Ainia - now in Ecuador
Had a pleasant, slow sail from Panama to Bahia to Caraquez. Much better than we thought it might be based on Cornell's book. We had none of the nasty convectional activity he mentions. The Humboldt Current and ITCZ were certainly interesting. We left Panama and had a couple of days of favorable currents (light to no wind) and then came to a wide area of overfalls along with a wind shift from NE to SW and lots of clouds. The current meant that we were moving 35 degrees to the right of where we were pointing (close-hauled). We were aiming at Bahia which is half way down the coast toward Peru but were heading pretty much to the border of Ecuador and Colombia. When we got within about 40 miles of the coast, the current pretty much was on the nose but not very strong.
Bahia is a really nice place. Apparently it was the major port in Ecuador into the first half of the 1900s but they could not keep up with the shoals forming at the river mouth. Now you can only enter at high tide and with a pilot. The bureaucracy here is so complex that you basically only come to one port and stay there since entering other ports is almost like entering other countries and they require the use of an agent.
Our initial impression of Ecuador is very positive. Country is beautiful, city is clean and people are very friendly and helpful. Almost no English spoken so it is a good chance to practice our not very good Spanish. Off to Quito on the bus on Saturday for about three weeks of backpacking.
Back in the water in Grenada - with new main and #2 and cockpit canvas (Santa came early). Will spend the winter and early spring in the Caribbean and then head to Bermuda and the northeast US. Still trying to decide if we will bring the boat to Canada, either in 2015 or 2016.