We traveled about 240nm from Puerto Marquez/Acapulco without a stop. We were able to sail in the afternoon sea breezes for the first two days, but otherwise we motored.
We intended to stop in Puerto Angel. We pulled into the harbour and decided that it was too small, too crowded with pangas and had too much swell. So we pushed on another four hours to the bays of Huatulco.
We anchored four times in Juranta before we found a spot that we liked. The bay has room for a half dozen boats in 8m, sand. There are reefs off the beach at the head of the bay, but they are inside the buoyed swimming area. Many people arrived in the afternoon to snorkel the reefs and play on the beach. We stayed two nights, and did a little snorkeling of our own.
We then went to Bahia Maguey. Maguey has palapa restaurants lining the beach with hundreds of tourists. The bay is large and we had lots of room to anchor in 25', sand bottom. Both Juranta and Maguey have very good wind shelter: it was blowing 20-25 from the west when we sailed between them but it was calm in both bays. This good wind shelter is very unusual for Mexico.
After Maguey we pulled into Marina Chahue. The have a nice facility, again with surge so keep up the chafe guard. There are about 50 slips, asking US$0.60/foot/night or US$9/foot/month, water included and power metered (our actual bill was almost US$0.80/ft/night with tax and fees. We had lots of extra assistance and were happy to pay up). The harbourmaster Enrique speaks English fluently and is very helpful. The marina has been working on its fuel dock for many years (I had heard from Freezing Rain that it was close to completion in 2007) but there is still no fuel dock nor any dock front services. However Enrique will lend you jerry cans and transport you in his truck to Pemex. Enrique also assists with entry and exit papers. Finally, Enrique is considered somewhat of an expert on the Tehuantepec and advises on weather and crossings.
Marina Chahue is also home to one of the Mexican navy's absolutely first-class 30-foot rescue-zodiacs, staffed 24 hours a day. This is one of the most capable and best maintained vessels that I have ever seen, certainly the most capable rescue boat that I've seen in Mexico. Doubtlessly that says a lot about the Tehuantepec.
The aids to navigation have changed a lot since the charts we have were made. From west to east:
- There is a lighthouse atop the headland between Bahias Organo and Santa Cruz.
- Bahia Santa Cruz has a red and a green light on the headlands on either side.
- The reef between Santa Cruz and Chahue has a white light.
- Marina Chahue has a red and a green light on either side of the entrance, and buoys in the channel.
Town is a bit of a walk from the marina, but is also very nice. The civic planners must think that Huatulco will be a city, but right now it is a town with a lot of excess roads. Still, everything is in great condition, the roads and sidewalks are wide and the buildings in great repair.
The bays of Huatulco are amongst the best cruising grounds since Canada. They are pretty, well sheltered, and close together. If we'd have had better information we would have arrived here earlier and spent more time.
We're leaving Mexico on Friday for El Salvador. Wish us luck.