Ecuador - Round The World Tour 3 2004 Day 402 (212)

On board NEMO I

Thursday 14th April (2005)

Today was a complete disaster for me. During the night, I’d developed a bit of a tummy bug and was up and down to the toilet every half hour. I was so lethargic and tired by morning with aches and pains all over that I could not even get out of bed. I ended up spending almost the entire day in bed trying to fight off whatever it was that was ailing me. Sandy checked my temperature several times throughout the day and it seemed to continue to climb. It wasn’t dangerously high but at thirty-eight point four degrees Celsius (one hundred and one point two degrees Fahrenheit), it was enough for me to decide to start in a regimen of Cipro antibiotics. Naturally, I missed the diving as well as the day’s island excursions. As it turned out, I wasn’t the only one suffering; one other passenger as well as the captain had also succumbed to a tummy bug. We couldn’t identify the source since those of us that were ill had not eaten the same food. Also, plenty of others that had eaten the same food were not ill so it’s hard to say what the problem was. I was so tired throughout the day that I could barely make it out of the cabin to eat. All I could manage was an apple for lunch and a bowl of pot noodles for diner. The other passenger that was ill seemed to be making a recovery by the end of the day but my fever hadn’t broken by late afternoon so Sandy spoke to Juan Carlos and he decided to take me to a doctor when we reached Puerto Ayora, which is where we were heading.

There had apparently been a bit of a problem with one of the two catamaran’s engines and by the time we reached Puerto Ayora, it was with the aid of the main sails. The engine problem turned out to be a broken O-ring that the ship’s engineer was able to fix. The other main news of the day was an apparent uprising in Quito. We were somewhat concerned about our flights being potentially affected by this turn of events but the whole thing turned out to be a little more subdued that we were first led to believe. There’s nothing like a good revolution every now and then.

There is a fine recompression facility in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz and Juan Carlos took Sandy and I to see one of the two doctors there. We only had to wait about ten minutes before going in to see the doctor and Juan Carlos was able to translate between the Spanish-speaking chap and myself. His prognosis was mild dehydration with a possible stomach parasite. His recommendation was to continue with the regimen of Cipro, that I’d already started, for the next four days and to take a one-time dosage of parasite busting tablets. According to the doctor, 90% of people that pass through Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, including many of the locals, will pick up the amoebic parasite. He said I could take Ibuprofen for the headache as needed. He also gave me a prescription for a stool sample analysis should I not start to feel better by tomorrow. The doctor’s visit together the parasite tablets I bought from them their at the facility’s pharmacy set us back US$42 (€32,31), which we paid using our MasterCard.

Quite by coincidence, we bumped into the same couple that we spent the day with in Quito, Alyson and Albert, at the dock. They had arrived for their Galapagos Islands cruise. Sadly, we had just enough time to say hello and goodbye again on our way to the doctor. We also saw one of the Canadian couples that we had dined with in Puerto Ayora before the start of the cruise. They passed us by in a water taxi. It seems that we are always bumping into people that we’ve met before here.

We lent Juan Carlos some cash this evening. I didn’t bother to ask what the circumstances were. He seemed to be going out of his way to take care of me and it will probably just come out of his tip anyway so things will work out in the end.

We stopped in at the supermarket on the way back from the doctor to pick up a few bottles of Gatorade. The doctor wanted me to drink a bottle of water and then a bottle of Gatorade alternately throughout the day. This is apparently the best way to keep from dehydrating. I also took the opportunity to stock up on chocolate too - after all, I do need my energy.

The crew on the NEMO I are really nice. None of them speaks much English but the cook was very concerned that he might somehow be responsible for the apparent outbreak of illness aboard. We couldn’t isolate a single food source that was common to the three people that have been affected so we’re not convinced that there is a commonality at all. I also later learned that the captain had suggested that Juan Carlos remained on board for the evening since there were a couple of people that were not feeling too well. There have been several of these small clues that has highlighted just how well the crew has been looking out for the best interests of its passengers.

We’d missed dinner by the time we got back to the boat but I really wasn’t much felling like eating anyway. I ate an apple to aid in taking my two huge parasite tablets and went straight to bed following Juan Carlos’ briefing for tomorrow.