Is that a hurricane on the horizon?

Overnight, Sans Souci crossed the Gulf of Tehuantepec.

However, conditions can change in the Tehuantepec in an instant. One moment it can be smooth sailing, and moments later, all hell can break loose. This was the case last night, and Jeff was amazed at how quickly the winds came up. By hugging the beach he was able to avoid the worst of it, but still had a long night with plenty of spray.

Through it all, Sans Souci has made great time, and whereas the original schedule was to reach port in Hualtulco Mexico around 3pm today, they are now on track to arrive around 9am. Speed was faster than expected, and fuel consumption below expectations. And, nothing broke. A perfect trip!

The only concern out of all the rocking and rolling is that the sea chest has formed a growing bubble. To minimize the number of thru-hulls (holes) in the bottom of the boat, for taking in sea water, Sans Souci has a common sea chest that all the water feeds into, before being distributed to the various devices that want raw seawater (watermakers, hydraulic cooling pump, a/c cooling pump, generator cooling pump). The system is not meant to have air. A small bubble is fine, but a large bubble can mean trouble. It is usually indicative of some clogging in the strainers or raw water intake, such as “sucking a jellyfish”. In this case, it may have been caused by nothing more than air pushed under the boat by the overnight spent pounding in heavy seas. Once at port, a quick dive under the boat, and a look in the strainers, will tell the tale.

Looking forward, there is a definite cloud on the horizon. To see it, look at this animated chart from, and look at the bottom right corner as we get out to Tuesday and Wednesday (keep pressing the next button below the chart to step forward in time).

You will see a tropical storm, or the beginnings of a hurricane, start to sweep up the west coast of Mexico; starting on Tuesday, and running the same route Sans Souci plans. As soon as Jeff gets into port he will be speaking with our weather router. One possibility is to shorten the stop in Hualtulco, and depart immediately for Puerto Vallarta, staying ahead of the storm. The other is to stay a week in Hualtulco and pass behind it. Obviously, the decision to attempt outrunning a storm would not be an easy one. Unless the weather router feels very strongly that it would be safe, it appears the boat will be in Hualtulco for several days, waiting.

-Ken W

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Credits     |     Video produced by: Rock Steady Media     |     Teletype photo: Arnold Reinhold     |     PDP-11 photo: Trammell Hudson