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Monday, June 23, 2008

High in the Andes

The Ecuadorian Andes are unimaginably beautiful. Most of the people living here are subsistence farmers and while that’s tough on the forest and the animals, it makes for very little pollution or material excess that usually clutters up the land, like shopping malls. I never thought I would like the Andes as much as I do. Perhaps it is because I haven’t been in any serious mountains in many years, or perhaps it is because it is amazing here.

We have been adjusting to the thin air here at about 11,000 to 12,000 feet. Today we went on a trip to a second growth forest that was about 12,000 feet high. There were many plants and mosses that we often saw in the rain forests near Seattle.

The village we are staying in has only one store that carries staples and no restaurants. Luckily the Cloud Forest Hostel has been extremely accomodating and two meals are included in the price of our room.

It gets very cold at night and we usually wear three layers of clothes. There are no heaters in the rooms, but occasionally we have hot water. This is really a world away from our boat and our little kitties, whom we hope are behaving themselves.

This picture shows one of the hundreds of valleys and farming tracts mixed in with the clouds.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Loose in the Andes

I know we are lazy about updating our slog. Here are the basics.

We bought two mountain bikes and have been riding them around looking for good trails. It´s nice to not have to walk everwhere too.

We also dumped $700 into a new stainless water tank. Our old tank was coughing up whitish
oxidization at an alarming rate. We had to stop using it all together which cut our water supply in half sometime back in Costa Rica. Well, our nice new tank is now installed and it is really beautiful, but no one will ever see it. The real pain was installing it. We had to empty the fuel tank and pull it out first and the fuel tank sat in the middle of our cockpit while we delt with the water tank. After a heavy amount of work we finally got the new tank in and the fuel tank back in place. Of course after everything was back together the water tank leaked. Fortunately it turned out to be a loose gasket and was easily fixed.

We switched out our new anchor chain for some 1/2 inch chain and some 1inch rope in hopes of saving our chain for more than just a mooring.

We still haven´t been able to move to Saiananada where we would muchperfer to be. There seems to be a dark force at works in the politics here. So the only time I have been able to write is 4am to 8am, turning me into an angry zombie. The rest of the time, the bar is too noisy to focus on anything.

We helped batwing move to the tidal grid so they could replace their shaft.

We´ve cleaned the bottom of our dinghy about 3 times now, and the mechanic has our outboard while we are out of town in hopes of fixing the small oil leak and replacing all the rusted out bolts.
For the first time in a long long while we have left our boat and our kitties to travel for 2 weeks in Ecuador. Batwing is watching /feeding them while we tour. It is weird. The longest we´ve left Jordan is 3 days. Hopefully they won´t go too feral.

Right now we are at 9,000 feet in a town called Quito, the capital of Ecuador. We scored Indian food our first night here and today we are going out to see some sights. Photos will follow.