Tranquillo Tehuantepec!

Tuesday morning we left our slip in Huatulco and motored around the corner to Tangulunda Bay and dropped the anchor. We anchored right in front of what used to the Club Med (now Las Brisas) where I had taken the kids many years before. Mike quickly went to work cleaning Mermaid’s hull and I on the waterline. For such an elegant lady, Mermaid sure can grow a thick beard!
Wednesday we woke to an amazing sunrise. It was disorienting to see the sun rise from a different direction. East seemed to have moved… We had finally rounded the corner in Mexico and it was just a little disorienting. We checked the weather sites closely and had David check and call us. It seemed this was our weather window to cross the dreaded Tehuantepec. We had decided to depart around 4:00 pm to arrive in the morning on Friday. We went about making sure everything was “sea ready” just incase the forecasts were wrong. We relaxed, read and swam.
Finally it was time to go. We hoisted the anchor, waved adios to Pegasus (who was leaving an hour later), set the main sail and headed to sea. We were treated to an amazing sunset and a calm evening. As the night went on the seas became flat calm. We stayed close to shore until we reached Salina Cruz and when we found no wind at all we headed across the Gulf. We were a little nervous crossing the middle and hoped that the feared Tehuantepec wouldn’t wake up.
It was the most clam night ever! Flat seas, no wind and a current pushing us! We had expected an adverse current but found the opposite. We were cruising at over 7.5 kts and even 8’s. We both slept great on our off watches as Mermaid flew across the flat seas. We woke to a beautiful site of completely calm seas – oh what a beautiful site! The sea looked like a mirror and there were sea turtles floating and resting everywhere. We must have seen thousands (at least) during this part of the trip. Many had birds resting on their backs. We were very surprised to see long lines way out here!
Our concern was that we were going too fast and would arrive during the night so in the afternoon we turned the engine off and expected to just drift sail (very slowly). Wouldn’t ya just know – we sailed at 5kts and that didn’t slow our arrival by much. Finally the little bit of breeze went completely behind us and we rolled up the jib and fired up Henry and started motoring again.
We slowed the engine to idle and still were making 5kts so finally we turned the engine (Henry) off and with only a main tried to kill time. We could see Chiapas and just waited off shore until daylight. There were fishing boats, pangas and a navy boat near us. We dodged them watched them as they passed by. At one point, brights lights (lots of them) came on right in front of us! Wow, a shrimper that had been crossing our bow with no lights on suddenly lit up like a city. I woke Mike (10 minutes early) and had him help me watch as I changed course to go around the boat. That got our adrenaline going!
As the sun rose, we dropped the main, hailed the Port Captain and headed into the breakwater. We were surprised that right after asking the Port Captain for permission to enter the Harbor Master hailed us and told us that two men would be waiting to help with our lines.
We followed the red and green markers to the harbor. This was the most clearly marked channel we had seen in Mexico. As we arrived in Marina Chiapas there were some men waving their hats at us and pointing to what would be our slip. They took our lines (always makes us nervous!) and gently tied Mermaid into her slip as they welcomed us to Chiapas. Shortly Memo (runs the office) came out to welcome us to Chiapas and explained that someone from the Port Captains office would come to check us in then we should come to his office and he would check us in the marina.
A few minutes later a panga arrived with two (very friendly) uniformed men to check Mermaid in. We sat in the cockpit while the did an amazing amount of forms and welcomed us with beautiful smiles to Chiapas. As they waited for Pegasus to arrive we all had a cold juice in Mermaid’s cockpit. We decided we liked this place. Pegasus arrived and the officers left Mermaid so we headed to the office. We sat in Memo’s air conditioned office while he and Enrique the Marina Manager welcomed us and checked us in the marina. He was very friendly and kept telling us to feel free to come in and ask for any info we needed. What a warm welcoming place Chiapas is!
Several boats that we met in Hautulco were already here and on our dock with very different stories about their crossings. Boy, what a difference a day makes! I was very glad that we had done our own weather routing (with David’s help)! The three boats that left the day before us had a Tehuantepecker! One blew their sail out of the track and the others had tales of high winds and rough seas. We decided then and there that we would continue to do our own weather routing.
There was a gathering on the dock and a tequila tasting by Macaw Tours to explain the tours the offered around the area. We signed up for a trip (overnight) to Guatemala departing Tuesday and do some of their others after that. We then went to dinner at the restaurant in the marina with James and Charlotte to celebrate Charlotte’s birthday and our lovely crossing. We had a great meal, laughed a lot and then went to Pegasus for their wonderful espresso. The lack of sleep caught up with us so we returned to Mermaid and bed.

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