I could name the sailing yachts that have left thinking that they’ve read the weather tea leaves just right, only to limp back into New Zealand. Some have torn sails, some with broken gear, some just gave up in the face of massive waves, but all have that same faraway look in their eyes when relating what went wrong. One skipper said it was humbling. Make no mistake, most have found a way up to the tropics and are champing at the bit waiting to tell you all about it over ice cold Tuis in some tiki bar near the equator. What a beautiful thought. Ice cold beers with the bottle sweating picturesque droplets of water, just like a Corona commercial, watching the tropical sun go down. Right now, I no more want anything cold than I want another bad weather forecast and there have been plenty of those.
Mornings down here feature 9 degree Celsius wake-up calls with condensation raining off of every portlight and window and Gulf Harbor Radio explaining how that chance of a marginal weather window just evaporated. All this moisture in a closed up boat has caused some strange behavior from several disparate items. The strangest has to be waking up to a non stop donging sound that at first we couldn’t place. Turns out our ailing but beloved twenty-five-year-old brass shipstrike clock suddenly started chiming, but the maximum number of bells should be eight and it was well past 100 when I pulled the battery out.
I think of us as gentle tropic breeze sailors as opposed to Arctic blizzard adventure sailors but I have to say we have sailed many 1,000 plus mile passages and one of the longest nonstop passages was 3,600 miles. Unseasonable, volatile, and next week are the most commonly heard watchwords here in New Zealand. There are weather commandments and one that is etched in stone states that you never head out in a high pressure system over 1030 millibars. We had 1040 on Escape Velocity this morning! I guess you can just refer back to the volatile and unseasonable comment. On our whirlwind tour of the North Island we stayed at a motel whose guest book had numerous references to “unseasonably bad weather,” Maybe it’s more common than we were told. So every morning at the marina cafe we cruisers gather to discuss and bitch about the weather, try to thaw out, and swap mildew suppressant recipes. Every night Marce wraps herself in multiple layers of technical fleece, watch cap, gloves, socks, and whatever else we can find, and fills her hot water bottle with boiling hot water. Next we dive under a duvet and a pile of at least three other blankets unless we can see our breath in which case we add an extra emergency blanket.
In the meantime we try to keep EV ready for sea and in the rare sunny day we go for a walk or restock provisions. We love beautiful New Zealand but we really gotta get out of this place. Waiting on you, Mr. Weatherman.