Arrival in Mexico
19 April 2013 | 18 17'N:87 50'W, Xcalak
Yesterday I made the rough 40 mile passage to Xcalak, the southernmost Mexican border town on the Caribbean side. The entrance is blocked by a reef with two narrow entrances, which is described well in my guide book. None of my official nautical charts have any info on this entrance. The guide book warns that a few boats go onto the reef every year, and do not attempt this pass in raging seas. Hmm, I have 7' seas, is that raging? I have few other close options. I called the port captain and he said 6' in the pass, but it is OK. I programmed the GPS and autopilot to steer a precise course given in the guide book; this technique will compensate for side drifting due to currents or winds that humans might be too slow to notice. The pass is only 50 yards wide, and Hekla is 10.... With binoculars I see heaps of sea foam all along the reef, with just a tiny gap without breaking waves, this is the pass. Showing a warning message is this unfortunate, freshly minted shipwre ck on the reef, just 100 yards short of the clear water :-( We got in safely.
Xcalak is a tiny town of 400, looking much like a shanty town but with lots of character and charm. There are two dive resorts, a fly fishing outfit, an upscale restaurant run by two Canadian women, and a handful of ex-pats who have found their undiscovered Caribbean paradise. I stayed here an extra day because by morning, the seas were truly raging, with breaking waves even in the pass. Soon I will move on, making my way quickly to Cozumel.