa continues to satisfy you with stunning sunsets and warm friends. Alfredo from Sainanda, we wish you success in curing the monkey who electrocuted himself. We really enjoyed roaming your grounds, watching your peacocks display their feathers, talking and dancing with your parrots and marveling at the sleepy sloths sitting at your dining room table. I’m sorry the government didn’t decide to build a draw bridge so that sailors can live in your peaceful abode.

We’ll miss the tricyclists who peddle us around town. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the tennis club, where Maya earns the prize for most improved.

So long to all the merchants in the Mercado selling bananas, tasty pineapples, mangos and granadillas. The fish market took me a few weeks to brave the entrance, but once inside, I was continually amazed by the variety of fish. It seemed like every time I ventured into the market, I saw something new. Once there was even a manta ray on the table.

Thank you Bahia for being a happy home for us. We’ll miss you!

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