Yesterday it was all about rain. It rained a lot. It rained and rained rained. Not drizzle, but rain. Bora Bora can be a wet place when it wants to be, that is for certain. Any plans to go snorkeling were put on ice when the grey clouds appeared, sufficient to cover up the sun. Snorkeling is fine in the rain but without the sun all the colors disappear underwater and that’s not so much fun. Instead I stayed indoors and put Beetle ready to go offshore, did some reading, and watched a silly movie. It didn’t stop raining until after dark at which time the clouds cleared and the stars showed up.
Tiger Beetle is now participating in the Polynesian Magellan Net (to use its entire title) as the Sunday Net Controller – the person that moderates and operates the radio net among the cruisers. Roger on Ednbal was the Sunday controller but he’s moved on west and is just about in American Samoa, that’s about the limit of radio communications on 8173 at the time of day the net operates (morning and evening, 1800 and 0400 UTC) – so I’ve stepped in to help out with the net on Sundays. The net has enough boats that the week is divided across seven boats each of whom are responsible for one day’s net control. I won’t be in the area all that long but Beetle has a good SSB radio installation and I was asked if I would take over Sundays, so sure, I can do that.
The difficult part is keeping track of the names of each boat’s people; it’s a lot more fun to receive a call from Net control that starts, ‘Hi, Philip! – what’s your position this morning?’ rather than ‘Parotia, go ahead with position information’. So the net does try to keep the people names in the forefront which means the Net controllers keep a list of names on each boat as Net control is the only boat likely to actually talk directly to all the boats. There aren’t that many vessels on the net at the moment; the cruising season here is winding down, by November typhoons become a threat (especially in the Fiji area, which you have to go through on the way to New Zealand), and by December the rainy season begins. If yesterday’s rain was any indication of wet-ness, this will be a wet place in the rainy season – one chart shows rainfall averages November -> February as 18, 39, 47, 26 inches of rain per month, about 10 times the amount that lands on Orcas Island. A significant part of the cruising decision is what to do in the typhoon/wet season – boats are hauling out at the Raiatea Carenage (boat yard) in Raiatea and the owners will fly home for 5-6 months, boats are approaching New Zealand, boats are departing for Hawaii or the Marshall Islands. There are less than 20 boats now in the area participating in the net, of which half might check-in any given radio slot.
For myself, tomorrow morning I’ll be hopping over to Huahine, a 50 mile (less than one Farallones trip) in light air as the winds have shifted around to the NE and dropped. That shift will be around for the next 3-4 days – good time to be moving around out here except for the motoring part. I’ll try running with the sails, success will depend upon the sea state – if it’s lumpy lumpy then the boat will bounce around and the sails will slam in the rigging (not good), if conditions are smooth it could be nice. Unfortunately the expectation is for extra lumpy due to the multiple swell trains running then add in the refraction of waves around the islands and reflection of waves off the islands – makes for a most interesting bippity boppity ride. I’ll find out tomorrow!
Today we’ve got clear skies out here, the rainy bits seem to have moved off. I’d like to visit the fishes again on the reef, make a store stop in town (partly to see if the hardware store has a 3/32″ allen wrench that I dropped into the water and it sank faster then I can could swim after it), and stow the dinghy.
All is good here!