Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Feliz Navidad

We’re thinking of all of our family and friends today and most days, really. We’re still in Zihuatanejo, but we’re continuing south today. We delayed our departure so that the Tehuantepec winds could die down at our destination (Huatulco) when we’re due to arrive in three days.

We moved to the anchorage at Zihuatanejo’s Playa Maruda on the 23rd. When we arrived, we found a spot next to Volcano, in front of Wingstar. Another Baja Ha-Ha 2007 boat, Tribute, is on the other side of us, but we’ve never talked with them. (Volcano moved on to Isla Ixtapa yesterday.) Casteele followed us to Zihua and anchored on the other side of Volcano.

The first evening here we enjoyed a lovely evening aboard Casteele getting to know Jan and Joan better. Tom and Sue from Volcano were there too. They were both in the merchant marines, and the rest of us were glad to learn more about how those huge commercial ships see us little sailboats. In their onshore lives, Jan is in residential real estate in Seattle, and Joan is a book editor. Jan and Joan are heading to Huatulco tomorrow, and we’re looking forward to returning their hospitality aboard Solstice while we’re there. If all works out OK, we’ll buddy-boat with them through the Tehuantepec and possibly on to Panama.

The winds in the Tehuantepec are a major consideration for cruisers in the area. Northerly winds in the Gulf of Mexico funnel through a gap in the Sierra Madre and can be very strong as they enter the Pacific. Meteorologists call these winds Tehuanos; some cruisers call them T-peckers. (If you want to know more about these, try entering “Tehuantepec winds” in Google.) We will be doing the “one foot on the beach” method of crossing the Gulf of Tehuantepec, and we’ll wait in Huatulco for a relatively calm window. Keeping close to shore means smaller waves since they don’t have a chance to build up (shorter fetch).

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