Trip Reports

Here Today Gone Tomale (29-Mar-2003-12-30):
12:30 AM local time, Sunday, March 29 (0630 Mar. 29 UTC) 15 45 N 096 08 W. Temp. 84, Humidity 72%, Cloud Cover 50%. Anchor down, Huatulco, Mexico.

Warm greetings from the crew of Maverick.

We made it across the Gulf of Tehuantepec and didn't get killed as we arrived in Huatulco before the high winds kicked in. It was still ugly, though. What we had was, say twenty on the nose and the current of about a knot and a half with us. That meant wind against current so the chop was so steep we were sometimes down to like, three and a half knots even with the current. Then the current turned around so the seas flattened out and we could sail faster, but the current was against us so we went slow. Ha ha ha oh I'm laughing now but you do that kind of thing for a couple of hundred miles and I think after that they let you beat things to death, or it's allowable under some clause. And we broke a bunch of stuff as usual, including both autopilots. One lower shroud is going to have to be replaced, etc., etc., etc., the latter two of which etc.'s belong in the department of redundancy department but nevertheless I assume my drift is caught by you.

Mr.Shrode has gone ashore with some guys from another boat here so I'm alone on Maverick. There's some kind of festival of the sort that every third world country seems to have so very often because their towns have still not gotten cable and there's nothing else to do, and also, it's another way of getting out of doing the things for Maverick that need doing. What's to celebrate? It's probably some Saint's birthday. I would so love to have Augustine come back and see a lot of women dressed up in elaborate clothes and some rather bad music in his honor. Maybe it's Patrick, though, whoever he was, who didn't mind a little mariachi. There was a little parade in the town not at the beach but a short cab ride in, that is the real town. The women and girls were spectacularly dressed in Mexican costume, perhaps even more colorful than the Dule, but the thing about the Dule women is that they wear that stuff every day so they rule, those Dules. Anyway, each troupe of women had a band and I think there were three or four troupes and since they weren't very large and there were no floats or horseback riders in the parade to act as buffers, by the time the last unit passed you could still hear the first band, so you heard all four bands, which weren't very good to start with but had that out-of-tune Mexican charm, at once, creating something not distinguishable from chaos. To my ear. But I'm not an expert.

The Tehuantepecker is supposed to start blowing tonight and blow sixty for a couple of days and then forty for a couple of days. We're kind of nervous as it's so close to here (the highest winds are predicted to blow not fifty miles away) but all the locals we asked say it'll be OK. The only cruisers we talked to about it were the ones Mr. Shrode is in town with, and they hadn't even heard about any stinking Tehuantepecker. It's very arcane stuff, only us and the National Weather Service and every book on Mexico talks about watching out for it. The weather fax shows twelve-foot waves going perpendicular to the shore where we're anchored in a bay that's about a quarter-mile deep. If I can see twelve foot waves from where I am, I figure they can see me. I'd say, like, five feet, that's my limit at anchor, and that's being liberal. There's a marina around the corner we could go into but maybe it won't be necessary or if it is it will be too late.

But we may be stuck here for a few days and so if we feel the boat is safe like the locals say it will be we may rent a car and drive to Oaxaca in the mountains. I've heard of it but I don't know whether it's worth going to. I always liked it though because the word looks cool cuz it has an X in it and you pronounce it wa-HAWK-ah which sounds cool, but the look and the sound are not related in any language I know which is only one. Excepting ancient Greek and Latin, which are not languages but stuff you have to learn in school. So you'll be smart, but you won't know any languages. You'll pronounce Oaxaca Oh, AGGS-ack-ah.

This is a resort but a Mexican resort, except for the passengers on the cruise ship that only stayed for the afternoon. The people swimming at the beaches and browsing in the shops are Mexican. It seems that the last thing Mexicans on vacation will eat is tamales, as you will only see steaks or shrimp on the menu. Although we did see a sushi bar. Thing is, I want Mexican. Last Mexican food we had was in Australia and it tasted just about like what you'd expect the food at a Mexican restaurant in Australia to taste like. Now here we are in Mexico but where are the tamales? You probably have to go to California to get real Mexican food. That place down the street from the Palomino in LA on Lankershim, El Michoacano, oh yeah. People in the US eat that fake gringo Mexican food with lots of sour cream to disguise the fact that the cooks don't have a talent for enchilada sauce and you know what I think the real secret is? Lard. Although there are probably others. But in Marin County, California, where famous seamen like Paul Cayard and your Captain live, it is probably illegal to import lard or own the animals it comes from, whatever they are, lardosaurs or something. Because, I don't know, what, it's not organic? Is Crisco vegetarian lard? But Crisco is probably also illegal in Marin, or at least it's something that you wouldn't be able to mention using, even in your support group. Even so Crisco's not as good as real lard so what's the point of humiliating yourself? If you copped to using real lard the shock value would far outweigh any embarrassment, and you'd be thought of as an in-your-face out-of-the-box kind of person. I think maybe lard made from free-range lardosaurs raised on organic barley or weeds or whatever they eat, now there's a product that has a future. Sea captain, Mexican food seeker, marketing genius, a man for all seasons.

Back to the Progress Chart | Back to Trip Reports
Progress ChartTrip ReportsPhoto GalleryAbout MaverickThe CrewGlossary & Technical Weather Check