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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Three day cruise to Huatulco

We left Acapulco around noon on Thursday for a three day/two night trip to Huatulco.  The first day out Dave spotted a black flag in the distance.  Usually that indicates a net.  But we don’t spot the boat the net should be attached to – and hence don’t know whether the net is to the right or left of us.  We’ve heard horror stories about the Mexican fishing nets (particularly at night!) but we were able to navigate around the net – which turned out to be running parallel to our course.  Later Dave spotted another black flag.  This one turned out to be on a panga – which was approaching Salty Dog at high speed.  Often the fishing pangas do this to warn you away from their nets – though interpreting their instructions can be challenging at best.  But turned out they were just passing by and checking us out.

On Friday we spotted what looked like old dirty floats in the water.  And for a minute we thought, “uh oh, here we go with the fishing nets again”.  But it turned out to be hundreds of these guys:


There was a huge bunch of them – though they float a fair distance from one another so you can only see one or two at a time.  Unfortunately one of them got a flipper looped around our fishing line.  Poor guy was struggling to try and get away, but the more he struggled the tighter the line got.  Had to have been painful.  Amazingly he didn’t break the line as we reeled him in to try to help him.  He was undamaged but very frightened and kept struggling to try to get away from us.  Both Dave and Melissa would have gone swimming to try and help him (by then we had stopped the boat).  But fortunately we were able to get the line unlooped from his flipper and the hook hadn’t imbedded itself – so he was able to swim free.  Whew.  Melissa then threatened never to go fishing again.  We caught 4 skip jacks yesterday – so if that’s all we are going to catch and we risk one of these beautiful creatures, then why bother?!

Here you can see the turtle fighting us as we reeled him in:

Later we spotted a pod of dolphins that were leaping out of the water, so we diverted to go take a look since dolphins like the sailboats.  They put on quite a show and Melissa was able to capture a bit of it on video.  Though the video doesn't do it justice.

And when the water was super calm, Melissa shot some video of Salty Dog underway that gives you a pretty good idea of what the trip was like much of the way:

A while later Dave went for a nap.  That put Melissa at the helm for the first time while sailing.  When Dave came up he was like “Thanks!  Great job!”  Melissa looks at him somewhat confused.  “Thanks for what?” “For sailing – the boat is configured perfectly.”  He meant that the sails were perfectly trimmed.  Melissa started laughing.  “I didn’t touch them.”  The wind and course were so perfect no adjustments were required during the entire two hours Dave had been asleep.

While Dave was sleeping Melissa did check the AIS (Automatic Identification System) for traffic.  She found two tankers coming up behind us.  Neither showed a near approach so she updated Salty Dog as to the current traffic (they don’t have AIS).  20 minutes later the wind started to die and the nearer tanker started showing a collision course – albeit 60 minutes out.  Melissa starts to debate when she should wake up Dave, when his head pops up in the cockpit.  She explains that because we’ve slowed down we are on a collision course with the tanker.  She radios Salty Dog and says it’s time to crank up the engines and get out of the way (she hadn’t wanted to fire up the engines while Dave was sleeping).  Meanwhile Dave radios the tanker to negotiate a passing.  The skipper’s English was pretty good.  Dave said he figured the tanker would overtake us on our Port, and their Starboard side.  The skipper agreed to this.  Dave emphasized that way the tanker didn’t have to change course.  Yep – got it the skipper said.  Well, a while later at sunset, Melissa took this picture which proves that his English wasn’t as good as we thought:

The night was quiet - though at 4am Dave made himself some eggs and afterwards his tooth came out!  What a saga - this is the second time his new tooth has fallen out.  First time was when he left Seattle for San Francisco in August when it totally cracked.  They had to remake the tooth and he was finally able to have it put back on in November.  So it sure isn't showing a history of staying cemented in place!  though hopefully this time its not cracked - just needs to be cemented back in place.  Ug.

In the early morning we pulled into the first bay in Huatulco where we had planned to anchor.  But we didn't like what we saw - there just wasn't much room to anchor and the cruise ship dock was taking up most of the bay (and would be a circus when a cruise ship pulled in).  So we tried a second bay a little ways down, but it was really rolly from the ocean swell.  So off to the marina we went.  Third time is the charm this morning it seems.

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