Willow hauled out in Ecuador.

Well, it has been many weeks since I last posted some words here, sorry. At the moment I am sitting in a hotel room near the University of Washington, Seattle. Bonnie is finishing up the week long training session she must go through for her job with the International Pacific Halibut Commission. The benefit for me is getting to stay in this very plush hotel she is put up in for the week. Our life goes from one extreme to the other actually. This is the type of place we would never stay in if it was left up to us to decide and pay for. That said, let me back up and let you all know what we got ourselves into since Panama.

Willow departed western Panama bound for Ecuador in good spirits and good condition. The passage left a bit to be desired as far as winds were concerned, but we made it in good time anyway. We initially headed WSW, bound for Isla del Coco, Costa Rica. This is an island several hundred miles offshore from Panama/Costa Rica, and said to be an extremely unique habitat for all sorts of creatures. Well, we never made it there. As we moved further south and west, we began picking up current, directly opposing us. It was not at all unexpected, in fact we were sure we would run into it, just not as strong as we encountered. Basically we ended up with a 2+knot current on the nose, in addition to the only winds out there were 10-15, also coming from exactly the heading the island lay on. Put the two of them together, then add up the potential hull speed of Willow, even at full throttle with the motor, and you get a very straight forward answer. NO WAY! We actually got within 80 miles of the island. But what a long 80 miles it would have been at 1.5-2 knots, you do the math. We could have made it actually, but then would have burned up all our diesel with no real idea as to whether or not we could get more at the island.

That said, we fell off and headed SSE, bound for Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador. Tara was of course within 10miles of us this entire time, always in contact on the radio. They agreed that the island was not happening this time and off we went. Now, we were expecting to have relatively consistent SW winds once we turned for Ecuador, which would have been ideal, considering we were so far west to begin with. Well, SW was no longer the norm for the week we spent out there. Day and night we had Southerly winds, much to our chagrin. That, in conjunction with the current setting us back east as well made for a very rapid loss of ground to the east and the coast of Columbia. Never fear, we were so far out there to begin with the we did just fine and made land fall about 20 miles north of our intended goal.

After about 6 days at sea, we dropped the hook north of a headland called Cabo Pasado. This worked out nicely, as three other boats we knew were already there. Not just boats we knew, but people we particularly liked to be with. There was Damen and Deseree on “Gia”, Jan and George on “Clair de Lune”, and Herme and Jack on “Iwa”. Plus a fourth boat we got to know called “Wooden Shoe”, skippered by Susie and crewed by fantastic young woman named Joy and an Argentinian lad who’s name escapes me at the moment. Anyway, we had a fun few days there before moving south into Bahia de Caraquez and a lot more boats.

We spent about a week in the bay dealing with port officials and the like. Ecuador is a beautiful country, populated by some of the friendliest people we have met anywhere. I regretted the fact that we needed to keep moving south to get Willow to the haul out yard in time for work dates and the like, but that is exactly what we needed to do. One boat in particular we got to know and hope to continue to know is called “Malalika” (hmmm, I think I have the spelling correct, if not, so sorry and will correct it as I can). Anyway, Chris and Lynn are the owners, from South Africa, and they are good company. We spent several nights on board their boat laughing, in addition to a one day surf excursion just north of the bay. I hope Chris and Lynn are in good stead, where ever they are and hope to catch up with them in the future for some surf at Mompiche.

Well, I am writing all this without looking back. So, if there are gruesome spelling and grammatical errors, sorry, I am sure you can figure out what I intended.

After many farewells and a few extra beers to be sure, Tara and Willow headed out of the bay in company with a boat named, (here is a big one) Quetzequoatal. We sucessfully navigated the bar and made it out to deep water with no problems.

I NEED A BREAK RIGHT NOW. Cannot keep up the pace, plus I want to find some pictures to put here as well.

To wrap things up for now, this is where Bonnie and I stand at the moment. Bonnie will be flying to Alaska very shortly to get on board a Halibut fishing boat for several months, to work. She will be part of a very large stock assessment survey going on to help manage that particular fishery. It looks like she will be working the waters of Prince William Sound as well as areas east of Kodiak Island. She looks forward to this every year, as there is wildlife beyond what many may even be able to imagine.

As for me. I opted out of the cold water and cold weather work this summer. I am flying to Hawaii in two days to begin a construction job on the Big Island. As luck would have it, two of our best friends, Bob and Cary Derringer, live there. Bob is a contractor and has need of someone to help out while the two of them visit family on the mainland. Actually, Bob does not seem to really need help from anyone, with anything, but I am glad he likes me and is willing to throw some work my way. So, I get to do his job, look after their house, drive their car and hopefully use one of their surf boards. Not a bad deal really.

Enough, I wish all friends peacefull days and laughs. More later.