And we keep working….


We are spending so much on food that we had to improvise and started a new career. Bright and early we are selling plastic wear in the street of Bahia, well that what it look like anyway. But the reality is that our restaurant connection came through and we found six 20 liter tanks and some baskets to organize the pantry. As for the milk well, we had to order it and it should be here Thursday, did the same for the butter as we are now on the first name basis with the management. This gives you a better idea of the size of Bahia and the stock at hand, we are talking 48 liters of milk here not a semi.

In the middle of all this we were able to produce one last batch of tomato sauce, get our glasses back; wow the world is clear again. One more doctor check with an all clear on all front, some more fuel. The propane bottles are refilled; we approached our vegetable ladies for a big order on Monday. Finally the washing machine is turning while we have water and Benjamin is finishing the final touch on his Grade 12 education. Just reading this back, it makes us tired.

We put everything in place to be able to keep the blog and our position updated during our next passage, read our daughter has all the passwords and got a crash course on the various site. But we never know so here is another way to look us up on Pangolin Pacific seafarer web site. Those reports are done verbally via ham radio, but again if no info transpires from us please do not get worried it could be something small, we like to say that we are dealing with organized black magic here. We have an emergency beacon linked to people, who will be able to take action in case of a real problem.



The date is set, the countdown is ticking……

With our visas’ dateline getting closer and closer our departure date was determined this morning. Also arriving just before Christmas sounds like a good idea if we want the Pere Noel to find us. So Tuesday 2nd of December at around noon, we shall cross the bar of Rio Chrome and head west; this will put us in the South Pacific in direction of the Marquesas. The zarpe has been requested from the authority, and the countdown is on.


And what do you do in the meantime, one may wonder.

Our life at the moment revolves around the supermarket, different hardware stores and the gas station. The latest is not supposed to sell more than 20 liter of fuel to foreigners at the local price, but Valerie’s charm works every time and a bit of networking on my side in the afternoon helped us buy 140 L at the incredible price of $42, that is 30 cents a litre average: Viva Ecuador! We will buy the same amount soon and will leave with 400 liters of diesel or 2000 kilometers worth, we are on our way for about 5700 just to give you an idea and 100 liter of regular or 3 months’ worth of consumption.

This is only for the machine; the humans on board also need fuel. So this morning we did our third run to the supermarket; we estimate it to be about 40 kilos worth of food back on board, our good old backpacks once again requisitioned helped by a Pedi-cab ride back, to home base. Do you remember that video game with blocks that you had to quickly insert to eliminate line? Well here is the 3D live version. All surplus packaging and cardboards need to be removed, and everything needs to be bagged separately to avoid any odor that could potentially generate bugs’ infestation. This is when we noticed that Ecuador has done a great job at eliminating cardboard and outside boxes. In Mexico, this amount of purchase would generate 5 bags of trash while we barely have any (then again it is more plastic…)

Now, some of you read hardware stores. Nothing big but our kitchen sink mixing tap decided to start leaking when we came back from our travels… No big deal you will say, buy a new one. Until you try to hook it up and discover that 3/8 is not the normed but ¼ is, though no adapters are available. So we got new ½ hook up and reduced it to 3/8, how simple.

Then the chase was on for some 20 liters recyclable cooking oil recipient, and with all the other boats in the anchorage ready to leave as well it resulted in a shortage in Bahia. Fortunately our Chinese connection came through, and we have a lead in another restaurant for tomorrow morning.

With all that said and done, we need to get to bed, as tomorrow we will wake up early again to raid the supermarket of all the milk supply before anybody else wakes up. We are telling you, it’s not as easy as it sounds…

Provisioning phase one, reconnaissance


It as been a long time since we haven’t been in a bus, Dad for your information the film still play at some never heard before volume and you guessed it was not the soothing sounds, although it was bearable as we knew this time we didn’t have to go too far, 1.5 hour and we were in Portoviejo. On our list we had two malls to check out, the first one was El Paseo, where you can find a nice hardware store linked to a Mi comisario grocery store. Prices are a little less than Tia here in Bahia by 10-15%, the choice rather identic with exceptions like waxed cheese.

The second one a dollar fifty away by cab, it is the Super Maxi. Here the choice is greater, you will find more “exotic” items like sushi rice/sundried tomatoes and the price comes back up to be comparable at the local one. Another hardware store is nearby. Note that the system seemed to have problem with the international credit card.

We were back in Bahia by 4pm, with 30 kilos of items in our backpack. We reprinted and re-drew the provision list and in despair we realized that we had not even made a significant ding into it. Oh well, we will keep at it then…


Mum, finalement on a reussi! Voila la photo que tu essayais de prendre en vain…

Les fregates etaient de retour en force ce matin.


 

After Letitgo it’s our turn.

We take care of Letitgo often but once in a while we need to ensure that the crew is in top shape too. For this today, we went to the optometrist and discovered that the youngest of us, is now required to wear progressive lenses (just to be polite and not say bi-focal) to ensure his ability to read from close up. Yes, it had become a challenge and when the doctor put the 1.50 in that frame, the lines on the paper became clear again what a surprise. So we invested in two new pair of lenses for each of us, let’s hope that in two years we will not have lost that much again.

After this shock, we decided to buy the 48 cans of tuna as they had a promotion at the supermarket. We may lose our teeth soon so why not! The look of the cashier was worth the price of admission, but we spare her the normal explanation by mentioning that we didn’t like tuna after all.

Rejuvenated from a lunch, we dropped Benjamin to the local high school to administer the French Challenge. Mr. Sanchez was again up to his word and allowed Benjamin to sit in his class for 1.5 hour and performed magic. During that time we decided to find the dentist we had been recommended, it’s been two days we’ve been looking for it without success. Finally this afternoon after inquiring at the local shop, we discovered that the lovely private house we have been admiring for a few months now is in fact the dentist cabinet. There is no sign, no name, just a bell; you really need to know where to go! Without appointment, they were able to squeeze us between two clients. No time for the fear to set in, one hour later we were out smiling again in the street with a clean bill of health.

Well it’s true we are getting old, but with a bit of maintenance we can keep up to Letitgo for the year to come.


We were back in the Pacific Northwest for a while, didn’t last……..

Canning not caning sorry, gel-coat and oil change

No glamor in the last few days but an effervescence on Letitgo nevertheless, a month at sea requires a little preparation and we are hard at it. But what are we doing you may wonder, well below is a little is a short recapitulative.

  • Wake up at 6am in order to get to the farmer’s truck before the crowd, I know right it is insane! Then we get 10 kilos of tomatoes along with 6 pineapple and half stalk of banana plantain. With all that in our bags we made a delicious Pineapple, plantain chutney and tomorrow we will prepare a tomato sauce to enjoy on those cold nights! But no fear we are stocking soon on more there are some jams to make too.
  • Every six months, we work on the little dings we make on the Gel-coat to avoid any water intrusion in the fiberglass, done deal! Valerie now needs to do the finish touch for the detailing.

  • Then our attention turned to the engines, yes we disposed the oil according to local regulation.
  • Oil change and detailed inspection of the engines; so we are good for the trip. And while I had my hands dirty Laurent checked our trusty generator.
  • We reviewed the food provision list and stock, and are organizing our future trip to Portoviejo for a full load. How many carts will we need?
  • There is also all the maps and meteo reading: So we had to re-learn how to get weatherfax via the ham radio
  • Installed and learnt how to use SASPlanet to get detail satellite shots of our future anchorages.
  • And finally we had some time to socialize with our friends whom also are on prep mode!

Yes it would be easier at work don’t you think.


This is Benjamin’s Grade 12 class, hard life for a teenager.


And now Emma your mother wants to ask you a question:

Truth or Dare?

How do you explain that we have more lids than containers?

Mmm perhaps you have some of my Mason jars too…

GPS Lost fix on E120 let’s try this.

You were all waiting for it, the boring post of solving problem on a boat… So here we go, this one was rather high on the list, as we were losing our GPS fix on a regular basis. After some research and talk with Raymarine, the conclusion was “clear” (unless we discover something else, we will let you know if that was the case) we needed a new receiver. Of course the 120 is old news as is the 125 so we needed to jump directly to the 130. Of course, it doesn’t connect the same way in the system, so for that you will need to get a Sea Talk adapter on the top of the new antenna; again no worries your retailer has a kit for you on the shelf for $295.

Having had to connect electronic a few years back I was apprehensive, but to my surprise all went smoothly and because of previous experience, I decided to play it say and only connect all the items loosely without passing the cable anywhere fancy… Surprise, on the first switch it worked. Well the old one did to when I tried it, so the old cable stayed in place just in case…


This is the only difference that you can notice.

Here is the guideline provided by the tech at Raymarine, you need them as the commissioning guide does show anything and the internet based resource read like Chinese.

  1. Remove the Raystar 120 SeaTalk GPS Sensor Cable.
  2. Cut off the press fit SeaTalk plug (that the flat one) of the SeaTalkng to SeaTalk Adapter Cable packaged with the SeaTalk to SeaTalkng Converter Kit and strip back its sheathing to reveal its inner leads.
  3. Verify that the red lead of the E-Series Classic MFD’s SeaTalk/Alarm cable is not connected to anything and has been insulated to prevent shorting.
  4. Disconnect the red lead of the SeaTalk cable which is presently connecting splice that you have identified to the autopilot and then insulate it to prevent shorting.
  5. Splice the yellow lead of the SeaTalkng to SeaTalk Adapter Cable to the yellow lead of the E-Series Classic MFD’s SeaTalk/Alarm Cable and to the yellow lead of the SeaTalk cable which is interfaced to the autopilot.
  6. Splice the shield lead of the SeaTalkng to SeaTalk Adapter Cable to the shield lead of the E-Series Classic MFD’s SeaTalk/Alarm Cable and to the shield lead of the SeaTalk cable which is interfaced to the autopilot.
  7. Plug the SeaTalkng to SeaTalk Adapter Cable into the yellow socket of the SeaTalk to SeaTalkng Converter
  8. Insert blue termination plugs packaged with the SeaTalk to SeaTalkng Converter Kit into each of its two blue backbone ports.
  9. Connect the SeaTalkng Power Cable supplied with the SeaTalk to SeaTalkng Converter to a switched 12VDC power circuit and in the right white plug
  10. Connect the SeaTalkng Power Cable’s plug to one of the SeaTalkng Converter’s white SeaTalk sockets the left one

 

As for Valerie she did some more small sewing projects on the sail bag and the bimini which always take forever, and Benjamin is still working 8 hours a day on his Grade 12 and as he is trying to finish it before we loose good internet connection.


 

The last hooray

The time has come to say goodbye to our parents, we had a fantastic month of travel. Experienced lots of firsts and discovered a new country in Latin America which we found diverse and full of surprise. So in style we celebrated before traveling back to Quito, well in reality it was just to ensure that they leave back to France for sure! After checking the airplane ticket price price for Tahiti they may want to do the crossing with us…


Just to not loose my hand at sabering, and to remember that we did cross the Equateur after all!

We need to keep drinking bubbly.


In style we said, which means in our favorite restaurant street side in Bahia.


Bye bye Letitgo.




Valerie just for you one more Iglesia.





One last look back before we turn a big page in our book and start the serious process of getting ready for the big crossing.


Chap Chap Dinghy Chap




The last four days have kept us pretty busy; a dinghy chap is not an easy sewing project and was on our list for a while. Indeed, the shape is complex with all the curves add to that the handles it definitely needs a minimum of precision to achieve something that looks half descent. The pattern had been done while we were in Panama, along with the purchase of the fabric, so we were ready. In the end, we are still talking to each other, I (Valerie) have gained even more confidence in my sewing machine and learnt a few tricks of the trade and that’s all thanks to Mum who gave me many memories to cherish and new knowledge. As for the guys they kept clear at all times from the working area and provided us with delicious and nutritious lunches every day! Thank you for that too.

We won’t be the ugliest dinghy on the dock or surfing the wave anymore!

On his side, Benjamin is at school 8 hours a day trying to get as quickly as possible through his grade 12 and I (Laurent) putter around keeping the food coming plus repairing the small stuff from the list. Add to this re-learning how to get all the weather for the South Pacific because soon we will be on a “prep” mode; needless to add we have a busy household…



Bahia de Caraquez from the cross.


Valerie wanted to ensure that you all witness that she too can communicate!

Sweet revenge…

Summary of Ecuador trip

Now that we are back on Letitgo for good, we can reflect on our month trip in Ecuador. All in all we have thoroughly enjoyed our land tour in Ecuador a truly divers country with many sceneries. From mountains, to volcanoes via the amazon to the seaside; add to that color from the flowers and the animals a pure pleasure to the eye.

Per day Per person

$ 7.68  

$ 12.22  

$ 1.90  

$ 2.91  

$ –  

$ 24.70  

$

Food  

Lodging 

Transport 

Museum 

Personal 

  

 

Adding the numbers together it comes out as a less expensive trip than our Peru & Bolivia one, this was mostly due to the distance between our destinations which are shorter, also there were not major museum visits like the Machu Pichu one, for the rest you know how we live so there is nothing else to add.

What we would have done differently?

You could have cut a few days out of Quito, there are some “must see” but the city in itself is not extraordinary. On the other hand Cuenca is very enjoyable and requires a little more time to get to know well; Ibarra is rather blend but the train ride was really fun and San Clemente community made it all worthwhile; in after thought we could have stayed a little longer in the latest. Banos even if touristy is a very livable village and the surroundings are spectacular.

As for our trip to the Amazon: the communities change rather rapidly in quality and service, so in the end luck is your best friend on choosing yours.

Finally, Ecuador is a very reasonable outing in a very dynamic country with a lot to offer, we believe that in the years to come the offerings will even become better so there will be a lot to look forward to for the future traveler.

 





But the fun had to stop quickly; you don’t stay on a boat free of charge very long when you have a talent. Indeed, Valerie is getting expert help on the new dinghy chap, we should soon have an haute couture protection! And we will get a change in our status at the dock for sure…


Three chaotic days.

As the review in Trip Advisor will show our hostel stay was a disaster from the moment we arrived, to our early departure in Cuenca. It resulted in a general brawl on the sidewalk, due to the owners trying to grab one of our bags. The police was called by a bystander and in minutes were on site. We never had done it before, what a way to bond with your family…

Our trip advisor review of Hostel villa del rosario

We have never have we been treated this way.

We would advise you to think twice before setting foot in this hostel. We have been travelling for 2 years non-stop and worked in the industry for 25 and have never seen such dishonest and rude people.

One of the most important things we learn in the service industry is that the first image is the important one to showcase your establishment or a city as a matter of fact. With that said, from the moment we set foot in front of the Hostel problem started, as we didn’t feel respected upon entrance and there was no professionalism demonstrated. While the description on the various sites seems grandiose it is in fact erroneous, truthfully a coat of paint and a new curtain doesn’t amount to a full renovation. The rooms are referred with ambiguous wording making your reservation (or request) unclear and once you are here they will nickel and dime you for the product you really wanted. The smell and bed are in harmony not pleasant,

To top it all, the proprietors had organized a family party for a birthday in the courtyard without even warning us and kept the entire place up until 1am; we will spare you details. The next morning having had enough, we decided to leave after 4 nights instead of 5. At check-out they asked us for the full 5 days, when challenged, the owner tried to grab a bag to lock it in the hostel. We intervened and got mugged by the entire family, my 69 year old mother got a split lip out of it, I got my hair pull while having my hands up in the air. A passing vehicle called the police after witnessing the entire event. We later learned that it was not the first time they had to intervene after guest got mugged.

You have a lot more alternative in Cuenca; enjoy the city in peace somewhere where customers are not a nuisance but a contribution to the touristic economy.

 

Benjamin had made his way back to Bahia earlier to take on a provincial exam. He seems happy with his performance, we will know in a few weeks. The rest of the family enjoyed Cuenca a little bit longer in a very nice hotel. Now back in Bahia De Caraquez where Letitgo rested in peace for one more month alone. Thank you to our cruiser friends who kept an eye on our house while we were away.


Sophie on a aussi essaye de les avoir avec une bagarre rangee mais la encore nous avons echoue!


Another parade, we missed the military one due to our little problem.



View from the cathedral.

 






Toquillas



This is the second time we cross path with the president, 200% more time than the one of our own country.



The bus ride from Cuenca to Guayaquil goes through a national park, a pure beauty.



We climbed up to 4000 meter high, like in an airplane and enjoyed a sea of clouds.



Who says we don’t communicate? 9 hours of bus you use your time anyway you can…