On the 31st of October, after several months of city life spent doing some work and enjoying the company of relatives and friends, we flew to Mexico City. Our plans were to take a touristic trip in the South of Mexico for about 20 days before going back to the boat. Unfortunately, the knee of Sergio decided that our plans were not right, and made us return to Rome after only five days in Mexico. After a prompt operation to his meniscus and about 30 days of recovery, on the 12th od December we were again on a flight to Mexico City. We took the chance to visit the house of Frida Kalo and enjoy Diego Rivera’s murales at the Palacio Nacional.
We finally arrived in Marina Chiapas on December 14th, where we found Zoe in excellent conditions. On the outside, the pvc sheets where intact and served the purpose to protect the deck, while in the inside the dehumidifier did its job preventing any mold to grow.
On Monday 16th, as previously agreed with the marina people, they started scraping the bottom and the following day painted the boat with the new antifouling. In addition, we painted the propeller with a special silicon coating that was recommended by one of the sailors we met in our trip. We were able to launch Zoe in the water on Wednesday the 18th.
We decided to enjoy the beautiful marina and its excellent restaurant for some additional days to carry out needed maintenance to the engine and other parts of the boat, as well as to clean and organize Zoe to prepare it for the new season. One of the key changes was the new main sail, which we brought in a suitcase from Italy. When we mounted it, we were pleased to find out that it was perfectly suited for Zoe.
Marina Chiapas is quite close to the city of Tapachula, where we could find some spare parts and make good provisioning in the well equipped Home Depot and Walmart department stores.
The marina was almost empty, so it was easy to meet the owners of two sailing boats travelling northbound like us. They invited us for dinner on Christmas Eve. Believe or not, we enjoyed Swiss cheese fondue as the main dish!
Keeping an eye on the forecasts for a good window of favorable meteo conditions, we decided it was good to set sails on December 26th. The challenge was to cross the Tuhantepec Gulf; this gulf is bordered to the west by Huatulco, and to East by Puerto Chiapas, with a span of 225 nm. During fall, winter and spring months, cold high presure systems move down from the USA into the Gulf of Mexico. When these systems reach the narrow break in the Sierra Madre mountains, they funnel through the gap to reach the warm Pacific waters of the Gulf of Thehuantepec, with a strenght that can even reach hurricane force and can extend several hundred miles downstream.
Apart from choosing a time where winds forecasts were null or very low, we also took the precaution to cross the Gulf by staying very close to the shore so that in case of inaccurate forecasts we would have been hit by the wind but minimally by the resulting waves. So it took us four days to get to Huatulco, fortunately without finding any adverse situation.
We moored at the Marina Chahue, that is conveniently located near the villages of Santa Cruz and La Crucelita , two small towns part of the Huatulco area, that developed a significant touristic attitude. We spent New Year’s Eve in a nice restaurant and at 10:00pm we were already sleeping despite the fireworks at midnight.