Unfortunately, it's been mostly very light and variable winds heading to Huatulco from Zihuat. We've squirted a lot of diesel into our engine, with just a few stretches of 5-8 hours at a time of excellent sailing for the 56 hour passage to Puerto Angel, about 25 miles west of Huatulco.
|Easels set up in the street for kids to paint their own carnival artwork|
|Kids at the market enjoying another kind of "art". This was a video arcade, Mexico style, for guys to play video games in the huge Zihuat market!!!|
|We didn't always understand the skits, but the Brazilian dance troupe spoke a universal language!!!|
|"Burning Man", Zihuat style!|
|Not just a tourist town, Zihuatenejo supports a huge fleet of panga fishing boats.|
|Anchored in a sea of pangas|
We're now anchored in Huatulco, the last good anchorage and marina to hang out waiting for a weather window to cross the Gulf of Tehuantepec, on the Mexico/Guatemala border. This is a roughly 275 mile stretch of water just south of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the narrow (120 mile wide) land bridge separating the Gulf of Mexico on the Atlantic side from the Pacific Ocean. (Before the building of the Panama Canal, this bridge was seriously considered for the site of the canal). Winds can build on the Atlantic side, and roar through the low lying valley of the isthmus, creating gales that can last for several days. One guidebook, Charlies Charts, describes them: "Violent gales, known as Tehuante-peckers can happen at any time.....Their Force 8 or 9 winds raise treacherous, short, high seas which can be experienced as much as 100 miles offshore...."
There are around 10 boats heading south waiting to cross the Gulf now. As you can imagine, there's no end to the strategizing and weather guessing going on. Conventional wisdom is to "keep one foot on the beach", traveling along the shore in around 30 feet of depth. The idea is that if the winds come up, you're close enough to keep any waves from developing, as the winds come off the beach. While this adds around 30 miles to the passage, it's considered a better way to go than straight across.
There are many excellent sources of weather info for the T-peckers, both on-line and via radio. Obviously we're following closely, along with our neighbors in the anchorage. Right now it looks like tomorrow morning or possibly Monday will give us the window we need to make the 2 day passage as pleasant as possible.
Today we filled our fuel tanks (via 7 jerry jugs in the dinghy), and we're looking forward to continuing our journey south. Our next stop will be in Chiapas, (also known as Puerto Madero), still in Mexico, but adjoining the Guatemala border. We will clear out of Mexico at that point.
BREAKING NEWS!!!!! We just checked online, and Cindi's ham radio callsign was just issued. Next time you see her, you can call her KF7UPI !!!