Saturday, December 13, 2014


It was really great the see Enrique and Memo, the marina operators up at the Marina Chiapas office. They work really hard to keep the facility running smoothly. There were about 8 other sailboats here, some had arrived from the north and some were re-commissioning after the summer. As the days went by more and more boats were leaving to head south.

Our departure to Huatulco was dependent on two things.  First, the winds and weather in the Tehuantepec and secondly our radar was not working and, as we had access to a marine electronics technician who did all of the electronics maintenance for the local Naval fleet, it made sense to make those repairs before continuing on.

A weather window was opening on Monday and we thought we had our opportunity to depart, but unfortunately the repair for the radar was going to take a bit longer than anticipated. So here we are in Chiapas waiting for the radar and the next weather window.

The delay gave us the opportunity to explore Tapachula, the closest city to the marina (about 20 minutes by a collective van) in a bit more detail than last spring. I am glad it worked out that way because my impression of the town last year was not favorable. Last spring the city streets were ripped apart and it just felt as if the whole place was in decline.  It was not a very pleasant place, or so we thought.  This time the repair projects had been mostly completed on the roads, the main city square was a place you might choose to hang out, and we discovered several good restaurants and an organic coffee café.

The radar repair set our departure back by at least 2 weeks. The extended stay allowed us the opportunity to travel with Linda and Jim from sv Liebling up to the coffee plantations. We went with a tour guide we met last spring and had a wonderful time seeing the mountains after the rainy season. The workers were gathering at the fincas with their families for the harvest. The fincas took on a whole different look with the children, couples and single men milling about. The mobile medical clinic was having a Sunday clinic at one of the fincas. The military police were there helping to transport supplies and provide security. It was an impressive turnout of patients and medical staff. Afterwards the police went up to the restaurant for coffee…unfortunately we advised them there were no donuts…..they let us take their picture anyway.

The weather window opened for passage a day after the radar was fixed. We ended up getting a used unit from Guatemala with the help of the naval technician and his Guatemalan friend. We didn’t ask questions about customs, importation or how it arrived across the frontier. The tech did not volunteer much explanation on logistics except that it should be a good unit. He installed it and it did indeed work!

We departed Chiapas on the second day of a 4 day weather window. Conditions were unsettling with confused seas at 2 meters but very short period swells which we went up against like a brick wall. We worked our way closer to the shore to get into more settled water at about the 40 – 50 foot depth. The accepted practice for transiting this section of the coast is to either stay “on the beach” or go direct. The conditions were too unsettled for the direct route. The passage took about 40 hours. We arrived a bit before dawn at the Marina Chahue entrance. There are a couple of really nasty reefs just off shore so we waited until we had daylight to enter. When we tied up it was good to see Ramona and Jan from sv Jatimo greet us.

A day or two later Jim and Linda arrived on sv Liebling. As luck would have it they reported their passage was absolutely flat water the whole way…..

Even though we had gone to see the coffee fincas last spring,
we enjoyed it so much, we made another run up with
Jim and Linda from sv Liebling.
It was great to escape the heat of the marina and get up into the
We ran into these Federales at the Hamburgo Finca.  They were
offering free medical services to some of the locals.
We posed for a picture with some of our new friends.
Talos IV the morning of our departure looking like she
is ready to be underway.
The Chiapas fuel dock.  We elected to fill our jerry cans and
haul them back by car rather than pull up to the barnacle
encrusted pier.

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