It was difficult saying goodbye to all of the great people we met in Zihua but we needed to get moving. Our plans are to transit the Panama Canal sometime in March and then make are way through the Caribbean Sea for the spring season and back to the East Coast of the US for early summer. That may sound like a lot of moving for us, and it most definitively is, but Hurricane season dictates our lives in this part of the world. The east coast of the US gives us a safe place to park during the hurricane season. It also will give us time for a few larger, and more complex, boat projects that Ashley and I have in mind. All of this means we need to get moving. We planned on the 350 mile passage to take about four days and four nights. The winds in this part of Mexico are typically light and coming from right behind us, so we also anticipated using our motor for the majority of the trip. We raised the anchor at 4pm exited the bay and motored south in the calm seas and light winds. As the sun began to set the winds picked up nicely and before long our sails were all up and the motor off. The weather forecast said that there would be light afternoon winds decreasing thru the night. It turned out the winds were not light and stayed with us all night and into the next morning. The sailing was as perfect as it gets and the seas were as calm as a lake. We made excellent time. The winds did die off for the morning but that was OK we still had not topped off our new batteries so running the motor for a few hours was a good idea anyway. Around noon the batteries were completely full and the wind was blowing again this time even a little stronger. Out came the sails and off went the motor and just like that Samadhi was flying down the coast of Mexico again. Our second night and second day were just the same, lots of fantastic and effortless sailing with just a little bit of motoring in the mornings. Our 4 day passage turned out to be a three night and two day run in perfect sailing conditions and fairly smooth seas. We entered the small bay at 4am in complete darkness as there was not even a sliver of a moon. We awoke a few hours later in a beautiful bay with white sand beaches, palapas lining the beach and clear blue waters all around. We spent the morning snorkeling and enjoying the water again. The bay was full of fish and what appeared to be very healthy coral. We all agreed that it was great being in the water again as the waters in the bay off Zihau were not very clean and therefore we did not swim for nearly 2 months.
The next day we picked up anchor and headed to the marina in Huatulco. It was a very tight squeeze through the narrow opening of the estuary as well as very shallow. We had less than a foot under our keel at one point. We planned to stay at this marina for a day or two until the notorious Tehuanepec winds subsided. However, once again Mother Nature had other plans. The Tehuanepec winds are winds generated in the Gulf of Mexico and rush to the cooler waters of the Pacific. The winds cross the mountain range in the southern isthmus of Mexico and roar down the mountains and into the Gulf of Tehuanepec. These winds regularly blow 40 to 50 knots and create massive seas. So the procedure for southbound boats is to wait out the winds here in Huatulco. Typically the winds blow for 3-5 days then a calm period for 2-3 days and it starts over again. Sailors make their runs across the 200 mile gulf and through the corridor of wind during the calms. We arrived just as a calm period was beginning. We needed to fill our propane tanks and do a little shopping. We also needed to complete the formalities of checking out of Mexico so we decided to not rush and wait for the next calm period. Besides, it will probably be just a few days. That is not how it turned out. The winds did decrease 3 days later but they only decreased for about a 10 hour period and they only decreased to the high 30’s. So we ended up staying awhile longer in Huatulco. We did take the opportunity to do a little inland exploration. We found a hike to a waterfall that was a 3 hour drive away so we rented a car and the five of us (Ranger came along too) headed into the mountains. Along the way we got to see some pretty cool little mountain villages and some beautiful scenery. We also stopped at a beachside surfing spot and swam in the surf. The hike was not the best and the water in the waterfall was as brown of water as I have ever seen. The falls and the river did smell great though, like fresh tilled garden soil, but swimming in it was not appealing to any of us (except for Ranger). The day was a great little change to our routine and the kids both liked being in the mountains again so it was all worth it. In our waiting time at the marina we were able to put our sailing dinghy in the water and Alexander and Victoria practiced sailing around. We also took Rogue One out to the reefs out in the bay for some snorkeling. There are great pedestrian trails all throughout this small town so we were able to get in some good runs. We also had the opportunity to participate with the town of Huatulco in a 5k run that supported a local orphanage. Alexander was able to find a local runner his age that was able to handle Alexander’s pace. The boy and his dad started off fast. I told Alexander to not chase them down just yet as there would be plenty of time for that. So we just sat back and kept them in sight and within closing distance. The run was an out and back beginning downhill and finishing with a steady half mile climb, which is Alexander’s specialty. When we got to the turnaround Alexander was itching to run the kid and his dad down so I turned him loose and he was in contact with them in no time. The two boys ran side by side up the hill and to the finish each of them motivating the other. I was very proud to watch at the finish line, Alexander pull up just a little so the boy could finish just ahead of him. The two congratulated each other, fist bumped and grabbed some water. The boy’s parents could not stop smiling and waving in Alexander’s direction. I think that this was the first time their son had had any competition. Victoria and Ashley soon came across the line and we all grabbed a snack and caught a taxi back to the boat. Over the next two days we will complete a final provisioning run, say our goodbyes to Huatulto and begin our passage to Guatemala. It will be very sad to say goodbye to Mexico as we all have come to love this amazing country and particularly the wonderful people who live here. I wish that our country would be able to see all the beauty that is Mexico and then maybe we would be as good a neighbor to them as they are to us.