Thursday, March 2, 2006

The Flowers of Guatemala

My pesos are officially useless to me now. We got our work done and went to town to spend the last of them. I thought of you Jimmy all day as I prepared to leave one country and head to another (we spent a year hopping around Europe together).

This is my 2-4 am watch and I'm sitting in the cockpit watching the depth sounder lie to me. I know I'm in at least 100 fathoms but this silly sonar can't comprehend anything that deep so it makes up numbers like a kid who didn't do his calculus homework. I've got a cargo ship bearing 110 degrees and passing 6 miles away. The hand held compass is pretty accurate but don't kid yourself into thinking that's how I know. I've been playing with the radar. It's science.

Right Gala and Yemonja are two of the boats that we are sailing with. Everyone wants to have an original name, and with Barraveigh I'm that idiot as well. The price we pay for this uniqueness is that no one can pronounce them. Every radio transmission begins with the name of the boat and it is nearly always followed by, "Come again?" I've never heard of a boat named "Butch", or "Spike" but if I had it to do over again I think I might take one of those.

There are 3 ways to cross the Tehuanapec. Take the rumbline straight across which puts you far offshore which is fine unless a gale pops up. Then you could be in serious trouble. This place gets 160 days a year in which it blows 40 - 60 knots. That's bad. The second option is to hug the shore in 30 feet of water. That has it's merits but there are shoals and fishing boats and nets. The 3rd option is to go to Chipehua (which is nearly where I am now) and if the weather window still looks good for 48 hours then we take the rumbline from here. I like the 3rd option.

It'll take us 5 days and 4 nights.

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