Tuesday 0600GMT - Passing S of the busy port of Lazaro Cardenas... Having to stand watch overnight for most of the time.
'Bicente' was ahead and clearly changed course slightly to avoid getting too close - passed by our port side a good two miles off - the beauty of AIS - I can 'see' them, they can 'see' me!
Next ship, coming from astern, is 'Kukulcan' - their course is showing them passing rather close - about one mile off. We'll both keep a careful watch to make sure that happens but first they need to avoid 'Bicente'- Looks as though they'll pass each other 'port-to-port', with room to spare.
Frequent short exchanges between ships around have been heard on the VHF but when I called 'Bicente' earlier, to confirm our plan of action to avoid collision, my plotter was affected and I had to reset my instruments - the plotter was telling me I'd completed my track, so the AP had no data to work with...! Annoying but quickly resolved, although I wasn't keen, after that, to contact either ship by VHF.
So long as I hold my course, they can alter course slightly if they need to and all is well. Oncoming vessels usually pass port to port and an overtaking vessel must keep clear - lessons we've all learned! Bottom line is to avoid collision at all costs - so stand by to jump to the wheel!!
0630 GMT - the two ships are just passing each other astern of us, 8 miles off. 'Kukulcan' should overtake us in just over an hour's time... I'll have to wait to make sure all is well... Local time is 1.30 a.m. Sleep will be made up over tomorrow in snatches...
0700 GMT - I tried to contact 'Kukulcan' who are still showing as though they'll pass very close - too close for comfort - but .... a language problem... I THINK they indicated that they'll pass us on their starboard side... but I'm not sure... They weren't clear... All I heard was the word 'starboard'. Maybe they'll pass to starboard of us? The main point is that they know we exist - that's got to be good news since they'll hopefully avoid us! (I'm standing by the wheel, just in case....!)
0730 GMT- They look to be heading as though to pass our starboard side...
1430 GMT / 9.30am LT Wow, but it's busy and has been all last night...! I'm seeing nine ships within 50 mls of us, with a lot more in the port of Lazaro Cardenas. Must be all the shipping heading between Panama and all points N of here coming together along this coast now.
We're presently 20 n.ml. S of Zihuatanejo, with Acapulco 106 n.ml. off - should be docking there this time tomorrow for fuel.