October 10

Amazingly, we are still here at Santo in Vanuatu . We have been here, moored at the Aore Resort, for almost 2 weeks now (not counting the first week we were here last month). We have been waiting this whole time for a change in the weather which will allow us to head South in a non-painful fashion. The problem is strong winds and high seas from the SE. This makes going South very difficult unless you don’t mind getting seasick and breaking stuff. Further, our desired course to Noumea , New Caledonia , is actually just a bit East of South, perhaps 175True. Winds have been in the 20-30k range and seas are reported at 12-18ft, not exactly your smooth tropical seas.  

Our goal is to be in Noumea for Jonah’s birthday, October 20th. Its only 3 days away so we have another week till it will become impossible to make it. Our next goal is New Zealand of course and this is also problematic until we can get South of 20S where the SouthEasterlies are weaker. A stop in Noumea is not essential, but it is on the way. If we have to wait much longer we will not stop there if we have favorable conditions for heading South.

We are, of course, not along in this dilemma. There are at least 4 other boats here, 2 of which want to go to Noumea and 2 of which want to go directly to NZ. None of us are anxious to leave in these conditions. Additionally, the skies have been overcast and rainy the entire time we have been stuck here. As I have mentioned in earlier journal entries, this season has been a disaster weather wise for the entire Western South Pacific region.  

Meanwhile, we are having a problem with our Ham radio email account (WinLink) and this has been a big problem for us. Fortunately, we are stuck at a place with an internet connection and we have been checking incoming mail using the machine at the hotel. The downside is the cost – about $20/hr! We have a backup account (SailMail) and we are using that instead, but it has a strict limit on how much can be sent and how much connect time can be used. Hopefully this will be cleared up soon.