…and I thought “crap” I’ve really misled my poor Mom (and anyone else reading this) about the weather out here in the South Pacific.
While it isn’t as grey as the Seattle area, we get a lot of overcast skies, usually paired with strong winds, as fronts and other pressure systems blow across the South Pacific. In a bad year, such as this year, maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of our days are overcast and grey. We spend those days either hunkered down, tending to our boat, or out kiteboarding. What we don’t usually do is reach for our camera. Grey days don’t inspire our inner photographer and so unless we are inspired to take photos for another reason, most of the photos we take, and post, are from sunny days.
The amount of grey days and pressure systems had varied hugely across the 4 seasons we’ve been cruising in the South Pacific. Partly this is a function of the El Nino cycles, partly this is a function of the area we are cruising (Eastern S Pacific vs. now entering the Western S Pacific) and also whether we are in a country with large land masses such as Fiji which encourage rain to dump.
Speaking of large land masses and fronts, when a front is coming through and people are getting ready to settle into their books in a safe anchorage, people going to windward perk up and start wondering if the front will bend the trade winds enough for them to make mileage eastward, and whether the front will have too much convective activity (i.e., squalls and thunderstorms) to make it worth taking. For this reason, when we are going to windward we spend a lot more of our time in fronts, sailing in crappy, grey, rainy conditions than we do when we are sailing downwind (although we get it there too).
Even worse is going to weather in places like Fiji where the front is interacting with squeeze zones between large land masses. We tried three times to make it to the Southern Lau and in the first two instances the weather as experienced had no relation to the weather as predicted. In case you are wondering, we aren’t exactly weather dummies. We look at a lot more than the gribs and still we were shut down twice. People who tried the window before us had a lot of success, others have correctly predicted the weather in the two windows we tried and we imagine some have motored part of the way in light conditions .
…but the third time’s a charm, right?