Thursday 12th June
Some wind - but from astern so still had to motorsail to make sure of Guatemala landfall in daylight. In fact, with such light winds, apart from when rain clouds were around, the onshore/offshore cycle due to the land heating/cooling effect was noticeable both yesterday and today. Got a fright early this morning during the rain when there was a clap of thunder and a lightning flash right by us.... but it was an isolated one, TG.
As I was getting closer to Quetzal, angling closer to the low-lying coast, I suddenly saw a small fast boat astern of me - 17 miles offshore... with 30 miles to go still. Later I saw two more - both clearly small open fishing boats, each with 3 fishermen - seemed to be checking out pots marked with clearly-flagged buoys and seemed perfectly friendly.
When I made my entry through the breakwaters and called the Port Captain on the VHF, he directed me toward a marina - to my surprise - obviously a new one not in my pilot! I finally found it & moored up - despite his misleading directions.... and was soon visited by a marina guy for moorage fees and also by an agent for my check in & out paperwork ... Despite my protests at the expense, I gathered it was going to cost me, for just one night, in order to re-fuel the next morning: US$72 for the night
at the marina and US$150 for the check-in & out (five copies of all documents are needed!).... I couldn't believe how expensive this stop for fuel is turning out!!! And I haven't got to the fuel dock yet!!
I've been busily reading up on Mexican weather and getting familiar with timings for weather fax downloads ready for my imminent passage across the dreaded Tehuantepec & on up the Mexican coast ... the more I read, the more worried I get - I knew this was not a good time to be headed north but hadn't realized that mid-June hurricanes are not unusual... and the season here often seems to start with a bang and end with a whimper rather than the other way around, as in the Caribbean. "Don't go offshore,
that's where the hurricanes form... stay inshore for safety"! So please keep your fingers (and everything else!) crossed for me - VERY tightly!! Crossing the Tehuantepec will take two and a half days and another day on up the coast to Acapulco (where I was thinking I should refuel since it looks very easy there). Another day to Zihuatanejo and four to Cabo San Lucas, over two to Turtle Bay, assuming sailing up the Baja is feasible - I could well find strong northerly winds there & will either have
to wait for them to diminish or have to head out to sea instead - but at least the hurricane threat should be far less once I get up towards the top of the Baja peninsula - just 'normal' gales from then on!!!
Having acquired an agent for my check-in & out here, he appeared later to ask if I would accept my 'official' visit tonight rather than the morning - so at about 9.30pm local time (one hour ahead of the time I've been keeping!) I found the Port Captain, Customs official and Immigration officer all on board with my 'agent' to check things out (actually just sat around and chatted pleasantly, insofar as my Spanish would allow, since they had almost no English!) and I found my passport had been already
stamped for 'in' today and 'out' tomorrow, with the essential Clearance Certificate promised for the morning whilst I'm refuelling - I was also only charged $100, not $150 - so a reduction had been negotiated by my agent as a result of my pleadings - my Spanish can't be so very bad, perhaps!!
Looking at a fax that downloaded while they were here, I can see a Tropical Wave in the Gulf of Mexico - those are what can develop a 'wiggle' & give rise to Tropical Storms and Hurricanes so I must keep an eye on that wave - and others coming after. Usually, they're three days apart.... hey ho... can't complain life is boring, that's for sure!! My trysail and storm staysail are already hanked on, almost ready to go... let's hope I won't need them - or if I do, that I can handle them!