Pacific Ocean

Toward the Ile des Pins and Nouméa…

Published on 01 october 2016 at 0h00

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It was the beginning of April in New Zealand. We were two weeks into fall. The light and the colors were beginning to change. The temperature had dropped too, barely reaching 10°C at first light in the mornings. After a five month stopover in the land of the long white cloud, it was time to start studying the weather charts again. Jangada is waiting for a weather window while anchored in Opua, in the Bay of Islands. This weekend had been very windy over Northland, and only yesterday there had been 40 knot gusts. It looked as though there could possibly soon be a maximum 5-6 day weather window to allow us to get to New Caledonia. We would have to take the shortest, most direct route. We could forget the planned stopover on Norfolk Island. Although the cyclone season was nearing its end, it was always capable of springing a surprise upon sailors who were in too much of a hurry to get going, with a late but powerful cyclone. We were perhaps about two to three weeks too early in the season. The Kiwi weather guru, Bob McDavitt told us that there was a perennial cyclone risk in mid April. Initially in the Coral Sea and then descending south towards New Caledonia… It’s a known weather phenomenon which is not rare. We could therefore set off, but mustn’t hang about en route… 

In this type of situation, when I’m convinced that I’ve analyzed all the angles, and have then taken a decision, I don’t like to hang around. When a weather window opens up, every hour wasted could ...

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