Nominally, it’s over. El Niño diminishing by the day and the consensus among metoffices is that later this year conditions will likely be neutral, or even a La Niña.
All this means we spent these months on an exceptionally strong mooring for nothing. Though; better safe than sorry! In hindsight we would have preferred to be in the Marquesas group, but no one has a crystal ball to know what the future will be like.
As far as sailing goes, nothing much to tell and the weather has been less than great though infinitely more agreeable than cold, windy winters in France or Sweden. We have had copious amounts of rain. So much that we had to wash every square inch of the boat exterioraly since green algae started growing everywhere and threatened to convert Nanna into a sculpture of slippery green. In between the rainy spells we’ve had fine sunny weather for a week or even two at a time. At the head of the bay where I built our mooring, there is rarely any wind so it’s been very hot onboard and in fact the rain always welcome as it cooled things off. Each time it rained for a few days at a time, we repeated the mantra; – lot better than a cyclone-, and filled our tanks, jugs and jerrycans with ‘eau de ciel’ as they say here, water for the sky.
Apart from weather and daily checking of several meteo websites, we have enjoyed free wifi, for a change, albeit very slow. The big Carrefour supermarket a few hundred meters from the boat, making possible a more varied diet than when we are out on the islands.socializing with neighbors and friends and doing some odd little jobs on our boat. One morning a couple of weeks ago I discovered a shorted cell in one of the batteries onboard. Next week another so decided it was definitely time to replace them all. Two gelcell batteries available from a local supplier, and so far they seem very promising. Gel batteries accept charge much better then wet cells, and even better, they suffer less of “Peukert effect” meaning that on a gel after discharging say 10 Amphrs you’d have to charge with about 11,5 whereas on a flooded lead battery it would need about 12-13. Doesn’t sound like huge difference? Well. Over a year it makes a world of difference. Other advantage with gel is they do. It spill electrolyte even if lying on the side, they do not release explosive hydrogen gas as wet cels do, and they will normally live longer! The drawback is they are about twice the price, and need very precise charging procedures since water can not be topped up they must NEVER be overcharged.
This strong El Niño year didnot bring a single cyclone into French Polynesia, not even to Samoa or Cook Islands, some 1000 miles west of us. Notwithstanding, TC Winston developed into a category 5 monster, killing over 40 people in Fiji and causing huge property and infrastructural damage.
From our perspective, after living six months in Ecuador a little more than 3 years ago, the earthquake there recently was terrible news. We still not now exactly the extent of it in Bahia de Caraquez, where the boat was while we travelled the whole mountain chain in the interior, bit it is bad, unfortunately very bad news.
Here again, during the entire season we never saw more than 30-35 knots of wind in squalls. This was while some mini-lows passed by. During heavy rainfall a few of the rivers on Tahiti flooded and washed away some houses but other than that, nothing much considering what was expected from a ‘bad niño year’.
What’s next? -we hope to sail to windward a few days, to visit one of the closest of the atolls in the Tuamotus before flying back to Europe for a few weeks.
Once back in “Fenua” the maohi name of this island country, we’d like to visit more of the Tuamotus, as stepping stones on the way to the Marquesas wher we’d like to spend next wet season beginning at the end of the year.
Sent from my iBoat