Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Puerto Chiapas to Bahia del Sol: 16 Mar 14:30

About an hour after dispatching my "nautical James Bond" post, the lights of a vessel appeared about 3 miles ahead of us off the port bow. I picked it up on the radar and designated it as a MARPA target to keep an eye on it. After about 30 minutes, the bearing to the vessel hadn't changed. Usually that means that you are on a collision course, although it can mean that you are sailing parallel to each other at the same speed. I decided to alter course to port a good 20 degrees. The other vessel followed suit. That got me a little worried, so I altered course another 20 degrees. Again, the other vessel did likewise. I turned another 30 degrees to port, now 70 degrees off of my original course and the vessel still remained at a constant bearing. That was too much. I shut off all the navigation lights, went to silent mode on our AIS squawker and woke up Renee so that she could do battle with the enemy, if necessary. I am a nautical James Bond who believes that women have the
right to fight on a man's behalf.

Blacked out and under radio silence, I then altered course to starboard 180 degrees to lose the enemy under cover of darkness. My tactics worked, as radar and visual bearings started to change and distance opened up between us.

In retrospect, the vessel was probably just a fishing boat making it's way back to port, which by coincidence was in roughly the same direction as the series of port turns I initially made. The vessel was fully lit the whole time; I don't think pirates after prey would do that. Unless they were drunk. Which pirates often are. Though likely a paranoid overreaction on my part, it played nicely into my nautical James Bond fantasy.

The rest of the night and this morning's sailing was uneventful. We're reaching along under sail at a nice clip now, like we did yesterday afternoon. I sure like sailing better than motoring. The saildrive lubricant still looks normal, which is comforting.

You may have noticed in the title of this post that our destination has changed. We've decided to head to the slightly closer port of Bahia del Sol. We have heard and read good things about this place, including favorable comments about repair facilities and access to parts and hardware. Around lunchtime today, a sport fishing boat hailed us on the VHF to tell us the fishing was really good in the area and we should put out lines if we had them (Renee did, no luck yet). I asked "Eric from Guatemala" if he knew anything about repair facilities in Bahia del Sol. He said he knew an excellent mechanic there, gave me his name and cell number and told me it is a great place to hang out. Since the saildrive oil seals are scheduled for replacement in less than 30 engine hours from now, if we can get them taken care of competently and relatively easily at Bahia del Sol, it makes sense to do that. The next opportunity to do so will be in Costa Rica, which will might be easier, but mu
ch more expensive. If we have to wait for parts, we might take a couple days bus trip to Guatemala to see Antigua and nearby sites.

The entry into Bahia del Sol is very tricky, with breaking waves across the bar, but the hotel/marina sends a pilot vessel to guide boats. I think I'll get the GoPro camera set up to video our entry and, if we do that successfully, a sequel when we exit.