Category Archives: fishing

Life by the Sea : South Coast Ecuador

I have a confession to make. So far on this trip we haven’t seen monkeys in the wild. This seems pretty ridiculous given the countries we’ve been through, and it has become a bit of a running joke in the brown bus. We’ve definitely felt their beady eyes on us though, mocking us through the jungle.

Finally, the wildlife viewing stars aligned for us when we stopped in at Sendero Pasaje del Monos, a wildlife reserve on the pacific coast. We were guaranteed monkey sightings and if we were especially lucky, we might even see a sloth. Sloths are particularly hard to spot because they are well camouflaged and as to be expected, don’t move around much. We spent a few sweaty hours in the jungle, grinning from ear to ear and hanging out with a group of cheeky, camera shy monkeys and a very laid-back photogenic sloth.

Monkey 01Sloth 01 Sloth 02

We found a section of private beach near Salango and set up camp for the night, where Mark was able to do a few repairs and adjustments on the van. It was also the perfect place to drink some whiskey around a driftwood fire.

Just as we were settling in for the night, the cops crashed the party. I looked at Mark “shit, we’re in trouble”. We went through the usual routine, the where are you from questions and the checking of passports. Of the three cops, two looked to be about 18 years old and were grinning sheepishly the entire time. I pointed to the fire “una problema?”, no problems there. Our campsite on the beach was fine too.

Turns out, you can’t drink alcohol on Sunday in Ecuador (this was contradicted at the tire repair shop earlier that day, where everyone was wasted before noon). The police pretended to confiscate our whiskey, then returned it promptly saying “para Lunes” (for Monday). Why thank you officers! As my Granny once said, “it’s not a good party unless the police show up at least once”.

Salango 01 Salango 02 Salango 03 Salango 04 Salango 05

As we were back on the coast, it was time to look for waves. We eventually rolled into Playas, which on first impression is a rather uninspiring town. It’s the quiet beaches on the outskirts, that are the draw card here.

Dusty desert landscapes, friendly people, good seafood and great camping about sums it up. There are also a cluster of right-hand point breaks along this stretch of coast, but they were a bit scary for me. If possible I think my surfing got worse. I don’t think I’m ready to graduate from the bunny slopes just yet. 

Playas 02 Playas 03 Playas 04

Nestled between two point breaks, this campsite was one of the best. It was perfect for watching the waves and the sunset.  After two nights here we were told by some locals that robberies are common near this beach. We saw no signs of trouble, but being unable to claim ignorance anymore, we thought we’d do the right thing and move on. 

Playas 05Playas 06Playas 07 Playas 08 Checking out break numero dos.

This other little fishing village seems almost deserted, until you gaze out at the foreshore where over a hundred boats cluster together in organized chaos. It was captivating to watch the fishermen preparing the boats in the morning, and then launching them out to sea.

Men shuffle under the weight of their outboard motors as they lug them on their shoulders down to the beach. The launching process then requires a lot of rhythm and some rolling logs placed under the boats as they are pushed out to sea. They really seem to take a lot of pride in their boats. They are handmade, and painted brightly, usually with biblical names emblazoned along the sides (Jhonny Alberto was our favourite, and one of the few exceptions).

Around 2pm the boats return with their first haul of the day, prawns. We cooked up a delicious feast with some of these tasty suckers for a steep $3.

Playas 09 Playas 10 Playas 10aPlayas 11Playas 13  Playas 15   Playas 16Playas 14Playas 17 Playas 18

This village is also the home of a pretty decent right point break. These photos don’t really do the waves justice, some massive sets were rolling through and the take off was precariously close to the rocks. Mark snapped these pics and it wasn’t long before he had a list of names, and the email addresses of excited locals who wanted copies of their photos.

Playas 19 Playas 20 Playas 21

For one night only, the clouds lifted and the sky was alight with a magical burnt orange sunset. On the coast, this is definitely my favourite time of day.

Playas 22

At night the fishermen return late.  This time with fish, their second haul for the day. We camped right on the point and watched the action. Our new campsite also meant that Mark could hit the water for an early morning/smaller wave session. I went for a run on the beach and caught a fish. With a stick. A pretty tasty fish stew was on the menu that night.

Playas 23 Playas 24 Playas 25 Playas 26

It was time for one last push to the mountains of Ecuador, where we drove up through the clouds to Parque Nacional Cajas.

Cajas 01Cajas 03 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Cajas 05

We finally made it to Cuenca and went out for a delicious meal at Salvia, a newly opened restaurant, owned an operated by an English couple in a restored antique house. The setting was beautiful and we were transported back to the English countryside, where we indulged in a phenomenal three course meal and a bit too much wine.

There was much to celebrate though, Ecuador has been truly amazing. Such friendly people, good surf and awe-inspiring vistas. Oh, and it was pretty easy on the old purse strings too.

Cuenca 01 Cuenca 02

So once again, and hopefully not for the last time we yelled “ECUADOOOOOR”. Next stop, Peru.

Posted from: Lobitos, Peru.

Todos Los Santos

We met some some fellow travellers at Los Cerritos (a surfing beach near Todos Santos), thanks again to a little VW magic. We had heard that you weren’t really allowed to camp on the beach, but we felt that we had safety in numbers and ended up having a trouble free night. Our band of banditos were a couple from Holland in a monster truck, a couple from Belgium in a VW van, and an Aussie guy on a motorbike. Everyone seemed to have vino that needed drinking.



The next night we caught up with Michelle and Lars, some awesome friends of friends. They showed us a splendid time, making us dinner, plying us with wine and giving us a safe place to park the van. Oh, and we had SHOWERS!! We also caught up with them for American Thanksgiving and watched the whales from their rooftop patio.


It was then time to pick up Mark’s parents from the airport, and head back to the luxury villa that they had rented for the week in Todos. Todos is a little artsy town with lots of “Gringo” locals. We relaxed REAL hard.


47 Todos Santos - 11Buying fish from the local fishermen.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe didn’t have much luck with the fishing ourselves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe had lots of yummy home cooked meals. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMark’s homemade ceviche.


47 Todos Santos - 22Out on the town. 


We had an awesome relaxing week, taking a welcomed holiday from our holiday. Oh, and I forgot to mention….THE BABY TURTLES!!!


I’m a Going Fishing

We were driving out of Valdez and a couple of hours down the road we crossed the Copper River. There were a bunch of people lined along both sides of the bank fishing. We decided to have a closer look and stopped to see people just hauling in salmon, one after the next. Everywhere we’d been so far people had been saying “you’re just a bit early, the salmon will be running soon”. Finally we were in the right place at the right time.

The Inspiration

The Inspiration

We checked into the aptly named King for a Day RV Park, got ourselves some licences and a bit of tackle and were raring to go. The saying “like shooting fish in a barrel” would seemingly apply in this situation. Some guys made it look just too easy. We perhaps had a bit of false confidence going in; however, it was still a lot of fun. A lot of fish got away and Mark apparently hooked two massive ones that broke the line. Unfortunately I wasn’t there, so cannot vouch for him on this one.

Fisherman or Gentleman?

Fisherman or Gentleman?

I caught what one guy referred to as ” a nice looking white fish” and we cooked up a pretty tasty dinner with the pathetic supplies that we had in the van. Obviously I was singing away “you can bet your life that your sweet wife is gonna catch more fish than you”.

Waiting, Waiting

Waiting, Waiting

My Little Fish

My Little Fish

Dinner - Salmon in a Spicy, Garlic, Tomato Broth

Dinner – Salmon in a Spicy, Garlic, Tomato Broth

After dinner with determination and stronger line Mark set out again. This time he caught a fairly decent sized fish and was pretty pumped.

Big Fish

Big Fish

Mark obviously wanted to keep fishing; however, we didn’t have anywhere to store any more fish. Although we have a fridge Mark hadn’t gotten around to hooking it up. What I have learnt is that there is nothing like fishing to motivate a man. He stayed up late that night wiring up the fridge so that he could go fishing again in the morning.

Hobo House? Fridge Wiring Process.

Hobo House? Fridge Wiring Process.

Now I have  a cold fridge, full of fresh salmon and couldn’t be happier.

Here are some food pictures from salmon week.

Salmon Burgers with Wasabi Mayo

Salmon Burgers with Wasabi Mayo

Salmon Coconut Madras

Salmon Coconut Madras

Crispy Salt and Pepper Skin

Crispy Salt and Pepper Skin

Salmon with a Creamy Dill Sauce and Veg

Salmon with a Creamy Dill Sauce and Veg