We left centre town and followed the coastal road North. Manta, Ecuador, is a rapidly growing city with its’ Oceanside waters filled with boats and ships of all sizes. Cruise ships and ocean going cargo vessels are docked, and others wait in line to birth. Across the water, there are possibly one hundred other boats: recreational power boats; sailboats; fishing boats; and, as I passed, a broken wooden row boat with young boys climbing in and out in the surf. The air became filled with the smell of fish, telling us that we were near the fish market. As soon as the fish is unloaded, skilled hands quickly gut and fillet it, and it is quickly whisked away to waiting food stores.
We didn’t stop, as our target was just beyond, and I was anxious to see the rare sight; - wooden seafaring boats, up to 25 metres in length, being built right on the beach. According to “Ecuador infinito”, one of my favorite high quality magazines, “To build a ship about 25 meters long, 7 wide and 3.5 meters at the strut, costs about $ 400,000 and demands the labor of 16 men for four months.” ( I can never decide when to call a boat a ship; however, make a mistake, and a true mariner will let you know very quickly.)
Impossible to miss from the road; there, on a narrow stretch of beach between the main road and the Pacific Ocean, were the large vessels I was looking for, some being repaired and others in various stages of construction.
Few people were working at the time, only a few men digging around the propeller of a fishing boat that was being repaired.
There are not many places in the world where such craft is still practiced; so, I’ll share some photos with you.
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