August 28, 2004

We've been back at Majuro for about 4 days now having arrived on the 24th from the US after our 5 week visit back to the states. We had quite a time the first day having arrived with 4 duffle bags filled with clothes and stuff and having to deal with about 8 boxes which we shipped back to ourselves from the US (which a friend had placed aboard for us while we were gone). But before we could put anything away we had to deal with the moldy fungus which was growing all over the inside of the boat. Well, not all over actually, only on the oiled teak surfaces. I guess the oiled surface holds dirt while the varnished parts of the woodwork do not. We wiped down almost the entire boat with vinegar. Of course it was about 90F and we had become sissies - used to the air conditioning which is so prevalent everywhere you go back in the US during summer. How you could tell it was summer there I don't know since the temperature rarely was above 75F.

Anyway, the day we arrived it was a beautiful day but the next 3 days were miserable. Solid rain with periodic squalls with winds of up to 40k. One day we had 6 or 7 hours of 20-25k solid. But to make matters worse, the wind was from the West which is unusual but not unheard of, especially at this time of the year. What it means for us is that our nice calm, flat anchorage (which faces land to the East of us and provides protection from the raging ocean just beyond) turned into a teeming cauldron of crashing waves and whitecaps. The lagoon stretches off to the West about 15 miles and when the wind comes from that direction it whips up the water and by the time the waves reach this end of the lagoon they are huge. We had 2-4ft waves with occasional ones even larger. At sea this is nothing to us. At anchor it is hell. First, the boat's stern is to the land and the bow is dancing up and down with each wave, the lines securing us to the mooring line (which descends to the bottom with heavy chain and is attached to a multi-thousand pound hunk of metal of dubious vintage) stretch and pull, tighten and then slacken over and over putting great stress on the entire system. A broken mooring line or shackle in this situation would put us on the rocks within moments. Literally we would have 60-90 seconds, perhaps 2 minutes at the outside to start the motor, clear the fouled lines and steam away from shore before we were just another piece of flotsam wash-up up on the coral shelf which abuts the narrow strip of land. Suffice it to say we were nervous but confident (there had been one other Westerly while we were gone we heard and clearly the lines held for the Queen Jane was right where we left her).

Today is Saturday and the wind is calm this morning. The wind direction has improved and is now from the South or even slightly East of South which is a good sign (if it stays there). Forecasts are calling for a return to the (normal) Easterly trade winds today but they are usually wrong. We have a ton of laundry to do already as the sheets we left out on the bunks were smelly when we returned but we can't do it if there is no sunshine (we have a washing machine but we dry our clothes outside in the sun).

We will try to write more regularly from now on and tomorrow I will talk about all the cool stuff we bought in the US and what we are working on boat wise to get things ready to cruise again.