[050429; 1745 UTC; Underway Golfo de Tehuantepec;
14º 56.7' N/094º 16.8' W]
With some degree of melancholy we left Mexico yesterday after sixteen months there. During our last week we took an inland trip to historic and culturally rich Oaxaca and will gush over our adventures there in our next passage note.
After entering international waters yesterday we took down our much faded and frayed Mexican courtesy flag and headed southeast straight across the Gulf, a patch of water that has damaged many boats and frayed many nerves. It's hard to believe 60 knots and 25 foot seas of two weeks ago when we're enjoying gentle swell and 10-15 knots with perfect indigo blue water. It was so flat out here last night that the bright orange moonrise illuminated the water as it would a lazy flowing old river.
During the gale season (just past) winds can rise from modest or calm to 50 or 60 knots in an hour, kicking up enormous steep waves of short period (3 seconds). Thus many who've traveled these waters advise to put "one foot on the beach", meaning coasting along less than a mile offshore in 30-50 feet of water. With low pressure dominating in the Gulf of Mexico and weather wonks predicting no significant weather for six days, we chose to just head offshore and cross away from land and other hazards like unlit fishing pangas, nets, deep draft vessels, etc. A group of eight boats departed almost simultaneously and the group is maintaining a radio roll call twice a day on SSB. One additional boat is one day ahead and another, one day behind.
We're about sixty miles offshore and still about 150 miles from Guatemala and well over 300 miles from Bahia Del Sol, El Salvador and we're going to take it easy and sail as much as possible, meaning our arrival date remains a question. Everyone is settled into passage-making including Jake, who's taken it upon himself to groom Leslie's hair when she's in the off watch bunk.
Our count is up to about 10 turtles, one whale, a handful of boobies, and an unidentified bird that may be a jaeger. We haven't been fishing at all but are eating quite well from our fresh supplies restocked the evening before leaving Huatulco.
Once we arrive at Bahia Del Sol, we will be faced with a bar crossing that's quite a challenge. Luckily there's a Canadian couple who run the facility inside the lagoon and they advise when conditions are right and then come out and coach each and every boat across the bar. When conditions are unfavorable boats anchor off the beach and wait until the next opportunity or move down the coast to Barillas, a facility located about 8 miles up a mangrove river. Reports coming back about Del Sol from friends who made the crossing ahead of us are uniformly enthusiastic, so we're anticipating finding a tropical jungle haven and wonderful people there.
We'll continue to update Winlink and Yotreps with our position daily.
Besos y abrazos,
Philip, Leslie & Jake the kitty
enroute Golfo de Tehuantepec