During the time that I was sharing stories about our fun times in Makogai and Rukuruku, SCOOTS was berthed in the Port Denarau Marina, near Nadi, while we waited (and waited and waited...) for a good weather window to sail to New Zealand.
Having passed on a so-so opportunity at the beginning of November – thinking that we could get a better passage if we waited another week or maybe two– we've been here for three more weeks, waiting, as the weather between here and New Zealand went completely off the rails.
For much of that time, I was consumed by all manner of meteorological forecasting models, poring over them several times a day, sniffing for even a hint of a weather window. A few times, I thought I saw one developing, waaaaaay down the pike, in the “imaginary” part of the long-range forecast, just to have it slam shut a few days before it was to arrive. I wasn't the only person obsessing about the weather though; pre-passage planning brings out the weather geeks in the fleet. You can be sure that whenever two cruisers meet, the subject of weather will come up. We even convened a few “weather confabs” (a term suggested by our friend, Randy, on the sailboat Velic), to share forecasting tools and meteorological websites. It gave us a chance to obsess about the weather as a group, instead of by ourselves on our own boats.
The confab of weather geeks: (from left) Ron from Duet, Randy from Velic, Vandy from SCOOTS, Douglas from Tumbleweed
I have to say, though, staying here the extra three weeks was not all bad. In fact, in hindsight, it was a really positive experience. We met some new cruisers, reunited with some old friends, and had fun with all of them; we saw our Fijian friend, Sam, from Rukuruku, a couple of times, as he had relocated to Nadi; we enjoyed a small potluck celebration of American Thanksgiving with some of the other cruisers who were also waiting to leave; we visited the lovely orchid-draped Garden of the Sleeping Giant near Nadi; we enjoyed the restaurants at Denarau; we had SCOOTS washed and waxed, and her hull cleaned below the water line; Eric had the time to learn and practice some new songs on his bass.
Our friend, Moses, translating the words to the songs in Vandy's Fijian music video collection.
As if to reward us for remaining, the weather here in Fiji during the entire time has been spectacular: blue skies and lots of sun; meanwhile, down in New Zealand, the weather was awful: cold and rainy, with storm after storm after storm.
To poke fun at me, every morning, as he walked through the main cabin past where I was obsessing about weather at my computer, and had been for awhile before he got up, Eric would say, grinning, “So, are we getting out of this hell hole today?”
Well, I'm happy to say that it now looks like we will. We just cleared out from Fiji and will be underway in a little while.