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Old 15-10-2016, 19:51   #1
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Offshore route from Ecuador to Mexico via Galapagos. Need an advice.

Hi, we are in Ecuador currently. I've been told by an old salt that there is an offshore route to Mexico from Ecuador via Galapagos. Well in fact he says its starts before Galapagos, 500nm from Ecuador mainland and takes about 20 days.
I wonder what's the weather like there. Anyone done it previously from the south to the north? What was your overall experience? Thank you.
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Old 15-10-2016, 22:48   #2
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Re: Offshore route from Ecuador to Mexico via Galapagos. Need an advice.

Hi, I have sailed exactly this route in both directions.

Southbound in November, we had very light winds. From Vallarta to the Galapagos took me 17 days, then an additional 6 to Ecuador.

The other way in April, it took 4 days to the islands and 11 to Zihuatanejo.

The boat was a rather slow Cabo Rico 36.

Some observations:

It can be a very light air trip. I would suggest making sure that you have 1000 miles worth of fuel. with you. I did this trip 12 years ago, and the fuel in the Galapagos was off poor quality both times. Bring a Baja filter at least. Hopefully, it's better these days.

There are a couple of reliably windy areas that need to be negotiated, both north of the ITCZ. The first you'll encounter is the western limit of the Papagallo area if it's blowing strongly. In most cases, the rhumb line from the islands to anywhere from Zihua westward will mostly skirt this, but it can be a little rough out there if the gulf's honking.

The gulf of Tehuantapec is more formidable. Remember that these gales turn westwards as they blow south. I set a waypoint about 75 miles W of the rhumb line to Zihua in the area where these gales reach furthest west. We still had 30 knots or so for a day or two. Look at any pilot chart, and this route planning is easy.

Anyway, it's a totally doable route, and I think that it is a good alternative to going coastwise particularly if you're more interested in just getting there and not really cruising.

Good sailing. TJ
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Old 16-10-2016, 00:44   #3
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Re: Offshore route from Ecuador to Mexico via Galapagos. Need an advice.

One other thing. I know that the rules change all the time in the Galapagos, but the reception we got from the port captain was quite different when we arrived from Mexico then from when we arrived from Ecuador.

From Mexico, they basically let us stay as long as we wanted within reason. From Ecuador, we were given 24 hours to clear out, and even that took some negotiation. Basically, we were told to get our fuel and supplies and be on our way.

We arrived both times with no permits. At that time, this was accepted practice for everybody arriving from foreign ports. I think that because we were travelling within the country, they expected us to have procured the permits. It was all very murky back then regarding the rules, and I suspect that the port captain's word was law, and there had been a change of staff during the time we were on the mainland.

The nice old official who greeted us in November had been replaced by a young guy with a ramrod up his ass.

Funnily, the old guy who was retiring bumped into me at the office-he was going in to gather some things-, and he went to bat for us with the new guy. Possibly without his help, we would have been kicked out of there without fuel.

Anyway, I have no idea what the current rules are, but it does seem that if you arrive from Ecuador it's a bit different. Have a look at the regs before you leave.

TJ
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Old 18-10-2016, 11:39   #4
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Re: Offshore route from Ecuador to Mexico via Galapagos. Need an advice.

I did the trip N bound in 2007. Beam reached from Bahia de Caraquez to the Galapagos in 5 days with 15-18 knots S'ly winds. I had all the paperwork, so we spent almost a month at three islands without problems. From Isla Isabella, we went almost due W with the same winds until about 108W, then turned north. The trip from the Galápagos took 23 days because I was stubborn and decided to sail the whole way regardless of the light winds. It took about 10 days for the last few hundred miles to Manzanillo. An easy, comfortable sail.
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