Day 380, Year 1: Time
Day: Thursday, November 2, 2006
Weather: Overcast
Location: Pangaimotu Island, Tongatapu Group, Tonga

We spent our day learning as much as we could about New Zealand weather reports. This includes listening to “The Rag of the Air” cruiser net from 0800 to 0900 local time, and then listening to New Zealand Taupo Radio weather reports at 2133 UTC which is 1033 local time. All of a sudden everything is in universal time and we have to add 13 hours. Next we accessed our email and got our Fleet Codes for today. This is a list of numbers that we copy and paste into a program called WIAC and it magically turns those numbers in to a weather map showing fronts, highs, lows, etc. We also get our GRIB files each day via email. These show us wind patterns and can be over-layed on our navigation program to show us what the winds will be like along our passage route. At 1130 am local time, it was time to download the first weather fax of the day. It was listed as valid for November 1, 2006 at 1800 UTC. At first we thought it was old data, but then we realized that if we added the 13 hours, we got 0700 am local time on November 2. That’s today here. What a world we live in out here. I’m lucky if I ever know when to do what. We actually had to make an Excel spreadsheet of the different times during the day when we have to be on the radio or computer getting information during this passage to New Zealand. We have to leave the computer on from 1130 in the am to 1600 in the pm to get all of the different weather faxes. They download automatically if the computer is left on. In addition to all of this, when we are on passage we will have to check into the Pacific Seafarer’s Net at 1630 (4:30 pm local time) and into Russell Radio in New Zealand at 1900 (7:00 pm local time). I’m already exhausted. And one more note on the time. I got an email from my daughter Heather last night explaining that you guys have gone off Daylight Savings Time, so now I only have to add six hours and subtract one 24 hour day to the time here to figure out what time it is back home. At least that is fairly straightforward.

So knowing what time it is out here can be confusing. And then the time it takes to wait to make a passage can be frustrating. We got an email from Bob McDavitt in New Zealand late today that told us to put time on hold. In other words, we need to wait. Our weather window is not here and might not be for quite a few days. We are still going to hold on to November 7 as a departure date, but we won’t know about that until Sunday. So maybe Tonga is the place where time stands still!

Day 381, Year 1: Weather, Weather, Weather
Day 379, Year 1: New Auto Pilot Sea Trial Is Successful