Weather (lots of it....)
08 March 2020 | Taravai Island, The Gambiers
We are having quite a time of it with the weather down here at the moment. The locals are saying they cannot remember a wetter summer and we can easily believe it. We are getting the odd blue sky day but most of the time it has been very cloudy, wet and windy, with some quite violent squalls to keep us on our toes. It is a tad stressful getting suddenly swung round and hammered by a 30kt wind gust. The noise level shoots up, the boat heels over a surprising amount and the reef, only two or three boat-lengths behind us in any event, starts to look unpleasantly close. The anchor chain begins to feel a bit inadequate, you hope that the distant sound of thunder remains just that - distant - and there is a strong urge to sit under a tree for a while.
On which subject, we realized this morning that we had not been ashore for five days and, somewhat surprisingly, were not really bothered by that fact. Time was, when the sight of land had us grabbing our shoes and leaping into the dinghy. Not any more. Mind you, the fact that it tips down every few minutes and the outboard motor is not running (again) might be coloring our thinking.....
Leela is looking after us very well. There are a couple of leaks but only in âI'll have to fix that one day' spots and we are warm and dry, with plenty of books to read and indoor projects to at least contemplate if not actually do. Power is a challenge. We are having to deplete the batteries more than I would really like (it reduces their working life) and we are having to run the engine every other day for several hours to boot them back up to an acceptable level. I regret not installing a wind generator now. Solar-only was fine in the Caribbean but it does not cut it here, at least not in the current conditions. One upside of the appalling weather is that we are getting plenty of practice at collecting rainwater (very quickly) so there is no need to use power on the water maker.
We are currently anchored in a fairly well protected bay between the islands of Taravai and Agakuaitai. I say fairly well protected because it can get a bit hairy when the weather comes in from the W to NW which it managed to do all day yesterday despite a forecast to the contrary. It got pretty âinteresting' for a while and we were at the point of discussing bolting for the E side of the island but the forecast reasserted its slightly bruised credibility and things settled down enough for me to be able to dive on the rudder and ruin the day of a quite impressive collection of barnacles that had established themselves inside the rudder post tube, making steering a worryingly muscular activity. By evening it was calm enough for us to actually row over (no outboard...) to Pitufa for a very enjoyable dinner. Birgit makes an awesome gluten-free lasagne.
We are tucked in here with Pitufa, Sugar Shack and Yelo. It is a small international community of Austrian, Swiss, Canadian, American, English and Australian citizens - not bad for eight people.
The weather looks like it will improve considerably in a couple of days so, if that actually happens, we are planning to head back to the outer reef to do some more fish-watching. It will certainly be nice if we get some sunshine. Maybe summer is coming late?... I’m posting this via satellite so only one picture I’m afraid. It is looking back towards Aukena from the false pass anchorage near the airport during one of the better weather spells - when you could actually see the island....