Day 383, Year 1: Back on Track
Date: Sunday, November 5, 2006
Weather: Still Sunny and Windy
Location: Pangaimotu Island, Tongatapu Group, Tonga

We might be back on track. Many of the captains in the anchorage had a meeting this morning to share weather information, and it looks like we have a bit of a window. Those leaving tomorrow must get to New Zealand prior to November 14 to avoid some really nasty weather headed for the North Island. Those leaving Tuesday will probably make a stop at Minerva Reef and wait for the nasty weather to pass and then look for a 5-day window to head from there to New Zealand. There are some southwest headwinds predicted late this week, so getting to Minerva and waiting avoids those. It looks like Windcastle, Windbird (That’s us!), and Gdansk will wait until Tuesday morning and head for Minerva. There are still 12 to 15 foot seas here in southern Tonga, and by Tuesday those should settle down a bit and make for a better passage. We literally just received our “official” report from weather router Bob McDavitt and it agrees with the “leave here” plan, but he routes us straight to New Zealand, getting in just in time for the nasty cold front. Part of me thinks we should stay here and wait for better weather in New Zealand, but part of me thinks that wait could be a very long time. They are having windier and colder weather than usual this spring in New Zealand and no one is sure when that will turn around. We are proceeding based on this information and will probably leave here on Tuesday, but who knows what tomorrow will bring. New weather information-new decisions to be made. It is never ending.

Sylvie on Windcastle, Barbara on Gdansk, Mary on Aventura, and myself skipped the weather meeting this morning and went into town on the ferry to attend church. The other three are devout Catholics and always go to mass. That’s not the case with me, but I always find the church services fascinating. Today’s service was in English. I think a lot is lost when the service is not in the native language, especially the hymns, but I still find it fascinating.

Tonight we are going over to Windcastle to have dinner. Gdansk is also coming. I’m sure there will be much weather and passage talk. Early tomorrow morning we head to town to do the last provisioning and then it’s back to the boat to get ready to go . . . again The weather here is windy, but it is sunny and beautiful. Sure hope the sunshine stays with us throughout the passage. That will make the inevitable cold a little easier to take as we near the New Zealand coast.

061105 Day 383 Tonga, Pangaimotu Island–Weather and Friends