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Sailust | Golfos de Tehuantepec y Papagayo

Golfos de Tehuantepec y Papagayo

Friday, December 5th, 2008

We sailed almost a week straight from Huatulco to Puntarenas, Costa Rica (where I am now), passing Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. After hearing rumours of the nasty Tehuantepec winds (Tehuantepeckers), I braced myself for strong winds, even though we were leaving in a supposed window of good weather. The Tehuantepec winds never came and we even motored for parts. We hugged the coast instead of making a rhumb accross the gulf, because that’s the recommended procedure. At least this way, we got a close view of endless miles of undeveloped beaches.

At the Guatemalan border, the coast juts west towards the Gulf of Fonseca, the intersection of El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. Here we decided to make a rhumb line to Costa Rica, putting us at a distance of 80 miles offshore at the maximum. In the middle of the Gulf, Lynne read in one of the guidebooks about another area of high winds approaching Costa Rica, outside the Gulf of Papagayo and on our planned route. As if jinxed, that night, an hour or two after the discovery and before sundown, the heavy winds arrived. Crystal Blue Persuasion was booking it on a nice beam reach as the winds were coming offshore. The sea was getting rough too, jostling our catamaran. Gary made the decision to put two reefs in the main sail and replace the jib with a smaller stormsail jib. Even after the sail change, we were still doing 8 to 10 knots, but in a better controlled fashion. Larry estimated the winds to be 35 knots; I don’t have enough experience to judge the speed. It was like this all night but subsided the next day, returning again, the next night. We altered our course to go closer to shore in hopes that the wind would be calmer, and we eventually made it, just south of the Gulf of Papagayo. The winds died and we cruised along the coast to Puntarenas. Other than the fact that it takes more energy, atttention and nerve in high winds, I didn’t mind them. For my preference, we’ve been lacking in wind the whole trip. Also, being in a catamaran, it’s not as rocky as a monohull.

The fish bite was bountiful this whole leg. We cast our lines and trolled, every so often catching a fish. Once morning we caught two mackerels at the same time, one on each pole. This has been my favorite tasting fish yet, consisting of soft white meat. Then we caught 6 skipjack tuna and threw one back because we were accumulating more fish than we could eat. One morning I got a bite before I was even done tightening the reel and setting the pole. The last fish I caught, the one in the photo, I think is a Pacific crevalle jack. Its meat was a deep red, like the skipjack. I’ve learned to gut and filet the fish, which is quite easy. If there’s any argument for intelligent design, a fish is the perfect example for me; it’s nearly all meat, conveniently steak-sized and delicious. Although, if I were designing them, I’d make them easier to catch.

I finished Two Years Before the Mast and wanted to include a couple interesting quotes about California on the dawn of its widespread settlement. But I have to go, so it will have to wait till the next post.


  1. dad Says:

    You missed all the good rum countries. Maybe you can catch them on the other side Dad.

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