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Date: 17 Feb 2008 18:04:16
Title: Ecuador Day 1 - February 16th, 2008

We arrived at 02:00, anchored off the marina and collapsed into bed. We had been advised that we would enter the marina at 08:00 so needed a few hours before going ashore. Ha!
 
The marina houses the Puerto Lucia Yacht Club which is part of a luxury resort (one of my correspondents Googled it and was suitably impressed) and we finally tied up late in the day. Firstly "rub a dub dub" arrived with three men in a small dinghy plus the driver. They were the customs, police and immigration (two of them in uniform and big shiny boots, which you can't ask them to take off) and as we were stuck outside they graciously arrived to clear us into Ecuador, which they did with a minimum of fuss.
 
We had been in constant VHF touch with Rally Control and then Storyteller was invited to go into the marina at around 11:00. John Gilder took his lovely white yacht into the marina and promptly came back out to anchor. The marina was a sea of floating crude oil scum. The channel which feeds the marina runs through an old oil field and after all the rain was oozing brown scum which was coating all the yachts in the marina. Later in the day, the marina bought to us, out in the bay, 'sacrificial' mooring lines so that we didn't foul our own, which we also have to pay for,not a lot but an expense we shouldn't really have to incur.
 
Late afternoon(12 hours later) saw us tied up in the marina. Our stern is tied to a couple of steel mooring buoys (they had to move them so the berth was long enough) and the bow is tied to a stone wall about 10 metres away. We are sitting in the greasy mess and our power and water lines ashore are elevated as high as we can get them so they remain above the scum.(Didn't make the high enough, this morning they are all coated in yellow stuff. Will be horrible to clean). The sacrificial mooring lines are coated in black ooze and the only way ashore is in the dinghy. Now our dinghy is white, I spend an inordinate amount of time keeping it clean and now I have to stick it into this evil mess. Ugh! So far we haven't been ashore! I will try again tomorrow and see if I can get it in to the water between patches of stuff. Our 240 volt power is actually 190 volts (not quite a brown out) and the water is undrinkable (non-potable) and if you fell into the sea water you would die! No question; you would die! Storyteller's electrical lead is not long enough to reach the shore; we have them plugged into Southern Princess so their batteries can keep charged.
 
06:00 on the 17th; I am sitting here writing this and the predominate smell is that of diesel or raw crude oil and the two stern mooring buoys are clanging together in the surge that is sawing the yachts backwards and forwards. Southern Princess was a blue yacht with a white water line; not any more. Oh the joys of yachting. While here Irene has to provision for the next 9 weeks, until we get to Tahiti, and the logistics of buying and then ferrying to the yacht all this food is a bit daunting but it will happen late next week and hopefully the oil will be gone by then. But I fear not the plastic and other unmentionables in the water.Sydney Harbour is pristine compared to most of the world
 
Lorraine Steele, our old mate from the cruise in Fiji & Vanuatu in 2001 is joining us from here to Tahiti at least. Lorraine arrives just in time to help with the provisioning. Poor girl!
 
Enough whinging! It is great to be here and Sue Donovan, off Storyteller, spent the time at anchor yesterday corresponding with a travel agent and she has a great trip planned for next week to Quito, Otavalo and Cotachi. We fly to Quito and then the four of us have a car and driver for a couple of days to show us around.
 
There is supposed to be wifi here and if so then I can post a few more pictures to the blog site.
 
Today's Sunday and we are going to lunch somewhere and a big sleep this afternoon to catch up on the zzz.
 
That's all for this epistle
 
JH

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