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

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.

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