Captains Corner

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The End Of The Season

Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to El Salvador. You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men!!!   In order to get to Central America, you must travel through the “Tehuanapec” pass, which is approximately 120 miles long and takes you to the tip of Mexico and into Guatemala.  This pass is considered one of the most dangerous areas of water in Northern and Central America.   When the Gulf of Mexico is turbulent, it stirs up the Tehuanapec, they call it a T-Pecker when it blows and there is a very good possibility you could hit 20 and 30 foot waves.  After the mere 12 foot wave we encountered in Ixtapa, the decision was made to wait.  We waited and waited and waited but could not find 3 days of good weather that would assure an easy passage before May 30th (which is the start of hurricane season).  So, damn it, The Elysium is still in Mexico.

This is what our weather guy sent to us for these particular days.

BUOYWEATHER.COM Virtual Buoy Forecast
  Location : 15.75N  94.25W            
  Model Cycle: 2011 MAY 03 18Z         
  UTC - 7 Hours        

This does not count for the wind waves which are averaging 5-7 feet.               
                  WIND                  SEAS
DATE   HR  dir/deg  range(kt)   dir/per   range(ft)
----  ---  ------------------   -------------------
5/3   11   NNW 344  17 - 23     NNW  6sec   8 - 10
5/3   17   NNW 349  22 - 29     NNW  6sec   6 - 12
5/3   23     N 354  21 - 29     NNW  6sec   7 - 13

5/4   05     N   1  18 - 30     NNW  6sec   7 - 11
5/4   11     N 352  18 - 35     NNW  6sec   9 - 13
5/4   17     N 357  20 - 27     SSW  5sec   9 - 14
5/4   23     N 353  16 - 22     SSW  5sec  10 - 15

5/5   05     N   1  15 - 21     SSW  6sec   7 - 11
5/5   11   NNW 347  12 - 25     SSW  6sec   9 - 10
5/5   17     N 352  13 - 22     SSW  6sec   9 - 15
5/5   23     N   5  13 - 30     SSW  5sec   8 – 13

This means the waves are around 12 feet PLUS 5 – 7 feet which equals about 20ft waves on the minimum side.

The plan is to move the boat on November 1 to El Salvador (just for a few weeks), then to Costa Rica and then Panama (just for a few weeks to a month in each port), and THEN through the Panama Canal.  From there, we will take a “left” and begin our circumnavigation of the Caribbean by first visiting Belize, Honduras (the Barrier Reef there), and other wonderful places.  We will then continue north to the point of land on the East side of Mexico that is close to Cuba, and travel to Cuba (which is approximately 100 miles).  We’ll follow the coast line around Cuba and then North to the Florida Keys.  Then start down to the many wonderful islands on the east side.

While in Huatulco, we took the skiff into a really pretty cove called Maguey, with white sand beaches and water so clear we could see the anchor.  We took a panga to shore and had lunch and drinks which were served in huge coconuts.  There were 15 restaurants in a very small stretch of beach.  It is just amazing how they crammed them all in.

A few days later we took The Elysium to a bay called Organo, another white sand beach with crystal clear blue water.  We anchored and felt like we owned the whole bay.  The only boat there until  . . . . . the booze cruisers came in and really churned up the bay.  We were so disappointed but within a couple of hours the bay was ours again.  The best part was we did not have any cell service.  When we needed to make a call we had to take the skiff about 2 miles out into the open ocean.  We wound up spending 4 glorious days there. The last day we were there a dead sea turtle washed up on the shore.  We swam in to see it and were able to see just how big they are.  All and all it was a little peace of heaven on earth.  

Deb tethered to the boat so she does not float away!

Beautiful Organo Beach.

The Elysium anchored in the bay!

Closer shot of The Elysium

The Sea Turtle.  May he rest in peace!

The last week we were there, some of the boats from El Salvador were on their way back up and stopped in Marina Chauhe' pronounced (chow way), which was where we left the boat for the summer.  We met some really nice people and the day before we were leaving invited two couples to the boat for cocktails.  By the end of the first hour, we had 17 people on board.  And to top it all off, it was about 98 degrees and 98% humidity outside so we all had to stay in with A/C on.  

Not quite 4 hours later there was not a drop of liquor left on the boat, and several people ransacked their own boats for more Vodka and tequila.  Every instrument we had on the boat was out and being played.  All the wigs and hats that Kristen and Graham provided several years ago were on people’s heads.  Needless to say, we had a party.  I’m pretty sure that never before have these boaters run into crazies like Jewell and me.   

They had a great time, as did we.  It was a fun farewell to the season. 

Some of the crazies!

Capt'n Deb and the washboard.

The rest of the crazies.