....for us to leave this continent. Now that I write it down, its a reality. After all, anytime you see anything in print, it's true, right?!
We have decided to head west, and then south, and then west again. Any guesses?
Our goal, should all of the paperwork come through in a timely manner, is to head to the Galapagos in mid-November, or whenever our French Polynesia long-stay visa comes back from Papeete with a stamped approval. New regulations are now enabling cruisers to spend up to 3 months in the Galapagos, so rather than hang out here much longer, we'll set up shop over in the Galapagos, and go swimming with the sea lions. We find that we have much in common with the Galapagos turtles, as we seem to move about as fast as they do, so life should be good. In order to go for any length of time, we have to apply for an Autografo which will enable us to visit 3 different islands, and stay past the usual 20 days. Of course, this comes at a price and for a boat our size, it's going to come in around $1400, but we figure that while that amount is tough to take for 4 weeks, spread it out over 3 months and the cost/day ratio improves. That is true creative accounting.
After the Galapagos, we'll see what the weather says, and if it's favourable, we'll head south/southwest to Easter Island. Those of you that know us, know that we have been fighting about this for months, and months, and months.....Ron has worn me down and I'm tired of fighting. Do I want to sail for 25 days to go to an island that we may have stay on board the boat for the entire time....nope. Do I want to sail for 25 days to go to an island that we may have to leave after a day for the next island (Pitcairn), 10 days away....not so much. Do I want to sail for 25 days to go to an island that we may have to move locations every day, due to weather and swell.....ya, no again. But, it looks like we're going to try. Unless, we don't. The gribs will tell us, once we decide the time is right to make a break for it, whether we head to Easter Island, or whether we hitch a ride on the Coconut Milk Run and make a break for French Polynesia, and the Marquesas.
In the meantime, I am going to be provisioning like we'll never see land again. Rumours of $10/pound of ground beef, $12 bags of Doritos, $4 beers.....we are in serious trouble if we think we can afford to buy food once we leave the shores of south America. That being said, a fellow cruiser, Patty on Armaugh, and I have been commiserating with the less-than-satisfactory provisioning options here in Ecuador. Where can we buy 8-packs of canned tomatoes.....where are the 12 roll bundles of papertowels....where are those jars of $6 (that's cheap!!!) peanut butter? They are up in Panama, that's where, and since we came from there 6 months ago, we've run out of food stashes. No pickled jalapenos, no cocoa powder, no $2.80 liters of wine. It has been tossed around to "run up" to Panama to provision, but Ron rightly pointed out that I might have too much of a love affair with PriceSmart (a Costco affiliate) and that traveling for a week might be too much of an effort to be able to purchase 6 cans of chicken. He did have a moment when I asked whether it was still too much effort to head up there for $12 cases (yes, that's right, a case, 24 cans, 4 sixers) of beer, but in the end, figured I'd make some sort of a plan to keep him hydrated. I do...and it's called water, made from the sea.
I've been camped on the internet for days. The anchorage here has improved their wifi signal, so I can now, in the comfort of my own boat, do as much research as I need. I've downloaded sv Soggy Paws' Compendiums for the Tuamotus and the Marquesas. I've made provisioning lists that include 12 cans of tomatoes, and 20 bags of tortilla chips. I've filled out paperwork; more paperwork than I've done in years, for our French Polynesia long-stay visa. I've been in touch with banks, and healthcare providers.....and after the internet signal dropped me for the 4th time while telling my financial advisor why I needed an infusion of cash.....I raised my eyes to the heavens and said aloud that it had better be worth it.
Ron has his own traumas, but that's for another post.
Meanwhile, the usual stuff continues to break, and we continue to fix it. We have started looking around the boat for little things we can add to make our lives better, or at least keep our lives alive, like adding lines to our parachute anchor that somehow had been neglected. And to once and for all, start adding stuff to our ditch bag for emergencies. In my moments of weakness, I reread John Vigor's black box theory, http://johnvigor.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-black-box-theory.html to motivate me.
In the end, we'll leave when we leave, and we'll leave things behind. But unlike a lot of people, our dock lines were cut long ago, and we know that if we don't have it aboard, it won't kill us. Mmmmm, about that black box.....