Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Yes bano is the spanish word for bathroom and even those with the most limited spanish know this word and may wonder why anyone would visit such a place. The city we visited in the Central Sierra of Ecuador is called Banos (there is an accent over the O, not sure how to do it on the keyboard). The town is named for the numerous natural hot and cold springs that surround it´s valley. These springs are caused by Tungurahua, a very active volcano that was either smoking or belching lava the whole time we were there. We spent four days in Banos hiking, biking, eating great meals and just enjoying the drizzle and refreshing air we miss at sea level. All of this and we were also joined by our good friends from Phoenix, Karena and Josh. They met us in Quito and we traveled by treacherous bus ride up to Otavalo for a weekend of hiking and shopping at the famous market. I was all shopped out from our visit there in September but hopefully Karena and Josh found some fun stuff to take home with them. From there we traveled to Banos and then Karena and Josh took off for a few days in the Galapagos. Mark and I traveled back to the boat ( in Bahia de Caraquez) to get ready for our next passage, also to the Galapagos. We will have three weeks or so to enjoy the islands before we set off for our biggest adventure ever, sailing to the Marquessas. Don´t feel bad if you need a map. I did when we first started planning this trip. Check back in a few weeks for some Galapagos pictures. xo Liz & Mark
A side note..many of you leave comments with questions but no email to repsond to, so if you want a reply please include it in your comments.

Happy to be at the top of the mountain

On the way down

This donkey made a sound like we have never heard before
Getting ready to bike the avenue of the waterfalls

Karena not quite ready for lunch

Josh and Karena crossing the canyon on little tiny cable

Looking more realxed on the way back

That is us down there getting misted by the huge waterfall

Adios Panama

After two great months in Panama it was time to head south back to Ecuador. We had made plans to meet up with friends in early March so off we went with our temporary crew member Ross for one more week in the Perlas Islands and a wonderful 4.5 day passage to Ecuador. Having crew turned out well for our passage as it afforded Mark and I a bit more sleep and Ross himself provided us with plenty of comic relief. Below, a few pictures of one last Panama party on Scholarship. Also Ross dressed in a wig for his first maritime equator crossing. Traditon calls for hazing for new crew. Because of our tiredness after 4 days at sea Ross got off easy.

Pat, Bobby, Mark, Suzie and Ross a few days before departure

Barbara, Joanie, Jerry and Carrie aboard Scholarship

Mark & Ross out for a spin at Isla Pedro Gonzalez in the Perlas

Yes Mom, that is your wig!

Ross checking out the view from the mast

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Panama Canal

Before we left Panama City we were lucky enough to be line-handlers for another sailboat transiting the Panama Canal. Friends of ours knew we were interested in going through so they let us know that Barbara and Cori of sailing vessel Incresent Moon were looking for help. Every sailboat going through is required to have a captain, an advisor and four line-handlers. Excited to see the extent of the canal we set off from Panama City on the Panama Canal Railway bound for Colon. After a few hours in Colon we set off on our adventure. After the first set of Locks we were moored in Gatun Lake for the night. The line-handing was easy. Incresent Moon (a 44-foot Tayana) was simply tied on to another 75-foot muti-million dollar sailboat (an Oyster) and through the locks we went. Not much work for us but it was great just watching in awe at the way the canal works. Truly one of the man-made wonders of the world and much more interesting that I could have imagined. See for yourself at

Here is Mark outside the Panama Canal train, just a short 2 hour trip from Panama City to Colon Our gracious hosts Cori & Barbara of SV Incresent Moon

Going through Gatun Locks