Day 173, Year 2: The Unexpected
Date: Sunday, October 14, 2007
Weather: From No Wind to SE 25 Knots, Gusts to 35 Knots
Latitude: S 22 degrees 17.887 minutes
Longitude: E 166 degrees 34.733 minutes
Location: Bailly Island, New Caledonia

We awoke suddenly around 6:30 AM this morning as rain was coming in the hatch over my head. We had left all the hatches open last night since there was absolutely no wind and no hint of rainy weather, but rain there was. We ran in different directions to close hatches and get towels that had been hung on the life lines to dry. It was a rude awakening and not expected. The rain subsided, but the clouds did not. Mark thought it would clear. I was not certain of that, but we decided to pull up
anchor and leave for our next destination. When we pulled out of the anchorage we had about eight knots of wind, but very quickly the skies got grayer and the winds increased dramatically. The GRIB files had predicted today as another low wind day, but before long, we were sailing along with winds ranging from twelve to thirty-five knots. It was crazy. There is a New Caledonia weather service available both by email and on VHF radio, but since we don’t read or speak French they do us no good.
The GRIBs are our only source of weather information in this area. Obviously they were not even close today

When we reached Grande Mata Island we were hesitant to enter without the proper light to see the reefs. It was at this point that Paul got out his binoculars and reported that there were already five boats in the tiny anchorage, so now we had an additional problem. At this point we were wishing we had not left Kouare, but we had and now we had to find a place to put down the hook. Ranger and Scot Free were with us and we all scrambled to find the best alternative. Unfortunately, there was no
place to go except the islands just off the main island of Grande Terre. We had been hoping for a couple of more days of white sand beaches and pristine snorkeling (without sharks), but the closer we got to the main island, those visions began to fade. We made it to Bailly Island safely, but there are no white sand beaches or azure water. The wind is still blowing and shows no evidence of letting up, but maybe this bad weather will go away as quickly as it came. Yesterday afternoon I was talking
with Gerry and Donna on Scot Free II and said that it would be nice if we could have some wind today. The minute I said that, I clasped my hands over my mouth as I know that you might just get what you wish for. Well, we did get wind, and we are not where we expected. It makes me sad to think that yesterday’s snorkel might be our last for this cruising season. I was not quite ready to give that up. So I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what the anchorages near the main island have to offer.
Possibly it will be better than I expect.