DIFFICULTIES FOR THE ACAPULCO-HUALTULCO-TUANTEPEC LEGS
Charlie's Charts says on page 230 of our Leg 18 Gulf of Tehuantepec on page 230: my add [pronounced (too wont a peck)]
"The next leg of the trip along this coast is a crucial passage that may be difficult. The formidable reputation of the Gulf of Tehuantepec is well deserved since the winds sweeping over the Isthmus maintain a yearly average of FORCE 6 on the Beaufort Scale and at times exceed FORCE 8 (especially from October to April). Added to the problems of heavy winds and seas felt over 100 miles offshore are strong currents which vary in direction and rate depending on the wind's intensity. Northwest or northeast currents of over 2 knots on either shore of the Gulf of Tehuantepec are a result of the wind being so strong at times that it actually lowers the water level at the head of the gulf.
A program for Port Control and Weather Reports has taken much of the guess-work out of forecasting Tehuantepeckers. Official weather forecasts are available from the Marine Control Center which is strategically located in the hills overlooking Bahia de Salina Cruz. .....They can be called from Huatulco for a report on wind speed and trend and thus give information regarding the existence or likelihood of a Tehuantepecker."
On page 219 it says:
"In the Gulf of Tehuantepec winds average force 6 throughout the year. Violent gales, known as Tehuantepeckers, normally occur from October to APril but they can happen at any time. Lasting from a few hours to as much as several days, their Force 8 or 9 winds raise treacherous, short, high seas which can be experienced as much as 100 miles offshore. ......
Because of the intensity of the winds in the Gulf of Tehuantepec, this is rarely an easy passage and if you are caught by a Tehuantepecker it can be truly dangerous. It is essential to keep informed of weather forecasts, wait out storms in a safe anchorage or port, then make a run for it. Two schools of thought exist regarding crossing the Tehuantepec. One is to sail "with one foot on the shore", the other is to travel 500 miles offshore. Whichever route the cruiser selects, prudent skippers wait for a weather window and then buddy boat across 'the beast'.
From Acapulco to Puerto Angel, the coast consists of long stretches of sandy beaches backed by lagoons or low, rolling hills covered with dense foliage. In the distance, the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range can be seen and the shoreline is punctuated by prominent cliffs and high bluffs. Forming a gap between the mountain ranges to the west and east is the Isthmus of Tehuantepec through which the strong northerly winds are funneled with accelerated strength. Further south, the high Sierra Madre mountains with their lush foothills and flat coastal plain are separated from much of the sandy coast by numerous lagoons."
NEXT STOP AFTER HUALTULCO: EITHER:
PUERTO MADERO, Oazaca, Mexico
(If and only if we get beat up in the Tehuantepec and need to put in for sleep, for fixing anything broken, replacing anything lost.)
Las Barillas Yacht Club and Marina, El Salvador
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