Thursday, April 23, 2009

Snowed in!

Not literally of course!  But 'snowed in' is what it feels like lately.  Unless you grew up in the tropics, you will all know what it is like when the big storm hits and the roads and schools are closed and no one goes to work except policemen, firemen and people who own honking big four wheel drive SUVs and need to justify all that gas the rest of the year!
We, however, having made our way back to Toketie yesterday afternoon against strong headwinds and whitecaps, are now riding it out on the mooring.  Our poor little four horse Johnson outboard could just barely make progress and threatened to run out of gas at any moment, which would have seen us blown back to the marina!  It almost feels like we are at sea, with the boat moving to the seas and the wind howling in the rigging.  It is not uncomfortable out here but not worth the dinghy ride in so we relax, do research, read books, drink coffee and stare out the porthole at the raging blizzard, metaphorically speaking!  For fun, we turn the wind instrument on and sit in our totally enclosed cockpit shelter and watch the digital readout climb over 30 knots…all the while gazing about to see whether anyone has lost their dinghy yet!
We follow the progress of three coast guard rescues on the VHF radio, including a helicopter lift for medical reasons.  Another large sailboat managed to get 300 miles offshore and into very rough wind and seas only to have the engine fail and the sails shredded.  We saw them at the dock after being towed in.  Not sure what they were thinking as weather forecasting is a highly evolved exercise here and the systems that move across the Tasman Sea from Australia are fairly predictable.  Other than the occasional 'bomb' of course, like the famous Queen Mother storm of 1994 that caught the fleet on their passage up to the islands.  These are rare and develop so suddenly, they can not be forecast.  So we prepare for the worst and plan for the best!
Meanwhile we have applied to upgrade our boat insurance to blue water coverage again.  The new batteries (did I mention the new batteries?) have arrived but we have to wait till the weather settles down to haul the 300 pounds out and install them.
The weather gurus say it should start to calm down on Sunday, which would be the day after tomorrow!  
We are almost ready to leave New Zealand.  We have decided not to check into Suva, the capital of Fiji due to recent civil unrest.  We have been assured it does not affect the rest of the country and they eagerly welcome the cruisers so we may go further North to Savu Savu and check in at a more remote location, far from the politics that seem to plague the country.
But for now, the wind howls and we keep busy until the daylight fades and we can watch another episode of Battlestar Galactica!

1 comment:

SV said...

Ahoy the Toketies!
Great to see all your adventures. I wouldn't worry about the unrest in Suva. We were there during the coup back in 1987 and we only found out about it two weeks later...after we had left! Typical 'head-in-the-sand' type cruisers!!
Will e-mail you with news.
Fair winds.
The Jabulas