|Sea lions guard our dinghy...thanks, ladies!|
Isla Isabella Fiesta.Celebrating 40 years of the incorporation of the island (where we are still at anchor). Great fun, pretty much the whole island turns out. A rodeo, dances, horse racing through town, bike races, a marathon....all Galapagos style. Ya gotta love it!!
|Poor kid in the blue shirt got a plastic spoon....We called FOUL but nobody listened!!!|
|#3 doing a bit of sky watching!|
|The big boys came out to play!|
|Guy on the right must've borrowed big brother's bike!!!|
The grand finale was the horse races. Horse racing, Galapagos style, is a wild and wooly event, right down the main street of town...dogs in the road, no helmets (of course!), cheering fans crowding into the street. Macho caballeros strutting their stuff. Great fun (except for the poor dog that got killed running under the thundering hooves). Wow!
|Lots of pre race machismo and trash talkin'|
|Gloating in the winners circle|
Provisioning for the passage to French Polynesia...Here on Isla Isabela it can be a bit of a struggle to get Bravo stocked up for the coming 3-4 week passage. Stores are very small, and supplies vary depending on when the ship arrives. We've enjoyed making weekly runs to a local farm, where farmer Silvio walks us around and points with his machete at whatever is freshest.....You want eggplant, tomatos, onions, peppers, papaya, cantaloupe, pineapples??? How about basil or cilantro? This guy's got 'em. And it doesn't get much fresher. You just have no clue what he'll have till you arrive. Typical tab is $10-15 for a mountain of freshies... Always a fun trip.
|Nicole from Bella Star keeps her eyes on the prize of a tasty papaya.|
|Silvio hacks loose a pineapple.....never tasted sweeter.....|
CQ Contest.....CQ Contest.....CQ Contest
You can take the sailor out of the geek, but its tough to take the geek out of the sailor. Most of you know that Adam (K7ST) is a geek at heart, and a long time ham radio afficionado. A couple of weeks ago was the annual ARRL DX Contest, where U.S. hams try to speak to as many hams in as many countries as possible in 48 hours. As Adam had received permission to operate in Ecuador, he figured, "why not put Galapagos, a part of Ecuador, on the air for the test?" Setting up a small portable vertical antenna on the beach was a snap, and K7ST/HC8 (portable Galapagos) was on the air. I was the rarest of rare countries, as I was the only station active in the contest from this country (Galapagos counts as a separate country for contest scores). Great fun indeed, as huge pileups of hams were furiously calling for a contact. I managed to work about 1500 for the weekend for a very part time effort. Much different experience from contesting in the US.....Yee hah, I was hooked!!!
|K7ST/HC8 station, iguana's eye view!|
Time to head to sea!
|The building cruiser bolus!|
For us, preparing to leave Latin America is indeed bitter sweet. We are very excited to be getting underway on our longest passage yet, bound for what by all accounts is truly a tropical paradise...French Polynesia. But we've had an extraordinary 2-1/2 years here in Central and South America, exploring the various countries and cultures, and making many good friends along the way. As our Spanish improved, we've enjoyed getting to know some really wonderful folks, from Mexico to Patagonia, and participate in their lives in ways we had never done on our brief vacation visits in past years. We'll miss the warmth and hospitality of these people, and eagerly look forward to our return in the future. We know we'll be back.
Now its time to break out Rosetta Stone, and learn a bit of French before our next landfall!!!