Saturday, September 16, 2006

Corto Maltes Amazonia Lodge & then back to boat

September 14, 2006   Thursday
Corto Maltes Amazonia lodge, Peru

No early activities scheduled for today.  Good thing, because we didn’t even wake up until the 8:00 breakfast was being served.

Mid-morning we went fishing on the river.  Barli caught a tiny catfish and a crab.  The rest of us didn’t catch a thing but we fed a lot of bait to some tiny silver fish.

Napped in the hammocks on the porch of our lodge until lunch was served.  Gosh; what a hard life we a living these days.

Late afternoon we went a good ways down river and visited a farm.  Most of the vegetables and fruits were familiar to us, but we saw a few new ones.  It rained again while we were at the farm, so it was quite cool on the long ride back up the river.

There was s heated game of futball (soccer) played in front of our lodge by 8 of the guys who work around here.  We watched the fame from our hammocks.  They were pretty good.

Another great dinner and again early to bed.  This is our final night here.  Judy got a spider bite (or some kind of insect; never saw it or felt it) on her hand while hiking to Lake Sandoval; it is looking nasty and very swollen but there is no medicine available here at the lodge.  She has no fever, so it isn’t a serious matter, just uncomfortable and ugly.  Can’t believe we didn’t bring any meds.  Also cannot believe we forgot to bring our Epi-pens and prednisone and Benadryl.  Of all the places where one might be exposed to an insect bite that could cause anaphylactic shock, the Amazon Jungle is certainly the place.  And we didn’t even think about that possibility.  All that trouble to get medical training and a properly stocked full medical kit, and we forget to bring anything with us to the Amazon Jungle.  Pretty dumb.

September 15, 2006   Friday
Leaving Peru.

Leisurely morning swinging in hammocks until Barli came to collect our luggage.  River boat ride to Puerto Maldonado, where we said goodbye to Barli and hello again to Estevan.  We were now back in the care of the airport transport rep.  Estevan joined us for a walk around the town square park and a passion fruit ice cream cone.  Today was a special day in the park.

There are a LOT of motorcycles in Pto. Maldonado; not many automobiles, but MANY motorcycles.  It is not unusual to see a family of 3 or 4 toodling along on a single motocycle.

Today was Honda day in the park.  Honda sponsors this one day each year.  There was a stage with music and pretty girls and an announcer.  There were also a couple of girl dancers, wearing red bra-type tops and thongs with fringe on their hips.  Estevan said these dancers were doing the typical currently-popular dance of this area.  Hard to describe other than the music was fast and the girls would hold their arms over their heads and bring down while turning in a circle, while at the same time shaking their hips very rapidly.  So they were sort of spinning around which shaking their hips and moving their arms up and down repeatedly.  This now explains the dance movements of the little girls last Saturday night in Aguas Calientes.

Anyway, on this one day of each year, Honda sponsors this rally in the town park.  If your Honda motorcycle needs any service or repair, Honda does it for free!!  There were probably 80 motorcycles parked, lined up waiting for their turn for free repairs.  There were 5 or 6 mechanics constantly working on the bikes.  Of course, not to miss a chance at a sale or upgrade, Honda also had a small tent set up next to the stage with the pretty girls where they were displaying the newest Honda models.  Just like a new car show.  As Bill said:  pretty girls, music, dancers, prizes, and free repairs; how could anyone stay home and miss this.

Our flight stopped in Cusco and arrived in Lima at 4:00 p.m., but Continental doesn’t open their ticket counter until 8:30 p.m.; so we are stuck sitting around the airport for the next 4 hours before we can even check our luggage.  Bill scoped out the airport and found a few places serving food on the second floor.  So we had a McDonald’s hamburger; not our favorite place and we wouldn’t even think of visiting one in the states; but it was great to have a taste of home.  We also found a pharmacy in the airport and bought some medicine for Judy’s spider bite.  It started looking better within a few hours.

Our flight left Lima at midnight and arrived in Houston Saturday at 6:30 a.m.  We had a 7 hour layover before our flight back to Trinidad.  Aaron and Elisabeth met us at the airport with our 4 huge suitcases and duffle bags of things to bring back to the boat.  We made a quick trip to Sam’s Club where Bill had his eyeglasses adjusted.  Hopefully they will not fall off his face now every time he looks downward.  We also bought another case of the foil packed tuna.  This type tuna is great for a boat because the packs take up so much less space than cans and they don’t rust.  Also, the tuna tastes better and doesn’t require any draining.  This is one of our favorite lunches because it is so easy and quick to prepare.  We now will have about 68 packs onboard when we start our passage to Venezuela and points farther west.

We then had a great Mexican breakfast at Taqueria Arrandas.  Really enjoyed having our last Mexican food fix before heading back to areas where Mexican food is non-existent.  That is one thing that we really miss and still crave. 

Uneventful flight home; cleared in Immigration at Port of Spain airport.  The Immigration officer told us that he was giving us 2 days; Judy questioned the 2 days because people are normally only given 24 hours to check in again at Immigration in Chaguaramas after they arrive back in Trinidad at the airport.  The officer again said that he was giving us 2 days.  How nice of him.

After an hour of waiting, our luggage finally appeared on the baggage carousel.  Bill had called Jesse James, the wonderful taxi service owner who was meeting us at the airport.  Jesse explained that we needed to go to a specific door located near Customs and declare any boat parts which we brought back.  We did this and obtained a folded, stapled piece of paper and were instructed to take it to the Customs office in Chaguaramas.  This piece of paper also enabled us to walk straight through the Customs check point instead of waiting through a line of at least 100 people.

We stopped by KFC at Jesse’s suggestion on the ride back to Chaguaramas.  Very glad he suggested this, as there was nothing on the boat to eat and no where else open by the time we arrived back there.  Jesse also informed us that we must go directly to the Customs office and clear in again with that folded, stapled piece of paper.  Good thing that Jesse is so well-informed about what needs to be done down here.  We just assumed that we were supposed to clear in with Customs when we are supposed to clear in again with Immigration again in Chaguaramas.  So, we made a stop at Customs on our way home.  Easiest clearance we have done so far, thanks to Jesse James.

September 16, 2006  Sunday
Coral Cove Marina, Chaguaramas, Trinidad

Note to anyone reading this who might plan to do a similar trip to the Amazon Jungle:  all our clothes, backpacks, and luggage now smells like our thatch roofed jungle hut.  Wish we had brought a bottle of Febreeze to mist over everything when we packed up to leave the jungle.  Absolutely everything must be laundered because it STINKS.  Bill went around to all the people on boats that we know here in the marina and borrowed laundry tokens.  The marina office is not open on Sundays, and Judy had used all our laundry tokens before we left.  Didn’t want to leave any dirty clothes on our closed-up boat while we were on vacation.  Not a good idea in the tropics if you want to avoid mold and mildew.

So Judy spent the day doing multiple loads of laundry.  The laundry room at this marina must have been 120F.  They really need to vent that room.  And Bill spent the day cleaning the outside of the boat, getting ready to leave.   We hope to leave soon.

About 4:00 p.m. Judy decided to check all our paperwork and discovered that the nice Immigration officer at the airport who said twice that he was giving us 2 days had really given us only the standard 24 hours.  So that meant that we had to rush over to Immigration and report in to Chaguaramas.  Had we not done this immediately, we would have had to pay a significant penalty fee.   Just entering the country at the airport Immigration office is not sufficient.  Since our boat is in Chaguaramas, we must also clear in with the Immigration office in Chaguaramas.   Had we checked our passports last night, we could have done this when we checked in with Chaguaramas Customs because the offices are located close to one another.

Now, (this is good) when we got to the Chaguaramas Immigration office, they made us complete a Departure form – because we were required to complete an Arrival form at the airport the night before.  It makes no sense whatsoever why we were required to complete a Departure form when we are not departing yet, but we did what they insisted needed to be done.  And, of course, paid even more fees.  We have now paid a total of $682 TT in Customs and Immigration fees since we first arrived in Trinidad back on July 8.  This is getting a little ridiculous.

Many of us plan to leave together on Tuesday and Wednesday.  We are all heading to Los Testigos, which are a tiny group of uninhabited islands owned by Venezuela.  We will be allowed to stay there only 72 hours; then on to Isla Margarita for a week or so; then on to Puerto La Cruz.  It is advised to travel in groups throughout those waters, so we will basically have a mini-flotilla.  Safety in numbers and all that logic.

We should not have internet access until we reach our next marina in Puerto La Cruz on October 1 (weather permitting).  So there probably will not be any further website updates until then.  Also,  we have several hundred photos of our trip to Peru but probably will not have time to deal with dating and renaming them and uploading to this website today.  That takes awhile.  So, when time allows we will add some of the Peru photos later.

We are very much looking forward to the crystal clear waters of Los Testigos.  Hoping for an uneventful passage.  We bought our required carton of cigarettes to bring on this trip.  Everyone says we will need cigarettes to give to bribe or “tip” officials when they visit our boat, as well as to trade with fishermen.  Some cruisers buy lockers full of cigarettes for this purpose; we only bought one carton.  Hope they like Malboros.

We will be clearing out of Trinidad mid-day Tuesday and moving out of the marina to a harbor at nearby Chacachacare Island.  There will be probably a half-dozen cruisers moving out there today so we will not be alone out there, as it can be a dangerous place.  It is only 6 miles off the very dangerous Paria peninsula of Venezuela, where there are a lot of pirates.  Then we plan to leave Chacachacare about 3 or 4 a.m. Wednesday morning.  We will be buddy-boat sailing with Chuck and Pam Ursey and S/V Helen Louise, which is a boat exactly like ours so we should sail at same speeds.  There likely will be others accompanying us on this passage, but it is hard to stay near one another when you are sailing different sizes and types of boats.  It is really nice that we will be in the company of a boat exactly like ours so that we can stay relatively close together.  Chuck and Pam think they will accompany us all the way to Puerto La Cruz, as they have a reservation at Bahia Redonda Marina—same place we will be staying for the month of October.

So if you don’t hear from us for a few weeks, it is because we don’t have internet service.  We feel like the old Peter, Paul & Mary song:  Our bags are packed; we’re ready to go……

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