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Tropical storm and a diversion to Rarotonga

Apr 2, 2014 | General

Tropical storm and a diversion to Rarotonga. 30/03/2014 20:01 (UTC) Position: 21°12.30′S 159°47.08′W Course: 038°True Speed: 0.0knots. To say the least, its been rather a rough couple of days on board GREY WOLF. We were only 150 miles short of Mangaia when we got caught up in the outskirts of a tropical storm. Mangaia is short on shelter so that visit was aborted. We swung to port and diverted to Rarotonga instead. Rarotonga is another classic Pacific island, a bit bigger than Mangaia and more famous.

Well, the weather didn’t improve as we ran north. We had 3m waves and 20knot winds which hit me in the stomach again. Being seasick really does break you and if anyone had offered me the option I’d have climbed off. That’s not how it works though, so I got my head down and battled through it. When I woke up again we weren’t far off Rarotonga. By now we were surfing along with the swell behind us which made for a more comfortable ride, and I can announce that our Kiwi friend Matt has claimed the title for the fastest surfing speed of 14.6knots.

As we drew closer to Rarotonga the weather took a dive. Yet another tropical storm had developed not far from the island, and this is where things got really interesting. The worst of the weather hit us just outside the harbour and it was pretty serious. The barometer readings fell through the floor and then started bounding up and down like a heart-rate monitor. The wind cranked up to 54knots and the waves were 3-4 metres. We’d had plenty of 3 metre waves before, but this lot weren’t ocean rollers. They were steep and closely spaced. Back I went to my cabin feeling sick as a dog again.

The weather was so bad that trying to enter harbour would have been dangerous in the dark, so we just had to motor up and down the coast until morning allowed us to see what we were doing. Down in the guest cabin I could feel the waves slamming into the bow and see the lighting flashing through the hatch.

The guys up top said the night was quite an experience with rain so thick it was like walking through a waterfall. Even Peter said he’d never been out in weather like that before. GREY WOLF has done the crew and Peter proud. Steve Dashew and the guys at Circa Marine certainly built one hell of a boat.

Now here we are sitting pretty in Rarotonga. We’ve cleared customs, so I’m off to take a tour of our little bit of paradise. After last night, it looks extra good to me!

Jack


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