In the Cycles of Weather

The Tuamotus Diaries #18, Day 37 – July 4th 2016

Last week we were graced by a long spell of great weather. A Cold Front passed by us – with a couple of scary windy days in the process – and then stalled just a few degrees to the East of us. As a consequence we had almost one full week of typical post-font weather: Chilly Nights, Comfortable Days, Deep Blue Sky, Light Winds.

Our heavenly anchorage responded in full swing. The palm trees became greener, the sandy beach whiter, the water got crystal-clear, and the reef exploded in colors with the intense light.

We gorged on this exuberance, spending the most time we could outside. We flew the kids’ kites when there was enough wind, Paulo and Raquel sailed with Dylan (sv Sangvind) on their sailing pram, the Paddleboard was inflated and provided for hours of enjoyment, and the kids even had a sleepover at the beach all by themselves.

It was a long row of calm, balmy days under the sun ...
It was a long row of calm, balmy days under the sun …

And when the sun was gone …

We were still spoilt by some very intense moonlight from the previous weeks, and when the deeply dark, moonless nights set, it felt a bit eerie in the beginning. But the dry air, and completely clear skies exposed the stars to the most, and we would find ourselves dwarfed under a blanket of blinking lights night after night. Stargazing was on order, just cut short by the rather chilly air. Our cabin felt very warm and cozy.

Two days ago we had an amazing sunset, and that was the hint things were about to change again. And yesterday we woke up to a sky that was smudged with sticky grey clouds, which looked like plaster. We were in for a change.

... then we had this sunset, hinting change was in the way ...
… then we had this sunset, hinting change was in the way …

I dedicated some time in the afternoon checking and reinforcing the anchor system, and was glad to have done so when the rain came later last night, accompanied with the usual wind.

We woke up today to a damp, grey morning. It’s not cold anymore. But now we stay inside. The wind is picking up gradually – not on uncomfortable levels yet, but we know it will get there soon.

... and our lovely anchorage turned grey, damp and windy for a few days
… and our lovely anchorage turned grey, damp and windy for a few days

To be technical for one paragraph, the Front moved further to the East and on its place came a high-level Trough, which will be above us for the next 24 hrs. This Trough will keep things rainy and moderately windy until the middle of the week, but my bet is that it will also benefit us from blocking some stronger Reinforced Trade Winds which are about to settle later in the week over Tahiti, to the West. In which case, it would be a positive outcome to us. Let’s see.

The weather here in the Tuamotus definitely has its own character. At least on this cruising season, it has proven to be far more unstable and with different features than in the Marquesas, just 500 miles to the ENE. And, as written previously on this blog, this has already caused for some hairy experiences for us since arriving here (check here, here and here).

Click on the image above (or HERE) to watch a short video of the anchorage on a windy day

It is indeed more challenging to cruise here – at least under these conditions. But in hindsight, it isn’t necessarily BAD. To the contrary, I think these weather cycles have enriched the cruising “package” that we are getting here. First off, we are definitely honing our Anchoring, Navigation and Weather Forecasting skills – and this is a good thing. Second, the spells of Rainy or Windy weather only make us treasure even more the days when it is sunny and calm outside.

I am sure we will always carry the fondest memories of the time we have spent and are still spending on this incredible place !

Leave a Reply