The Yucatan Current and The Dodos

Viktor on the helm, Maya keeping him company.

Viktor on the helm, Maya keeping him company. Somewhere between Cuba and Mexico. August 10, 2013


Across the Yucatan Strait, between the westernmost extremity of Cuba and the easternmost point of Mexico, flows the Yucatan current, an ocean river running north. For us currents were abstract lines existing only on charts, like borders and other imaginary lines people constantly draw on maps over deserts and mountains, to make them look more scientific and serious, until we begun the 102 nautical miles passage between Cabo San Antonio and Isla Mujeres.

We lift anchor in the late afternoon on August 10 and draw a straight line towards our destination. Two electrical storms and three squalls later we realise our mistake. About 30 miles from the Mexican shore, the waves big and nervous coming at a slight angle behind us, the wind pushing from the south, the boat surfing fast on a beam reach, doing at least 6-7 knots leaving a foamy trail in the dark blue ocean, the GPS says we are progressing with only 1-2 knots, at times even drifting backwrds, towars Cuba. The Yucatan current overwhelms us.

What dodos we are! We remember Harley telling us to keep a course 20 degrees south of our destination in order to compensate for the northbound current. Next time, Harley, we will do this, we promise!

Thus we learned about the importance of currents…


We get to Isla Mujerres at night, after 27 hours of fighting with the current and waves, and drop anchor in the dark. The next day we wake up in Mexico, in front of a creamy beach with palm trees and hotels.


Sunset over the Yucatan.  Isla Mujeres anchorage

Sunset over the Yucatan.
Isla Mujeres anchorage