NOW.Huatulco...pronounced 'Whatulko', The Marina Chahua is a very pleasant place to stay. The people who work here are friendly and helpful. Clearing out took a little while but was far better than clearing out of Mexico from La Paz. For example in La Paz, it costs about 1500 pesos according to rumour, (divide by 12 to get US$), and takes two days. The Customs, Immigration and the Health department visit your boat. Now what we don't understand is why the Health department visit you when you are leaving...they aren't interested in you when you arrive!? :-)
|The little marina in front of the Port Captain's office.|
what the boats look like inside, because the one guy kept on saying.." Wow so much space down here :-)". This visit costs 300 Pesos, paid to them on the boat....no receipt...They take a copy of the Zarpa and note what approximate time you are expecting to leave and that's it...off they go.
|A street in Huatulco.|
|These trees are one big orange light|
|A hotel at the square by the Port Captain.|
|Puddytat in Huatulco Marina.|
We started the engines at about 25 past 9 released the lines from the dock and left...for Nicaragua....It's about flipping time! :-D
|Bye bye Mexico.|
|Fish feeding frenzy..|
The distance to travel to our next way point, a point across the other side of the Gulf of Tehuantepec, (not Nicaragua), is 268 Nautical Miles and at this speed of 6 knots should take us 40 hours...but the distance to the centre line...marked in blue flags...is about 65 miles...so at 6 knots it will take us about 11 hours to get to that centre line where the wind would be strongest ...that's midnight tonight as it's 12:50 as I write this....then we'll have another six hours left before the wind hits us...we'll only be about 36 NM over that center line but at least the wind will be coming from our port quarter...(kinda on the side and a bit behind us) which is perfect as it will push us along ...so that's the theory...now we have to wait and see if it works out.. :-D...The 'NOAA weather' forecast is as of 06:00 tomorrow we are expecting 20 to 30 knots of wind, 8 ft seas, that's the 36 and 48 hour forecast...the 'Passage Weather' forecast says..mainly 20 to 30 knots starting at 09:00, but there is a small area of wind of 35knots lasting for about 3 hours starting at 09:00....David says that by then we should be beyond the 35 knot area...It will be interesting to see what winds and waves we get and compare them to the forecast...we're lucky this time because it will happen during daylight hours...although we do have a full moon at the moment.......
We are ready for any wind. David has lifted the dinghy a little higher in the davits and tied the stern steady to Puddytat, this stops the dinghy from rocking back and forth and side to side.
|Dinghy..The Limo..lifted in the Davits.|
|Kayak is tied down.|
|The surf boards new home.|
|The dinghy, Flea, is well tied and the yellow safety line is in place.|
|Our course across the Gulf of Tehuantepec..Blue flags show winds course.|
|Another turtle, sans hitch hiker.. :-)|
I'm going to be cooking steak for lunch today...I have some great veg already prepared in the fridge..I think I'll do french fries to go with them......while I'm preparing that I'll bake a Chocolate Brownie cake for night watch...El Capitan just lurves chocolate brownie.. ;-) Whoo-hoo David thinks there are whales outside.....he's checking with the binocs...nah he says...dolphin jumping high out of the water..pooh and they are too far away to see well.
After our very tasty lunch I stood watch whilst David did the dishes, and the chocolate fudge brownie cooled. Then he had a nap in the sun..he looked so comfy and relaxed. I sat in the helm seat keeping an eye on everything till he woke up and then I went for a nap. I always try and nap for at least an hour in the late afternoon when we are sailing long distances.
|Afternoon nap time :-)|
|They're always different..|
We'd been doing really well speed wise. The winds sat at between 8 and 10 knots, we had that 3 knot current running our way and so had been doing speeds of 7 to almost 9 knots.
|15:46 on the 20th Jan.|
|Sunrise 21st Jan 2011.|
10:30 David just put the spinny up, we were going really slow. So now we are back up to 5.5 knots with a 7knot true wind off our Port aft quarter...basically from the gap in the mountains from where we were expecting that 35knots.
|Our position on 21st Jan at 14:44.|
I also don't like scaremongers, they put such unnecessary fear into people. I agree that one should be cautious and work out the pros and cons of a certain decision, but if everyone believed the scaremongers no-one would venture out to see and experience things for themselves....for example, there would be no 'North America' as we know it today if people hadn't decided to go exploring. And lastly The wind would be strongest at the shore, and in a sausage shape that reaches out to sea...but it only reaches out so far and then it weakens...It's worse close to the shore because it's closest to it's 'squeeze' area (through the gap of the mountains)..so theoretically the further out you are, the weaker the wind, though you may experience some highish rollers.
11:30 So here we are far out off the coastline of the Gulf of Tehuantepec crawling along at 4.6 knots S.O.G. It's a little chilly, but I'm nice and comfy sitting in the saloon. David's just told me that this morning the sea temperature dropped to 21deg C that's 69deg F but that it's up to 25deg C now. No wonder the air is cooler.
|Sunset 21st Jan.|
|Sunrise 23rd Jan.|
|Strange light...everything blue..|
|How's this for calm water...|
12:23 the wind is tentatively having a look around...will it stay. I hope so. It stuck around for a while then died...so we just hung out..put some music on really loud, chilled out on the trampoline and decided that we didn't care....so up came the wind and soon we were traveling along at about 5 knots again...ha ha...thing is that then sunset arrives the wind usually dies... We're spending an awful lot of time motoring on this trip...this is not something we like to do. SO we have decided to just hang out again and wait for the wind. David had put the spinny up and we were trickling along at about 3.5 knots. Just for an hour and a half before moon rise a pod of dolphin came to visit and they played around the boat. Dolphin don't usually stick around for so long, but then we were playing music..lovely Feng shui stuff...and maybe they liked it. Well as the night wore on the wind died completely, the water was mirror smooth, the spinny just hung like a limp rag and a tern had come to rest on the trampoline spending the night with us. At about 22:00 David came up and decided to snuff the spinny and dump it on the trampoline, ready to be lifted if the opportunity ever arose. We continued under engine. At 01:00 I went inside and prepared Chocolate fudge brownie mix, putting it into the oven to bake. my plan was for David to wake up to the delicious aroma of baking brownies...ha ha It worked..he was licking his chops when he came up and saw it cooling on the coach roof...ha ha.
Morning...We were under sail from about 08:00, then back on the donk again and at 12;00 David decided to take a nap. Now at 12:50 the wind has come up so I've put the genoa out and reset the main and we're doing 4.5 knots. We're slightly off course but that's OK, we still have 194 NM to Nicaragua so a mile or so off course doesn't make much difference.:-D
So today is our 4th day at sea, it's the 23rd Jan 20011 and tomorrow is David's birthday..And the third Anniversary of the day he bought Puddytat. I'll have to think of a special meal to prepare....This morning I was woken up by sounds similar to a squeaky toy being vigorously squished...weird :-) I stagger up stairs and David says...ha ha you were woken up by squeaky noises...yes I say...it's a couple of Shearwaters he tells me....well I took the camera and belly crawled up to them and took some cool video
footage. There were three of them and some sort of discussion was going on, they are Townsend Shearwaters...so cute..
|Townsend Shearwaters..so cute, soft and cuddly.|
Day 5 ....Happy Birthday David! Yeah so today will be special for him...first his gifts...yes I bought a few...He got some new swim shorts, a roll of 6mm fishing line...to make sure he never loses a fish..and a hand tooled leather scabbard for his Machetti. I think he was quite chuffed with that. Then I made him and egg and bacon breakkies. The wind was kind and gave us a great day's sail. In the afternoon We had a braai. David cooked Arracherra Steak...mega yum!!!, we had it with chips and egg....and a good wine.
Then later we had sundowners and watched the sun disappear below the horizon. A good day.
|Sunrise on David's Birthday....|
We have been complaining a lot about the lack of wind on this trip but you know it could have been that we had rough seas, lots of spray and water coming over the bows, it could have been colder and we could have been quite miserable...so today we decided that it's been a wonderful trip so far...so what if it took us a little longer than we thought..we've had a great relaxing time.
I almost forgot..yesterday when I was taking my nap a shearwater decided to investigate the inside of Puddytat and it landed in our cabin. Of course it got a fright and left little watery reminders all over the place....then, a few minutes later it regurgitated a fish on the floor...poor thing was walking back and forth the like a worried Dad at the birth of his first child....I was worried that if I tried to pick it up it would get flustered and try to fly and then beat itself up as it crashed into things...so I was going to use a cloth and drape it over the bird, then pick it up..I called David down to see this and he just walked up to it and picked it up. Man those birds are so soft and warm and gentle..it didn't try and peck him. He released it through one of the portholes...and it's friends called and squeaked in happiness...so cute...
|Our first Rainbow in ...ummmmm I can't remember when we saw one last..|
|David and the Boobie having a chat...|
|This is Fred the Boobie bird.|
The Puesto del Sol in Nicaragua is WAY expensive!!!
It costs 1.50 US per foot per day for the first two days on the dock OR on a mooring ball.
After two days the mooring falls to US$0.50cents a day and the dock to US$1.00 a day....
The WIFI internet costs US$2.00 a day..per computer! PLUS Electricity costs US$0.45 cents per KW/h
To get to town costs US$10 per person and the bus only leaves once a week, and you need a minimum of 5 people...a special round trip will cost you US$75 with a max 3 hour stay in town...By the way...this marina is empty... so you can't get 5 people together :-p
The guide book says that the pilot to guide you into here is free..it's not it costs US$20.00..and you really don't need one...
The diesel costs between 4 and 5 dollars a gallon...more expensive than in Costa Rica we're told. We just want to buy some fuel and leave.
Well as it turns out we can't buy fuel till we've cleared in...so we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Grin and bear it is what we'll have to do..Maybe it will turn out to be a nice place after all...
The Dock master came around and told us that there is a chicken bus that goes to town and costs US$1 ...so maybe we'll try that..I'm not sure. The Customs and Immigration bods will be here tomorrow to clear us in and out...at 7am.., so that we can leave tomorrow with no problems. I'll let you know what happens in the next update.