Voyage of Traveler / Blog

May 26, 2010

Traveler Postcard From Huatulco and Acapulco

Huatulco y Acapulco, Mexico
May 8-17, 2010

Hola,

Wind storm.  The notorious Golfo de Tehuantepec is an area on the Pacific coast of southern Mexico known for extreme northerly wind due to a constant pressure differential in the weather between the Caribbean and Pacific.  It really kicked our butts on the two day passage from Guatemala to Huatulco, Mexico.  The average wind conditions here is a Force 6 (25 knots), with violent gales (Force 8 or 9, 40+ knots) common.  May, however, is usually the calmest month of the year, and the forecast wind was for only 14 to 16 knots.  We experienced, however, 22 to 28 knots, with steep confused seas and breaking 8 to 10 foot waves.  The rough sea conditions is a product of swells, current and wind waves coming from different directions and colliding.  We had at least 50 waves break over Traveler, pounding our dodger so hard I thought it would rip off, for over a nine hour period from 9:00 pm until 6:00 am the next morning. It was not the highest wind we have experienced on this voyage, but it was definitely some of the roughest seas. Neither of us got any sleep, and we not only wore our PFDs, but were teathered in the whole time.  I thought the boat might get rolled over on one of the waves. But we made it, exhausted.  The North Wind 47 was designed and built for conditions like this, and Traveler handled it well.

Huatulco.  We were very happy to make port and went straight to the marina where we took a berth for two nights.  It gave us a chance to clean the boat, dry everything out, do laundry, and catch up on our sleep.  On our same dock, we met Chris Kaman, the 7 ft. tall center for the LA Clippers for the past seven years.  He, his crew of two, and his two friends, were on his boat, a Hatteras 65, “Sasquatch.”  Chris is an avid sport fisherman and didn’t seem to mind at all that other NBA teams were still shooting hoops in the playoffs because he was doing what he loves best: fishing in Mexico.  We all went out to dinner one night, and Chris promised us comped player’s tickets to a Clippers game when we get back–Brian and I are now big Clippers fans.  The next day, my other son, Scott (Brian’s fraternal twin), joined us here for nine days.  We moved the boat just a half mile up the coast to Huatulco’s main bay, Santa Cruz (much more scenic), where we anchored for two more nights.

The End Is Near.  Mexico marks my 61st and last foreign country on my three-year circumnavigation.  It is also the longest shoreline of any country I have visited, and we plan on spending the next five to six weeks working our way up Mexico’s gorgeous and fun Pacific coast.  We also plan a Homecoming and Traveler Crew Reunion at the Balboa Yacht Club on Saturday, July 3 at 2pm, so mark your calendars, and we hope to see you there for our arrival home.

Acapulco.  After an overnight passage, we arrived Acapulco and took a mooring at the prestigious (and expensive!) Club de Yates de Acapulco.  In addition to paying a fee to be on the mooring, we had to pay the yacht club $35/night to use their dinghy dock.  But that gave us privileges, so we could buy drinks at the bar and use the club’s pool and showers.  The first night we went out to dinner at the famous, wacky Carlos & Charlie’s (now called Acapulco Charlie’s) in the center of town on a Saturday night, and then walked around after dinner.  It was quite the scene.  Bungy jumping.  Night clubs.  Motorcycles racing and doing wheelies in the streets.  Huge crowds of people.  I was tired, but Brian and Scott went to a club, Paradise, where it was all you could drink for 200 pesos (about $16), with dancing and a wet t-shirt contest that turned into a raucous strip tease (all professional girls).  Brian and Scott got back to the boat at 0630, just as the sun was coming up, then they slept in until 2pm.  That night we went to see the cliff divers, which is a great show, and I’m sure many of you have seen it before.  But the street scene around the cliff diving was equally amazing: more motorcycle dare devils racing up and down the street and doing wheelies and tricks, all very close to the huge crowd of people–very wild and dangerous.  There is no way this would be allowed in the US.  But the cops here just turned a blind eye and allowed it to go on, for hours! We enjoyed cheap (5 for $2) tacos al carbon y cervezas from a small sidewalk cafe that night.

Next stop, Zihautanejo.

Salud!
Michael
with Brian and Scott

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