November 17, 2014-Chiapas to Huatulco
wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Judy Works the Pole
We left at noon and set sail on port tack in a light sea breeze, holding our course up the coast all afternoon. The wind veered and dropped a little as the sun got low and we tacked out looking for a starboard lift but actually we expected it die altogether, which it did, and we started the motor.
Four hours later the ongoing motor problems reappeared and the oil pressure went to zero. We had to shut down the motor. This time, however, the oil level was up, not down as before, and it was thin. Fuel dilution? This new symptom was familiar since it has happened before when an injector failed, and gave us a new clue, but added to all the other symptoms, the diagnosis was still unclear and we hated to be heading across the Tehuantepec without a reliable motor. However, we were convinced that Huatulco was a better place to get work done than Chiapas. We just had to get there.
But we had some wind; the nightly offshore breeze came up and we set sail again and sailed through the rest of the night, worried about the motor.
The next day we changed the oil and the motor seemed OK for the moment, and we had enough oil for three more oil changes, so we felt better. We could use motor if we had to.
During the morning the wind came more from the east and in perfect conditions we set the spinnaker. It seemed surreal to us, and we felt it must be a rare event, sailing east to west across the Tehuantepec under spinnaker, but with a good weather forecast we were not expecting any problems and we had none; we sailed across the Tehuantepec without issue.
On Wednesday we arrived in Huatulco, which, as Judy wrote, was the actual crossing of our outward path and marked the completion of a circumnavigation, which we feel good about. Even though it wasn't what we had necessarily made as the focus of our cruising life this past eighteen years, getting around the world is an accomplishment, and most of all, it has been a wonderful experience. All the beautiful countries and people we've encountered have given us a rich life.
On Thursday night we headed back to Chiapas by bus to collect the car and we drove here on Friday.
It was an interesting drive, that one to Huatulco from Chiapas. At a place just over Oaxaca state line the local motortaxi group blocked the highway, right on a bridge. We think it was a protest over the motortaxi rates. Anyhow, we were stuck for 2.5 hours and traffic got backed up about 2 miles in both directions. Some people turned around and went back, to where I don't know, but a big double semi truck driven by a guy sympathetic to the motortaxis came in and blocked both lanes, so we were blocked from getting out that way. The State Police came, with lots of guns, talked to the taxi guys, then left. Then the Armada de Mexico came, also with a lot of guns, talked to the taxi guys, and also left. Finally two Federales came, with fewer guns, and there was some announcement which made the taxi guys cheer, ( I heard "cinco pesos") and ten minutes later the blockage broke up. In the three months we've been driving in Mexico we been in three roadblocks, two in Oaxaca.
The roadblock delayed us by 2.5 hours and we wound up driving into Salina Cruz in the dark, to Judy's total dismay, and so we stayed in a hotel there that night and came the rest of the way here the next day. It's beautiful country, all the way from Chiapas to Huatulco, sensational, but we don't feel like driving it again; lots of curves and too many humungous speed bumps and machismo Mexican drivers. The wind when we were on the bus east of Tehuantepec, at Chivela Pass, was strong and gusty and we saw trucks blown over on the side of the road. The bus itself was swaying mightily, but that didn't prevent the bus driver from flying at 70MPH on what was a very narrow and dark highway, with oncoming swaying trucks doing the same. Geez! Thankfully the wind didn't affect us as much when driving the car but the trucks and buses still scared us.
Now we are enjoying Huatulco while Wings' engine is temporarily out of order without a fuel pump, which we inspected and found to be defective, so that is good news: at last we have a definite problem which we can address. A new pump is on the way from San Diego and due in a couple of days. Then, just maybe, we'll find out if it fixes the multiple oil problems we've been having since June. If not, next we'll check the injectors and injection pump.
Next stop, whenever we're ready to go onward, is Acapulco.
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Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Huatulco