Category: Boat Work

Huatulco – Mexico Tourism Refined.

Upon arrival at Marina Chahue in Huatulco, we were greeted by some agro-lookin policemen. I looked at Court and wondered what we did (she did) to garner such a welcoming committee. It turns out they were simply there to catch our dock lines and give us a copy of the Marina rules…all in Spanish. Marina Chahue is another product of FONATUR, Mexico’s governmental tourist department. More interesting, the entire area was developed by FONATUR. This agency’s philosophy is to build it and they will come. Sometimes they don’t. But here, they came.

Photo Credit

Click HERE for photo credit.

Marina Chahue is the place most cruisers use to begin the waiting game to cross the dreaded Tehuantepec Bay. This is a body of water that is not to be taken lightly. Every three days or so, a gap wind is accelerated from the Gulf of Mexico and blows stink out into the Pacific side. Large wind waves in excess of 20 feet are not uncommon with winds exceeding 40 knots. The challenge is that you need a solid 2-3 day weather window to get across before the cycle repeats itself.

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The pink magenta color is approaching 40 knots of wind. This kind of wind could blow you 200-300 miles out to sea.

The entire area surrounding the marina is really in its’ infancy of growth and development, maybe 7-10 years max. Most notable is the absolute lack of trash, garbage, litter. It is an amazingly clean place with beautifully landscaped areas, complete with flowing water fountains. They also planned that vacationers would be walking around quite a bit and thus built amazing walking paths.

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I got into a routine of running in the morning while the weather was still reasonably cool. We did an epic tour up to some waterfalls where the kids had a blast on the rope swing. We also enjoyed a few nice meals out in the little town of La Crucecita.

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Towards the end of our stay, we hired the services of a bottom cleaner to dive on our boat and clean up the marine growth that was starting to accumulate. Joel is a great resource for just about any of your boating needs. One thing to know, the harbor master does not allow bottom cleaning in the marina so you have to day-trip, with Joel, over to Bahia Santa Cruz to get the work done. We had no issues with the fuel dock either (at the Marina), even though it is ginormous and could handle a small cruise ship. Just be sure to let the Harbor Master now you are wanting to fuel up so he can make sure the guys are there. It was also the cheapest diesel we have paid for since we began cruising in 2014 at $2.45 gallon.

Our T-pecker weather window finally arrived and we slipped the dock lines around noon for our continued journey south!

 

Where the heck is YOLO? Part 2 of 2

We returned to Mexico on December 30. YOLO was on the hard at the Fonatur Marina in Guaymas, right where we left her back in June. You never really know what you are going to return back to after your boat has been closed up and sitting in the summer desert heat of dusty Mexico. Fortunately, everything was just fine. We had a tremendous load to get onto the boat. This is not an easy  task to achieve when she is sitting 15 feet in the air. The project list was lengthy prior to splash, including the assembly and installation of a brand new roller furler and headstay. It was a daunting job but with the help of my highly capable first mate Coco, we were successful in getting it done. We were back afloat after a week of hard work and then completed the remainder of odd jobs while in the slip at the marina.

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We set sail for destinations south on January 15. Day one was nice and then it wasn’t. We had strong winds slowly build from directly behind us, peaking at 25 knots. You would think this would be a great thing, the wind just pushing you along. Well it isn’t. It creates a very uncomfortable rolling motion and is hard to hand steer and also hard on the auto pilot, as it gets confused by that same rolling motion. The sails don’t always know which way to fill so they tend to flop back and forth. This also means that we were all feeling the effects of mal-de-mer. Suprisngly, nobody vomitted. By day three the winds had moderated a bit and the conditions were somewhat nicer. We sailed (no motoring at all) for a full 36 hours. We hooked onto a sizable Dorado (Mahi Mahi) toward the end of day three as well. We were surprised by how damn cold the nights still were. Approaching abeam Mazatlan, we decided to push on, as we were still in sweatshirts and long pants. We wanted to get warm. Late in the afternoon on Day 4 we passed by Isla Isabel, an anchorage we explored last season. Our final night was the most rough- winds occasionally touching on 30 knots, seas of 6-8 feet and the occasional breaker over the stern. Fortunately, being a center cockpit, we were able to stay mostly dry. After making the turn into Banderas Bay, conditions eased up and we motored in calm conditions to La Cruz Marina. It was great to arrive and see so many familiar boats and faces!

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As many have heard, Marina La Cruz is absolutely Kid Boat Central. There is even a marina employee (Katrina) who tirelessly plans and organizes fun events and activities for the kids to do. Movie nights, Camps, Arts and Crafts, Robot Building, Waiter for a Day, and the list goes on. Fun stuff. For the grown ups, there are a multitude of cruising seminars to attend. But after a few weeks in La Cruz, you kinda get tired of the schedule and we were ready to get moving south again.

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We departed the la Cruz anchorage late in the afternoon with a small flotilla including s/v Enough and s/v Terrapin. We had a brisk sail across Banderas Bay but eventually the winds died down enough to warrant the old Iron Genny. We made good time around Cabo Corrientes and dropped the hook in the Perula anchorage of Chamela Bay. We had a fun beach day with our buddy boats. The kids had a blast getting slammed by sizable surf in the ocean. Good food and good times were had by all.

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After two nights in Perula, we decided to check out some of the anchorages and islands the are not quite so frequented by cruising boats in the Chamela Bay. Our first island had a very inviting long sandy beach and some descent snorkeling. We also hosted the first ever Beach Olympics on this very beach. Competition was intense. Later that night, the Closing Ceremony festivities were held aboard s/v Terrapin. A shirt was ruined during the course of the evening but no other casualties.

The sweet spot in Chamela is actually an unmarked anchorage that even has some good surfing! I won’t post the location here on the blog but would be happy to reply to any emails if interested in this hidden gem’s location. We loved it so much it took us another 5 days to break away. Provisions were running low and YOLO made way for Barra de Navidad and all the comforts of a resort and marina.

We are currently on our 11th day here in Barra. The kids are in heaven with access to a 3 tiered pool with interconnecting water slides. There are also a handful of new Kid Boats that we have met here. The icing on the cake is “The French Baker” who literally pulls up to your boat every morning offering the finest in French baked goods. Life doesn’t suck. Tomorrow we head south for Santiago and eventually Zihuatanejo!

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