Day 180, Year 2: WAG or SWAG
Date: Sunday, October 21, 2007
Weather: Overcast and Windy; Winds E 15-20 with Higher Gusts
Location: l’Orphelinat Bay, Noumea, New Caledonia
Okay. I have to be a little crass in order to share with you what WAG and SWAG mean, if you don’t know already. WAG is a “wild-assed guess” and SWAG is a “scientific wild-assed guess.” I learned this from Paul on Ranger today, and evidently I should have known this, but did not. When I heard it, I thought it was quite humorous. When you are getting ready to leave on a major passage, the weather is of upmost importance, but just like at home, weather reporting is a SWAG. That’s just a step above
being a WAG. I’d never want to be a meteorologist because the weather changes every few hours, sometimes dramatically, and people are just not that flexible. If they hear on one day that the weather tomorrow will be sunny and beautiful, and then it ends up to be partly cloudy, they think the meteorologist is crazy. Actually, he is probably just fine, but the weather decided to take a turn. This is is what we are dealing with in our preparations for our passage to Australia. Day before yesterday
the GRIB files looked like we would have a good passage, yesterday they looked terrible with a low coming south and causing all kinds of havoc, and then today they look great again. Who knows? Actually, no one. You have to take the weather information (that’s the scientific part) and put that together with your knowledge of the passage and come up with a SWAG–your best scientific wild-assed guess. We put so much effort into this and often the conditions we experience on passage are totally opposite
of what was expected. Makes one think that just going with a WAG might be as accurate. But we will always add in the scientific and hope it makes the difference for us.
Today we went to the market early, took the veggies back to Windibird, and then went back in to town to the internet cafe to download weather information and to make a Skype call to our son Justin. Afterward we started our second day of the museum marathon. We walked across town to the Maritime Museum. It was small and not all that impressive, but we managed to enjoy it. We watched a video in French talking about an expedition to the north pole, and about halfway through that we decided that
we should head back in the directions of the marina. Mark and I headed for the Museum of new Caledonia. It was a much better museum. The first floor was devoted to Kanak culture while the second floor expanded its reach to include artifacts from many of the neighboring islands in the South Pacific. In a separate wing was an exhibit of work by students who were obviously studying their history and traditions.
After visiting the museums we went back to Ranger to continue our weather discussions with Paul, Marie, Gerry and Donna. Since the information we have been getting from various sources is not always the same, we have decided to prepare to leave but to expect that we may be here for a few more days. And we will continue to monitor weather reports daily.