Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Anchoring Nowhere

Hobo II and Reboot have been working our way south down the Yucatan Channel. For the past couple of days we have been in the vicinity of the Chinchorro Bank, apparently one of only four true atolls in the Western Hemisphere. It sits about 20 nm off the coast of Mexico. We waited out high winds at the north end, last night we anchored at the south end.
What is weird is the total lack of references. The reef that surrounds the plateau is under water. All one sees is the breaking seas. I now understand how ships could so easily run aground. If the wave tops are being blown off by the wind the reef is almost impossible to find. And as I pointed out earlier the charts are useless. You need waypoints from someone who has visited and surveyed a safe route.
Last night we anchored in about 20 feet of water. The only thing to the horizon in any direction was ocean. We knew we had some protection from the reef as the waves were much lower than they had been in deeper water. But that was it. We were visited both by the Mexican Navy and caretakers from the Chinchorro (it is a preserve.) Both groups were very pleasant and neither decided to actually come aboard. The Mexican military carries guns in a very obvious way both on shore and on their patrol boats. It is quite a change from the US.
Tonight we hope to finally make Xcalak Mexico to check out. The plan is then to leave tomorrow for Ambergris Cay in Belize.

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