Living Between Raindrops
04 October 2012 | Tonga
Since the last time I wrote, its rained every day except for today. We're getting a taste of what this South Pacific convergence zone (where significant weather systems meet) really is- a bunch of crummy weather. The only good part has been that we weren't on a passage for it and we haven't had significant wind, just tons of rain and gray skies. Nothing dries out and the extra humidity is hard on things. Batteries, lights, our old laptop computer and the smoke alarm have all bit the dust in the past few days. We did get the boom vang re-welded though so that feels good. Now yesterday the generator overheated (again) so that is the next thing on the list to try to fix.
We did our 4 scuba dives in the rainy weather too. Nice clear water & pretty formations with several swim-throughs, great colorful walls full of nudibranches, sandy areas with garden eels and some interesting new fish. And we did hear whalesong again! I absolutely couldn't concentrate on the dive when the whales were singing. It is a haunting, moving song for me and probably others too. This time it was farther away and more melodious than the video clip we have on the blog which was from right beneath us. I think humpbacks are some of the most beautiful whales there are and hearing the song, I just wanted to swim over to try to find them. It was chilly between dives since you need a good hour to breathe off the nitrogen build-up and there was a cold wind. We are all definitely noticing the cooler water & air. Our wetsuits are worn out and not insulating as well either. We did the diving with Mawari & another couple we know off a British boat named Superted. After the first day, we got together for dinner to share pictures and sightings and compare our whale dive experiences as well.
After the diving days, we needed a day in town to get ourselves together before heading back out to the outer islands. We have somewhat of an addiction going on with the handicraft market and Sue has it too- we can't stay out of there! A few days ago, we all ducked into the market during a rainshower so Sue ended up with some more necklaces and then yet another woven basket in her hands and Jon picked up a necklace for himself. Then we hear Bob say " this is getting to be quite an expensive rainshower" and we all busted out laughing. Then we meet up with Sue yesterday and Jon notices she's got another new necklace and she says "oh, I got it yesterday!" The woven baskets and cow bone carvings are really beautiful and unique and every time we meet up with another cruiser, they've got a carving hanging around their neck - one you might want for yourself so back into the handicraft market you go to peruse some more.
On one of the days we were moored near town, we experienced a brief earthquake on the boat. I noticed a split second sensation of the boat shuddering and the floor rising under my feet. I couldn't figure out what it was and Jon didn't feel it but then they announced over the radio that there'd been an earthquake. I think it ended up being in the high 3's on the scale. Definitely an odd sensation on the boat.
Yesterday we celebrated Jon's birthday since it was October 3rd where we are now! I had big ideas of what I wanted to cook but couldn't find any chicken breast or roasts. I ended up making spaghetti sauce and felt lucky to have gotten the hamburger for that. We had Bob & Sue over along with another couple from our current anchorage- Mike & Karen and we had a fun night. Jon's gift from Bob & Sue was a much wanted woven star treetop ornament that Sue got at the HANDICRAFT MARKET!!! We'd all been eyeballing it feeling we didn't deserve it but thankfully Jon had a birthday so he was worthy. Plus Sue ordered one for herself if the lady can make one in tome before we need to leave.
Today was primarily a snorkeling day since the sun actually shined a bit. Although it adds a lot of warmth and makes the corals brighter, the reef is busier on a cloudy day since I think the fish feel it's darker, so we snorkel on cloudy days too. Anyway, we've begun to get into waters that have more dangerous marine life and so we're trying to be careful what we pick up and touch. But some things, like the textile cone shell (deadly if it punctures you), we didn't recognize yet since there are lots of different cone shells. Anyway, Jon gives me what is thankfully definitely an empty cone shell today and I tuck it into the arm of my wetsuit to bring back home. Later, Sue picks up a coneshell and I tell her that she needs to be careful since we're going to be moving into the areas where the deadly coneshells are. She looks surprised since she wasn't aware of this. So I get back to the boat and take off my wetsuit- out tumbles the shell. Later tonight we decide to look up what exactly the textile shells look like, only to discover that what Jon had given me and I had put against my skin was indeed a textile coneshell. So... I think I got lucky today. Sometimes we pick up shells and they appear empty but upon carrying them for a bit while we swim, the animal will peek out so we'll know it's inhabited & put it back. There's something about textile coneshells. One day we were up in Vermont and over morning coffee, we talked with my dad about these very coneshells out of the blue and we even looked them up in an ID book. Then later that same morning, Jon & went for a run and along the road, there be a coneshell! How it got there we have no idea but the timing was impeccable for weirdness!
Anyway, that's what we've been up to. A lot of bottom time and a little good luck.