Dancing on the Edge


Maria Chiapas to Zihuatanego
Oct. 23-26, 2022 midnight

We rose to a beautiful sunrise at daybreak. The Military dog inspected Dancing on the Edge. By 6:45 am we’re off! The weather forecast was for calm, light winds, little chance of squalls or storms for the 2-day passage across the Gulf of Tehauntepec—225 NM. This is a notorious piece of water—katabatic winds (locally known as the tehauntepecs) blow from the Gulf of Mexico to the Golfo de Tehauntepec. There is a clash between high pressure cold air and low-pressure warm air. Winds funnel through the Chivela Pass, a narrow break in the mountains, up to storm force speeds. When the winds are strong, they vary from 5 mph to 40 mph in one or two seconds for vessels in the crossing. This makes for a nasty trip with strong forces on the boat. We had chosen our weather window carefully. An hour into our passage, fish on! Skipjack tuna—released. Fish on! Mahi—fish for dinner! Fish on! Fish on! Bill fish on! Billfish lost! Fish on! Fish on! Fish released. All day we motored into current. We ate delicious mahi during a glorious sunset.

At sunrise on day 2 we screamed along with the help of a strong current (North Pacific Equatorial Current, I think). We ran at speeds of 8.8 for hours. Fish on! Fish on! Mahi for dinner! Fish on! Fish released. Sailfish on! Sailfish lost! Fish on! Fish on! Sailfish on! Sailfish released! We ate more delicious Mahi at sunset. We are Tehuantepeckers!

Day 3 brought increased winds on our bow. We motored through a sloppy mess. A couple of cargo vessels appeared on the radar along with a few showers. We recalculated our arrival time for Zihuatanego. We planned to stop for a few days to explore and to check over the boat. Our fuel levels were good. We love our 300 gallon fuel tank. Sunrise brought much appreciated visibility. Sloppy weather continued. Fish on! Fish released! Fish on! Fish released. Fish on!

The clouds dissipated throughout day 4. The messy seas
abated about sunset. We recalculated arrival time and agreed to enter Bahia Zihuatanego in the dark. Scott, on Animal Cracker, had given us information and was in the anchorage. Fish on! Fish released! Fish on! Mahi for dinner—another day! Fish on! We eat dinner during a glorious sunset. Commercial shipping and a few fishing vessels appear on the radar. We long for AIS because being well lit is not the practice in these offshore waters. All of us are on deck as Greg navigates the visually confusing route. Dan takes the helm and Greg scans the water with a flashlight on the bow. We head toward Animal Cracker in the wide-open anchorage. It’s o'dark thirty or time to use the windlass to drop the hook. As the clock strikes midnight, Dan and Greg drop the anchor—manually!