If you’d been listening to channel 19a in the Gulf of Tehuantepec earlier this week, you may have overhead a conversation that went something like this:
“Artillery blast hits BRAVO 9.”
“Nothing there … HOTEL 7?”
At which point you’d probably be thinking to yourself, “Mexican naval practice?”.
But the next line would give it away. “PBCHCHCHCHCHCH, damn you just sunk my battleship!”. It was, in fact, Ustupu (good friends we’ve been buddy boating with) and us in the middle of a heated game of Battleship. Which as we found out, is infinitely more fun to play over VHF.
The fact that we were playing games says a lot about our Tehuantepec crossing: In terms of weather, it was very uneventful which, given the gulf’s reputation for hurricane force winds which regularly sink ships, means we must have picked a good window.
A window that, say, allowed us to sit and enjoy a couple episodes of Dexter in the cockpit each night (finished season 5), or, allowed us to engage in some intense Sundown Duels with Ustupu (Trivial Pursuit, Rap Battle?), or, allowed us to bring in an 80lb, 7’6″ sailfish, all while relaxing on one of the most comfortable and calm passages we’ve been on.
Splitting our days up in to chunks of “3 on 6 off” has helped make this, our longest passage yet, speed by. With 3 of us on board, our personal schedule rotates by 3 hours each day, making no two days quite the same. One day you’re on shift for sunrise, the next you’re in charge of dinner, and the day after that you’re on night watch; a time when, if you’re lucky, the the boat is accompanied by a pod of glowing green dolphins as they agitate and ignite the phosphorescent algae around them.
The past five days have been nothing but open water. We’ve already passed through as many countries as our previous four months at sea. Blazing past Guatemala and El Salvador in 24 hours each, after taking months to make our way through the US and Mexico has definitely been surreal. One more day left and we land in Nicaragua.