One Foot On The Beach

(Guatemala, Mexico Border)

Sans Souci has just entered the Gulf Of Tehuantepec. This giant 200 mile wide bay is where the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific are seperated by only 100 miles of fairly flat land. Any inbalance in air pressure between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific causes the wind to flow, fiercely, and often without warning. Many boats have sunk taking the short cut across the mouth of the Gulf of Tehuantepec.

By hugging the beach, when the winds are from the north, the terrain shields the boat from the wind. On our run south last year, I set up to hug the beach, but had absolutely calm seas, and ran most of the way about 5 miles off shore.

Jeff says that this is the best weather he has seen. The rain has finally stopped, and he has a gentle wind behind him (from the south east), which is providing a very comfortable ride. He cut the rpm to 1300, to conserve fuel, and is still running at 9.7 knots. The only adverse condition is a large 10 foot swell coming from the south, indicating some sort of disturbance farther out in the Pacific.

Later today, the winds are expected to shift to the north, in classic Tehuantepec style, and run 30 knots. The strong north wind, combined with the strong swell from the south, will not mix well. By hugging the beach, the wind should pass harmlessly overhead.

The good news is that all is going extremely well. An “indication of how well” is that most of our conversation this morning centered around the computer mouse we use for navigation on the boat. It has died, and new batteries seem not to help. We tried a few experiments, but it appears to be a dead mouse, and all attempts at resusitation failed. Nobeltec (the nav software) can be controlled from the keyboard, and there is a little track ball on the keyboard, but it’s still annoying not to have the mouse. You know life is good on the boat when this is what we are discussing in the morning briefing….

Also on the good news front: Fuel is looking very good. Sans Souci has three primary fuel tanks, each holding approximately 1,000 gallons of fuel. Jeff has been running off just the forward tank, and guesses he will just barely start digging into the starboard tank as he approaches Hualtulco, where we’ll top off the tanks again.

The goal is to arrive in Hualtulco Mexico tomorrow around 3pm. There is a tropical storm brewing a few hundred miles north, off of Acapulco, so the plan is to stay put until the weather router gives a green light.

-Ken W

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