… A small fishing village on the Ecuadorian coast, where they decided to make for in the quest for freshwater!
Eric Loizeau, our ambassador aboard Race For Water, is sending us regular updates on the behind-the-scenes action on the journey from Panama to Lima… Today, he talks to us about an improvised stopover in Monpiche to fill up the catamaran’s water tanks as a result of a faulty desalinator.
“It was a decision taken by our Captain after our wretched freshwater maker gave up the ghost one last time at the start of the night. From that point, all of a sudden, we launch into a ninety-degree turn eastwards bound for a supposed fishing village, a coastal shelter of Bunny’s childhood friend, nicknamed Mondas, an exiled Breton and manager of an Ecuadorian harbour belonging to the Buddha Bar chain. It’s quite a programme! For your information, there is the exact same thing in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, a tavern I have the honour of having lifelong guest membership of as a ‘summiter’ of Mount Everest…. Let’s just hope that these Mondas beers will have the equivalent flavour in Ecuador for us poor fishermen.
I remind you that this unexpected turn was intended solely to restock our supplies of freshwater so as to nourish our thirsty innermost cells. By curious coincidence and with complete impunity, the god Neptune decided that the same moment was ripe to dowse our little vessel in torrents of rain, a crazy cloudburst which hosed us down throughout the night!
It was in this doldrums-esque atmosphere, reminiscent of Finistère back home, that we made out the sleepy outline of our much-awaited haven in the misty drizzle of dawn.
The closer we got, the lighter it became, dispelling the sense of mystery of this village and its scattering of low-lying houses with undulating rooves, protected from the oceanic onslaught by a kind of riprap, with a beach of palm trees extending out from it where a row of bright-coloured boats were lined up.
Mapped under the name Monpiche, or Mon Pichet (My Carafe in French) as Bunny mischievously calls it, clearly very inspired by the idea of stretching her legs on shore, this unexpected village is to prove to be a beneficial stopover for all concerned. In this way, assisted by a group of likely lads from whom we charter the ‘lancha’ for a fistful of dollars, still the favourite currency here, we’re able not just to recuperate 700 litres of average quality freshwater, but also over 200 litres of drinking water, which will easily keep us going as far as Lima and reassure our tormented captain.
Monpiche is a coastal village boasting around a thousand souls, for whom fishing has always been its primary concern. A few dozen years ago, a myriad of surfers of all nationalities, made landfall here and discovered what they described as splendid waves in the area. The village grew as a result and today you can find hotels here, numerous shops and, to the delight of the ladies, a few market gardeners from the neighbouring mountains, from which Bunny and Johan managed to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables, which will be most welcome for the rest of our voyage and will prevent us from any risk of scurvy.
Naturally, we didn’t deprive ourselves of a few beers at our friend Mondas’ Buddha Bar before heading back out to sea in the late afternoon with the most auspicious of starts, the sun out again in all its glory by way of a prelude to our ritual observation of the Green Flash.