We haven’t been moving much recently. Haven’t budged for 17 days actually except when blown around on anchor in passing squalls. We’ve been hemmed in by a weather that is being kept over the Solomon’s by a couple cyclones that formed in the coral sea. Days and days and days of rain. It started off as showers but for the last few days it has been bucketing.
Nothing to do but collect water and watch the mold grow.
We’ve been anchored inside the protection of the lagoon that boarders Laipari island, just west of Ghizo. This is our intended cyclone hole, in the unlikely event that the shit really hits the fan, but it also a nice place to stop. The island of Laipari, an old coconut plantation, is owned by a friendly Kiwi named Noel who has lived in the Solomon’s for decades. With an extensive workshop, slipway and dock he welcomes yachties, either for work or for pleasure.
Two weeks ago we had five yachts here.
Record breaking for us this season, and although a few have moved on, constrained by time more than weather, there is still a few people around to keep us company through the long grey, wet days.
Most afternoon’s at 1700 everyone congregates ashore at the “roundhouse” (an open air, thatch roofed structure with a long wooden bench table that Noel built) for sundowners and good conversation. Last weekend we all met there for a Sunday BBQ and this past Saturday night Noel invited everyone to his house for a potlatch as a few more people were moving on. There is a small store on the island which stocks the basics for the workers who live here, and Noel’s wife Rose keeps chickens and sells the eggs. We have regular canoes stopping by to bring us fruit and veggies, either grown or foraged, for money or trade items, depending on the day. And if we get really stuck we can take the Thursday boat to Gizo town, 40 minutes away, to resupply.
The only thing we seem to be running low on these days is power.
The low, over cast skies are severely hampering our solar panels and the island blocks most of the wind so the wind gen has been pretty quiet too. As a result there has been a lot of engine running trying to keep up with the fridge and the freezer, which run day and night regardless of the weather.
The break has been pleasant enough; the lagoon at Laipari is quiet, safe and protected, no morning local boat traffic making waves, no late night drunks knocking on the hull, no worrying about the dinghy. This makes for some good nights sleep.
But two weeks of overcast skies and rain, of the boat being closed up, of leaks and mold and the laundry hamper all but overflowing and I am starting to feel rather grey myself. This morning we were greeted with blue skies and a fresh breeze, the mood on board improved dramatically. But already the clouds are creeping in and no doubt there will be a deluge later this afternoon.
The local cell phone tower has been down for weeks (possibly the generator has run out of gas because someone “borrowed it”) so I have taken the break in the weather to walk half way across the island and point the phone towards Ghizo. Sometimes you can catch a signal from there I’ve been told, I brought a coat hanger just in case. If you are reading this then I guess it is true. Hopefully the weather clears soon and we will be on our way. Until then,
P.S. I have been trying to post this for 5 days. Looks like the weather has broken, we are drying out, cleaning up and later this week will provision and start sailing again.