Friday night was the prize giving and farewell dinner. It was
preceded by a party where they did something we had never seen before. Hot air balloons were launched with various decorations and names painted on the sides. At night they
can be seen for a long time as they sail into the night sky amidst cheers and fireworks. This apparently is a common form of celebration in the Galapagos and quite a show.
The dinner followed the party and was very good, served slowly and buffet style. I'm glad we were near the front of the line. We finished, visited a while and headed back to the Sea Gem to get some sleep.
On Saturday morning Charlie and I went to the market. We had been advised to get there when it opened at 6:00 a.m. or the produce would be picked over. We left the Sea Gem by
dingy before six with Kathy and Jeff prepared to board the bus for her first part of the long journey home. Charlie and I caught a cab to head to the market. Now there are two markets
in Porto Arroyo and we seemed to have a hard time in making the cab driver understand that we wanted to go to the market next to the University. He finally determined which one and away we went.
The market is an open area with various sellers offering a variety
of home grown fruits and vegetables. Also for sale were chickens,
tied by the legs in groups of three, squatting in clusters
clucking quietly. The bananas are sold mostly by the stalk,
which is how we bought ours. We were advised by another sailor
to soak them in sea water before bringing them aboard to get
the bugs out. A stalk of bananas is a lot of bananas.
They still swing under the awning in the aft cockpit, waiting to
all ripen at once. In the meantime they crash into anything
that enters into their space. The market had lovely tomatoes,
carrots, eggplant and many varieties of fruits I had never seen
before. We bought pineapple, passionfruit, limes, lemons,
cauliflower and cabbage. There were no onions or potatoes
and no lettuce. Charlie found onions and potatoes later after
a dedicated search. The vegetables are definitely the garden
raised variety: large, small, in all manner of shapes and colors..
A Frenchman ahead of me bought all the eggplant from one vendor
so I rushed to another to get some before it was all gone.
The things we bought are tasty, especially the tomatoes, which we
have daily--scurvy prevention you know. After leaving the market
we went by the grocery store. There is a concern when you
know for at least three weeks you will not see a grocery store and
no matter how well you are provisioned you know you have forgotten
Since we had limes we looked for graham crackers to make some lime or lemon ice box pie.
No grahams but we found some Spanish cookies with a picture of a pie on the front, so we went for those. Actually they turned out pretty well but don't break up as easy as
grahams. We bought unrefrigerated eggs, and lots of yogurt which we had found to b very tasty. I love going to stores in foreign countries. When Kathy and I did a pantomime to
ask for a fly swatter, and got one, I'm glad no one was there with a video. Two teenage boys helped us find the fly swatter. The young people are very respectful, friendly and
neat and clean. I have not seen a single pair of oversized, hip hanging pants since I left the U.S.
We got back to the Sea Gem with all the provisions in time for Charlie to dive for the stern
anchor. The stern anchor line was cut while we were away on tour. Michael Frankel had rigged another to hold Sea Gem until we returned. Michael came to Sea Gem twice a day
while we were gone to run the generator, check on things and, as it turned out, to reset an anchor. We had two bow anchors out and one stern. We don't know what cut the line but
there is a lot of traffic in the harbor at night and some of the pangas or taxis run pretty close to the boats. We could not have gone away with ease without Michaels help and really appreciate his dedication.
Charlie recovered the lost anchor which more than paid the diving hose we purchased before leaving home. Also while in the harbor we got the boat bottom cleaned for it was
really grungy after the time in the anchorage. Stowage is always a problem and as we headed out to sea again we try to put everything away so it won't fly around in rough
weather. Things ride pretty well in baskets and we use a lot of small string hammocks to stow items.
Before we left Port Arroyo we delivered all the parts for various boats that I had purchased
while back in the US. We we even able to sell most of the charts that I purchased by mistake, through a miscommunication with Charlie. Getting things to or from the states are
difficult. Crew changes enable things to be sent, mailed or delivered stateside and most travelers are willing to carry letters. The protocol is to leave the letters unsealed but I have
never carried letters from someone I did not know.