About Us

Welcome to our blog, describing our voyage aboard Bravo, a Kelly Peterson 46 sailboat with homeport in Seattle, Washington. We headed south in 2010, destined for Mexico and beyond. Cheers, Adam and Cindi

"As for me, I am tormented by an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts." -Herman Melville, 1844

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Lima..... and oh, those erotic Incas

We had a great couple of days in Lima.  Stayed at an excellent hostal in the Miraflores area, Pension Yolanda, owned by Erwin, who´s perfect English and wealth of info on Lima and all of Peru made our visit really special.

Lima is a huge city, of over 10,000,000 people.  Miraflores, the area we stayed in is modern, happening, and safe.  With all of the locals on cell phones, ipods in their ears, and some really good modern residential architecture, we really felt at home here.

We visited a couple of museums and ruin sites.  The first, Museo Larco,the amazing collection of Raphael Larco Herrara, who collected over 15,000 pieces of pre-Columbian art in the early 20th century.  Housed in three buildings on beautiful grounds, the museum gave us a terrific overview of the ruins that we´ll be visiting at Machu Picchu and elsewhere in Peru.  Larco also houses the worlds largest collection of Inca eroticism.  Ya gotta like it!!!

Museum mascot is a very friendly Peruvian hairless.  Must be an acquired taste...gimme a malemute any day!!!
All of the exhibits were beautifully and dramatically displayed.
The museum of erotic art was obviously a crowd pleaser.  Even the toilet signage was unique!!!

Hard to imagine a better wine bottle...

We also checked out the downtown ruins of Huaca Pucllana, in the heart of Miraflores.  Although the Spanish conquistadores trashed much of the pyramids, they kept quite a bit intact to use as a lookout over the harbors of Lima and nearby Callao.  Although much of the Inca temple pyramid and graves have been demolished by the development of modern Lima, in recent years much has been preserved, and the archeology has been actively underway since the mid 1980´s.  Today a lot of the temple has been restored, with an estimate that it will take 25 years to finish the exploration and restoration.  Amazing, right in the heart of the city...

Work continues on excavation and reconstruction

Reconstructed tombs

We arrived yesterday in Cusco after a 21 hour bus ride from Lima.  The double decker bus we rode was quite cool.  We rode in the ¨cama¨, or bed section, down below.  The seats recline nearly all the way down, and with two drivers taking shifts, and meals served on board, these kings of the highway never stop.  Not a bad way to travel.

We´re off on a 4 day trekking and mountain bike tour around Machu Picchu tomorrow.  No internet, obviously, so will report on Cusco / Machu Picchu when we return.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"On the road again....."

(with apologies to Willy Nelson!!!)

The Bravo crew finally exited Ecuador, and not a moment too soon!!!  Tourist visas in Ecuador are complex, and when you ask 10 people (officials, even), or consult 10 websites (including government sites), you can be guaranteed of 11 explanations of the system.  It´s confusing indeed.  Check this out from a Lonely Planet forum discussion: 

"I wanted to share what I know under a series of topics to help those who may need to deal with what is most certainly among the most complex in the world -- or at least one where attorneys can make a fortune because nobody can make heads or tails out of it. :-)  "

We knew our 90 day original visa was running out (calendar stops when out of country, so ours stopped when we were in US).  We needed to get an extension to be sure we´ll be able to visit the Galapagos for February and March, so with 9 days to go, we prepared our papers and headed to Manta, a 2-1/2 hour bus ride, to the immigracion office.  There we were told to taxi to the migracion police office, to get a "certificate of migracion", before we could apply for our visa.  OK, done, taxi back to first office.  Now we're told by one guy that the visa stops when we're out of country, like the first one.  Cool!!!  90 days will work fine.  But 2 other folks in the office say, no, it keeps running.  This won't work for us, as we'll be out of Ecuador for the next 2 months.  We're told, "go ahead and ask for 180, but our lawyers almost never grant this request!!!"  Also, no good!!!  So we bus back to Bahia that night, and get ready to quickly leave Ecuador to stop our meter running, to preserve the needed days until we return in December, when we can file for the 90 day extension once again.

Well, under this gun, Adam gets a terrible stomach flu the night before we leave for the border.  Trust us, a 15 hour bus ride would've been an UGLY trip.  Well, after a day on the boat in bed, he was deemed by the Chief Medical Officer as acceptable to travel, but just barely!!! 

Bubble boys playing in a malecon park.  Good for the parents, not sure about the kids!!!
 We headed to Guayaquil, spending one evening close to the hotel.  Took a walk on the new malecon along the water, but stilll felt pretty sick.

5 hour wait passed a bit slowly.....

The next day, we headed to the bus station to catch our road warrior coach to Peru.  Should cross the border by 6pm, we´re told.  No worries.  Except that the bus is late.....seems that political protests in Peru have delayed it, and it will be around a 4-5 hour delay.  Now we´re cutting it a bit close, to losing yet another day of our rapidly diminishing visa days.  Spent the day hanging around the bus station, finally leaving at around 4:30.  Crossed the border at 11 at night, barely keeping from losing another day on our visa!!  We now have 5 days when we return to apply for our visa extension, definitely cutting it a bit tight, but hopefully doable.

Farms were huge, as we rolled along the coast
The border crossing was a snap, and we rolled along through the Peruvian night, arriving at Chiclayo in northern Peru in the early morning.

Typical Chiclayo street scene
 One thing that's finally sunk in to our heads is that South America is a BIG place.  We've gotten so spoiled by our 5 week jaunt throughout Ecuador, that we really didn't appreciate how far the travel distances are, and how much bus time that means.  For the first time in a long time we're on a tight schedule, as we need to arrive in Buenos Aires on November 24 to meet friends David and Diana, coming down from Seattle to join us for some Patagonia adventures.  That gives us just about 1 month for Peru and Bolivia....sounds more like a vacation than our normal vagabond lifestyle!!!  Yikes, we´re not used to the stress!!!

So we made a quick decision to abandon our discovery of northern Peru, and fly from Chiclayo straight to Lima, to really begin our Peruvian adventure down here. 

First impressions of Lima, it's a beautiful, bustling city.  More to follow.  We´re here for a couple of days before heading up to Cuzco, to get set to hike around and explore Machu Picchu.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Copperfield leaves a trail !!!

We subscribe to a "cloud" backup service, "sosonline".  Though we've only been using it for the past few months, it saved us a great deal of pain when we realized that our files on our stolen computers, include all of our photos, are safely backed up to some mega server out in cyber space.

What we had forgotten was that the backup is working behind the scenes, continually backing up new and changed files on our protected computers.  Yesterday I received an automated email report, generated every week or so, from SOSONLINE.  Tells me what has been backed up recently.  Amazingly, we saw a bunch of new files on our stolen netbook!!!  It seems that "Roberto", in the Ecuadorean army, stationed at a base in or near Quito, is the proud new owner, and user of the computer, which continues to send out notices of added or modified files!!!

So far I've been unable to find anything which gives Roberto's email or land addresses, just a new folder called "Roberto", which contain a bunch of files and sub folders.  Lots of army info and files.  And obviously Roberto is oblivious to the fact that we get this record, and since we have the password, we can read any of the files that he records.  The backup happens seamlessly and automatically.

Unfortunately we've not yet seen any backups for the MacBook Pro.  We had set it up to require a password to even open the computer desktop, so it may be either still secure, or the system has been hacked and disabled.

In case anyone is interested, the backup service that we're using can be found at sosonlinebackup.com

Roberto, be careful what you write, you rascal !!!  Oh yeah, and what photos you take!!! 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Magician David Copperfield Rides the Bus

Wish we had seen him.....

Just returned to Ecuador after a whirlwind month in the US.  An exhausting 38 hours of travel from leaving 'Bravo' to arrival at Adam's dad's place in Pennsylvania.  Spent a few days visiting with Lou and sister Lilli and her family before heading to Seattle for a mix of business (our house needs some repairs requiring our attention) and pleasure.  Had a terrific time visiting with old friends, swapping stories, and buying stuff to bring south that's simply not available where we now live.  To those friends we missed seeing on this trip, our apologies, hope to do better the next time we pass through.

So what's up with this David Copperfield thing, you're probably asking???  Well first, we've received numerous comments from friends(?) that our blog can't be for real....we seem to be having too much fun...we must have SOME bad days!!!  For example, check out this emailed comment from a very close buddy:  "Your blog totally sucks. Makes me feel like my ass is glued to the chair………I want some horror stories to make me feel better."  Not wanting to disappoint our readers, we had a bit of a rugged day on the 8 hour bus ride back home from Quito.  

We boarded the bus at 10:30 am.  Adam put his bag on the overhead rack, right over the seat in front of us.  We're talking 2 feet away!!!  Definitely got complacent after the US.  This was the first time we'd put anything on the overhead rack in 5 weeks of buses in Ecuador.  We were only 3 seats back from the front.  Checked to see that there was a rack support right behind the bag, so it couldn't slide back out of our sight.  Got up when we stopped for lunch.  Grabbed the bag, it felt really light.  Open up, there's his fleece jacket on top, neatly folded.  But damn, our iPad, netbook, and brand new MacBook Pro laptop had all been removed, along w/ all cables and chargers.  The fleece jacket was neatly folded and put back in the bag as it had been originally.  And the bag put back exactly where I put it.  Was it David Copperfield riding the bus?  Who knows, we just know that damn, the bastards are good.  We still have NO idea how someone took all the stuff w/ us sitting 2 feet behind the bag!!!  It really hurts, as electronics in Ecuador cost nearly 3 times the US price.  Looking for other expat travelers to contact to bring replacements down.  Yuchhhhhhh.....  Bottom line:  The warnings to keep your bags ON YOUR LAP on the buses is for real.  We even just heard of a fellow cruiser who had her camera stolen from her bag that she put under her seat.  Someone had pulled the bag on the floor a few seats back, and did the deed there.  (They now use a carabiner to clip their bag to the window curtain rope...we'll do the same!!!).  Also, for cryin' out loud, don't put all the goodies in one bag!!!  What were we thinking???

To add insult to injury, when we finally were back aboard Bravo licking our wounds we opened our suitcase, and find that TSA in Seattle had removed 2 quarts of varnish and 4 tubes of caulk.....Left their damned note "For your safety....."   Crap, over $100 of boat supplies that are non-existent in Ecuador.

Not a good day yesterday, to be sure, but sure felt great to be back aboard.  OK, let's get back to the fun stuff.....Boat chores await, then off to Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile for more adventures...