The purpose of this thread is so I can pick the brains of experienced sailors in the Gulf Of Mexico.
IE: Best Ports of entry for PPWK, hazards to watch out for, out of the way places worth visiting, etc...any details (I heard Mexico requires a fishing license even if there is NO pole on the whole boat).... things like that.
My goal : Over the next 4 years to take my Columbia 9.6 meter, on at least 1 trip a year to Mexico and surrounding Gulf area (isla Mujeres, Cozumel, N.W. Jamaica, Belize, and the Cayman Islands).
Then on the 5th year, I plan on trading up to a Beneteau Oceanis 44 or greater (or similar), and spend the rest of my days chasing that ever-elusive ......freedom.... All around the greater Southern gulf, and then on to New Zealand, Fiji, and Cook Islands. Preferrably places that have no runway, and no real docks to speak of.....
My Columbia 31'6"(solid FG, not core) is a sea-worthy vessel for its age, and identical models have circumnav'd. I have all the bells and whistles as far as safety and electronics that I care for: EPERB, 24 mile radar, side scan sonar, Top-of-the-line GPS, auto-pilot...wind-vane auto...4 radios....All current charts loaded on GPS....extra sails, extra standing and running....etc....etc...even got an anchor watch app for my phone...
Once I figure out how to post pics or pic links here will attach some. -----Although I really believe that for the most part, a man's boat is kinda like his kids... beautiful to him,,,, but after 2 pics... kinda boring for other ppl to look at.. (unless they're "in the market" of course)
FIRST TRIP: I will be spending 5-7 days a month honing my skills in the Port Aransas (Texas-Gulf) area over the next 6 months or so. Then will make a 550-600 NM run to Either Vera Cruz, or Progresso (depending on weather and prevailing winds) in April or May 2012. I am allotting 20 days for the round trip.... current thinking dictates about 5-6 days to get there.... 5-6 days to get back.... 1-2 days making repairs (once there)... and 6-9 days docked.....soaking up a slower-----less protected----but freer culture.
ANYBODY with ANY experience or knowledge of this general route, or similiar (first or second-hand), is greatly appreciated. Pretty much anything from U.S. side to Mex. info is desired.
This is not a "maybe" or a dream trip. This is happening even if I have to solo it. Initial plans involve the wife, but if she doesn't feel like she can hold up, I have a friend that wants to go, if that falls through, I would consider talking to other local South Texans that have sailing experience, and can pay their fair share (food, drinks, docking fees, entry fees, responsible party supplies, etc..) If that doesn't happen, I will go solo.
Second trip is 25-30 days the following year to Isla Mujeres, and possibly Cozumel.
Then third trip is year after that 35-40 days to Cayman islands (by way of Cozumel)
Sorry about the lengthy introductory diatribe....just wanted to be clear.
disclaimer to the well intentioned: I have spent a lot of time in Mexico over the last couple of decades. Please do not warn me about the "dangers". I KNOW almost all of the "dangers" are land-based border town drug wars, and massive inflamation by an overzealous, ill-informed American media. I have witnessed first hand.... local Mexicans chasing after someone to give them a wallet they dropped, or a bag with some recently purchased item.... They are a good people.....unless you want to try and open up an illegal drug export businiess....then yes... you will probably wake up dead.
I look forward to hearing any and all advice y'all can throw my way !!!
THANK YOU !! IN ADVANCE !
Fair Winds........ Live now......As my avatar symbolizes--Nothing is Forever....... NIF