Sunday, April 27, 2008

April 26, 2008 - Opua

We've now been here for a week. Opua may be prettier than Whangarei, but it sure is boring. We spend an inordinate amount of time looking at weather forecasts, trying to find a good day to make our escape. Every day, the picture changes, drastically. For example, first thing this morning, several forecasts showed a scary looking low riding a track down from New Caledonia to New Zealand over the next few days. When we checked the latest forecasts this afternoon the low had disappeared. You'd think that in this day and age, someone would have come up with a more accurate way to forecast the weather.

Today we went to a presentation by Bob McDavitt, an employee of the New Zealand weather service who, for a fee, provides weather routing for cruisers. We left the seminar more disillusioned than ever. Here is a guy, whom many consider to be the best source of offshore weather info for the subtropical Western Pacific region, and all he seems to be doing is plugging information (departure date, boat speed, etc.) into a computer program to tell us where and when to go. If his program had access to different weather data than we do, that would be one thing; but, the program he is using is accessing the same constantly changing weather data that we are, which doesn't exactly instill us with confidence in his forecasts.

Right now, the best option for departure seems to be next weekend. But by the time Saturday rolls around, that may no longer be the case. The picture changes so quickly that we are on the verge of throwing up our hands and just going and dealing with whatever we run into.

Luckily, we only have our own frustration to deal with. Several of our friends have crew joining them on this passage. Their crew are even more anxious than the rest of us to get out of here, as they have to get back to jobs, families, and in some cases their own boats. They would really like to see something other than Opua before returning home. There is a bit of tension on each of these boats as cruisers struggle to balance keeping their temporary crew happy and picking the best departure date from the standpoint of safety, comfort and cost (the less we have to motor, the less we have to spend on fuel).

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