Monster Weather Pattern! Horror Summer! The Godzilla Cthulu Sauron El Nino of 2015!- I’ve been putting off blogging about this because I haven’t wanted to jinx anything, but there appears to be no escaping this behemoth, and the accompanying headlines.
I feel a bit selfish worrying about this. I’m not a drought stricken farmer or an islander waiting to get walloped – but the El Nino (or El No No as I have dubbed it) is certainly putting a spanner in our works.
Next year is supposed to be the year we climb aboard Wildflower and head out into the wild blue again. It’s the excited note I ended my book on, it’s what the next book (which I have already started writing) will be about – and there’s a good chance it might be put on hold.
Even though we won’t be leaving until mid year, we have to make a call by February so we can wrap up jobs, sort out my flat and get the boat ready. If Godzilla Cthulu Sauron is still lurking about by then, then the answer will be no.
We seem to attract annoying weather patterns. On our last trip we struck El No No’s opposite, a La Nina. The biggest problem with that though was a lack of wind, meaning we ended up spending much more than we had planned on diesel.
El No No goes to the other extreme. It is possible to sail in one, but the winds are stronger – strong enough to change things from ‘rather uncomfortable’ to ‘really bloody uncomfortable’. Ever since our wretched passage to Tonga Paddy has been trying to convince me that open water sailing can actually be quite pleasant. El No No seems to want to make a liar of him.
The other thing an El Nino can do is mess with the direction of the trade winds. Again, you can sail in this – you just need to change your angle, but the problems lie when you reach your destination. The majority of the anchorages in the islands are set up to be sheltered from the trade winds, if the winds start blowing in the opposite direction then shelter is much harder to come by and you are likely to be spending a lot of your time in bouncy, uncomfortable spots. Since we’re not complete gluttons for punishment, this doesn’t really appeal.
Of course it could have all blown over by the time we are ready to leave, but the problem is it is impossible to know. There’s so much to organise, we should be organising it now, but its hard to know when to invest the energy. I’m nervous as all get out anyway and don’t feel like I am ready yet, but committing to getting ready is only partially possible when we can’t commit to the fact we are going.
It lacks the adventure and sense of achievement but it really is so much easier to plan a trip when you are just climbing aboard a plane. As Paddy says, nothing goes to windward like a 747.
Our last trip was the big one for Paddy, he was able to prove that he and his boat were tough enough to make it round the South Pacific. This time we don’t have anything to prove, we know we can do it. This time we are going to take our time to enjoy it, to spend more time in places we like with people we like. I’m afraid I’m not up for the whole ‘heroic suffering’ thing.
I feel like a real spoil sport stressing out about all this, but Paddy told me the other night that the aim of the whole exercise was to enjoy it. He said he was prepared to wait until the conditions (and the neurotic crew) were ready – and that is a huge relief to me.
If feel like a bit of a fraud. I’ve told the world the next adventure will be 2016, but I honestly don’t know.
It’s really hard to keep your head in anything when you don’t know. I have my OCD under control but I still have a few hangovers. I want to know what is happening, when it is going to happen and how, then I can plan and get it sorted in my head. This limbo situation is the worst kind of torture for a control freak like me!
So I will be keeping a close eye on El No No and I’ll keep you guys updated closer to crunch time. In the meantime a few less Godzillas in the headlines would be much appreciated!