Suddenly we’re in no hurry at all. Overnight the voyage of Happy Times from the Rio Dulce to Isla Mujeres transformed from “Let’s get going!” to “Let’s stay here a while.”
This morning Mike talked to Chris Parker, the weather guru of the Caribbean region, who broadcasts daily over Single-Side Band (SSB) radio, standard equipment for many cruisers. The meteorologist alerted us to a trough, written as TROF on forecasts, hanging over the Yucatan peninsula that could produce squalls and high winds from the south. While winds flowing from that direction could push Happy Times significantly along the route north to Isla Mujeres, they could reach 30 knots and carry heavy rain. Chris advised us to hole up in Lighthouse Reef, Belize, for three days until the activity settles down.
The TROF results from the cyclone Barbara which formed in the Pacific Ocean, headed east and landed off the western coast of Mexico. The lingering effects of that hurricane produced the TROF where two similar air masses converge and produce a large, persistent area of thunderstorms. It has stalled over the Yucatan for a few days now, delaying the departure of boats from Isla Mujeres to Key West. There’s an uneasy possibility that this TROF could gather steam and produce the first Atlantic hurricane of the 2013 season, which definitely would prolong our stay at Lighthouse Reef.
In the meantime, Mike and I are using the time to make some minor fixes on Happy Times. The life of a cruiser in a nutshell: doing boat repairs in exotic places.