Our trip started out with a little bit of excitement. The starter motor burned out, two hours into the trip, and we were left motoring, but wondering if we would be able to start it back up if we turned off the engine. Considering we were going into a hot spot, we decided the prudent thing would be to head back. We turned around and Mike pulled out the spare starter and started working on it. Sounds easy, not so. I think the kids learned a few more 4 letter words, but he eventually got the new motor in. Nothing is easy when the engine is still hot, you are in constant motion and those pesky bolts keep dropping into the bilge. We did get it working and since our ignition switch was the faulty party, Mike decided to hot wire the engine and skip that step altogether. We are now motoring towards the Mexican border and we feel pretty confident in the new starter. We are enjoying flat seas, so we are able to cook and read and life is pretty comfortable. A Frigate bird landed on our windex at the top of the mast and as Mike was trying to scare it off with the Spinnaker halyard, he lost the halyard, more 4 letter words. Our kids are learning so much from this experience! The kids and I were just singing praise that we were not the ones to leave the ignition switch on, or lose the halyard! In any event, we can't measure the speed of the winds or throw up the spinnaker, but otherwise we are none worse for wear.
Sorry if this is a bunch of minutia. I often wonder if I would want to hear about how someone has a faulty garbage disposal and spent the day fixing it. Probably not, but fixing things is such a constant cruising, it just becomes an integral part of life out here.
Several days later...
We had a fantastic trip down from Zihuatanejo; sea turtles, dolphins and calm seas, it couldn't have been easier. As we closed the coast we started seeing deserted white sand beaches and beautiful little bays. We dropped the hook after three nights at sea in such a bay and crawled into our bunks excited for an uninterrupted night of sleep. Morning brought a fresh enthusiasm for exploration from the whole crew and we packed up and readied the dinghy to go ashore. The steep beach was covered with sea turtle tracks leading up to multiple depressions in the sand. The depressions had baby turtle tracks crisscrossing them, egg casings and even a few baby turtle shells from unlucky immature turtles. Later we found an adult sea turtle skeleton, including a complete skull. The biologist in me wanted to take the skull, but the Mom in me decided not to set a precident for bringing partially decomposed animals aboard our boat. Oh, and it's probably illegal as hell!
As we were returning to the boat Porter scared a Coatamundi (related to our raccoon) off of one of the nests. We went to check out what he had been digging around for and we found 4 newly decapitated baby turtles. Very sad! If we weren't law abiding citizens (national park, endangered species) we might have picked up the other dozen or so turtles and helped them to the water to rescue them from a almost certain death by coatamundi. I bet they would have been pretty cute scurrying down to the beach to the waters edge and paddle walking in to the surf. It would have been pretty amazing to swim out in the perfectly clear water and watch them stick their heads up for air and then dive back down. Too bad the endangered species act prevented us from doing any of that!
Later Zander and Mike went diving and brought back stories of colorful coral and the best reef they have seen, thus far, in Mexico. Zander is pretty proficient with the diving gear and I have a feeling I will be schooled in everything I'm doing incorrectly next time I decide to dive.
We were very much looking forward to traveling inland for a few days to visit Oaxaco and some of the interior of Mexico and colorful textiles, amazing cuisine and ancient towns. However, there is a weather window that will be opening and then closing very rapidly and we feel obligated to try and get through it. Otherwise we could be here for another 10 days or so and we don't want to stay that long. Oh, if only we had infinite time! Instead we are going to brave (as if we have a choice in the matter) the Golfo de Tehuantepec. The weather engine that drives the famous Tehuantepec gales actually comes from the winds in the Gulf of Mexico, on the other side of the continent. The predominate winds blow across the isthmus and are funneled through the mountains, creating a venturi (sp?) effect and accelerating the winds. 40 knots of wind is not uncommon and when we look at the color coded weather maps, the rest of country is in shades of blues and greens and the Tehuantepec is always highlighted in angry reds and oranges. Even the weather faxes look scary! We have no desire to bring our home through a Tehuantepec blow, so we are hoping to slip through this weather window and have the gulf behind us. Because it is a gulf, you instinctively want to take the rumbline (direct line) and save miles, but in this case the prudent course is to hug the coast and if the winds do pipe up, the seas don't have time to build. We are expecting to have an easy passage, although we are taking all precautions; we have stowed the dinghy on the deck and moved all the toys inboard from the outer rails. Mike dove on the boat, checked every square inch of the hull, did all the regular preventative maintenance checks on the engine and filled the fuel tanks. We are ready!
We are hoping to sail all the way to El Salvador on this leg. There are a few places to tuck in if we need to, but we would like to make it the full 500 miles. We would then rest in El Salvador for a few days and wait for the weather to cooperate for the leg to Coast Rica. Northern Costa Rica has some knarly winds as well that we will have to wait for. Porters Birthday is February 23 and he is really hoping for a zip lining experience on his birthday. Not sure we will make it, but we will try. We will keep the spot on and update our position daily.
|Swim call somewhere off the coast of Guatamala|