Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Our Day in Manta, Ecuador

We arrived at our first stop in the Pacific, Manta, which is a major deepwater port in Ecuador and a major source of Pacific Yellowfin Tuna and Shrimp. The port was chock-a-block with fishing boats and one was anchored across the quay from us. All day, and I mean all day, they were busy unloading frozen  tuna from the hold of the ship using the net you see in the picture into containers. When each container was full another took its place – load after load. Amazing.

During the afternoon we went on a tour of Manta and adjoining areas. First we went to the market place in Montecristo which is famous for being the home of the Panama hat. We spent an hour during which we got caught in a brisk downpour wandering through the market. They had beautiful blankets and scarves (llama though they said Alpaca) some of which we bought and Merle bought a lovely Panama sun hat – very cute.!

We then drove a short way to a factory in the mountain where they use a form of sisal to make bags, placemats etc. Merle bought a fan from the cute little girl behind the counter. The place seems really poor and they do lovely work with the resources at hand

Then we went to an Ivory Nut Factory. This place takes the nut from a form of Coconut – looks like a golfball and hardens to a solid consistency, then they carve it or slice it and make buttons etc. It looks just like ivory when dry – hence the name. Merle has some beautiful carved pieces at home – works of art – that are made from this material but this place was less sophisticated.

looking for discarded buttons!!!

Finally on the way back to the ship passed the “shipyard” on the beach. Watched how the locals build their fishing ships the old way – local materials; hand hewn and nailed. Also a fascinating sight.

this is beachfront property in Manta BTW!

Now back in the cabin. Tomorrow back at sea and on our way to Callao the port of Lima Peru.

For the grandkids. Just wanted you to know that President Teddy Roosevelt has played a big part in the places we have been – He was responsible for leading the construction of the Panama Canal and while there saw the hats we saw today. Although they are made in Ecuador he called them Panama Hats ‘cause that’s where he saw them!!


  1. Those ships are incredible... Yellowfin tuna guilt. Smooth sailing!

  2. So fascinating! We went to Sagamore Hill this past summer (Teddy's summer home) and learned about the hats but wasn't aware that they were actually from Ecuador either. Love all the tidbits you're providing. Xo

  3. Love the presidential updates ... We haven't yet been to Teddy's gravesite