Friday 22 May, 7.03pm (anchored at Port Resolution)

Bob described today as “sleep, eat, read, eat, sleep, read, sleep…”

Whilst we’ve achieved very little today, in many ways it seems like we’ve packed two days into one. It started last evening when the predicted rain and wind change came through, causing us to monitor our safe progress through the night here on the anchor. Bob reckons that anchor will never come out! But it was the rain that warrants special mention. Not since I was in Sydney last have I seen rain like it. It poured and poured and poured. Kathy and Will, who’ve been living in Albury for the past 2-3 years saw the rain as almost a totally new experience altogether.

Looking on the positive side, and after carting water to the boat in drums from the local village over the past 2 days with Andrew, I got up at 12:00 midnight and shone a torch out into the torrent descending on the deck and wondered, “How can we get this stuff into our tanks?” As it turned out, Bob had got up with the same thought and was sitting in the companionway musing.

I remember the previous owners spoke about plugging up the deck drain holes when they were in the tropics and the water just flowed into the tanks – of course once they’d taken the filler cap off.

So I dug out the oddly shaped plugs, which have sat in a box for the past 3 years and did the business – but not before first putting on my bathers, accepting that I would get drenched in the process. And oh how it worked. Pretty soon the water was 2-3 inches deep and getting deeper on the deck. I duly opened the tanks … and in poured the water … Free of any effort!!

Bob took a glassful of the precious stuff and after sipping the edge of the glass in a considered way, while looking up to the left, said it had a “fine nose, a hint of acacia, a clean finish – a true May 22 vintage.”

I went back to bed, but Will and Kathy awoke some time later with water dripping onto them in their cabin through a small hole which the rain had found – the problem turned out to be that the water tanks were overflowing and the deck was covered with 4 inches of water sloshing from one side to the other. Bob did the honours, pulled the plugs and water poured off the deck through the holes and out into the sea.

I got up three more times to bale the water out of the dinghy – which was fast filling up. So by morning, there was a pile of wet jocks and bathers on the floor of my cabin, the towels were very much on the damp side and I was ready for a sleep.

Each time I crawled back into my bunk and looked up through the clear hatch above I could see the anchor light shining out through the driving rain and occasionally there were what looked like birds, or fruit bats circling the light. Then, next time I was up I spied a small bird nestled on the deck, sheltering. He didn’t struggle when I picked him up and placed him between two cushions out of the rain and under the awning.

When light finally came and bodies began emerging from their cabins, Bob went and retrieved the bird from under the boom and insisted we fetch a box with something warm to wrap him in. “What sort of bird is it?” said Bob. “It’s one of those storm birds, come to say hello to you Bob.”

After having rain and strong winds all night, for a bit of variety we had more rain and strong changeable winds all day.

Today was to be the day we went to the volcano, but due to the rain and cloud we guess it’s been cancelled. (some of us thought the rain might put the volcano out) I say guessed, because the medical team was working in a village just north of here today and we’ve had no communications. When the 4wd ute didn’t turn up at 3:00pm, we assumed it was off because of the weather.

Tomorrow we intend to get the boat ready for the trip north to Erromango Island on Sunday, and from what we can see the weather is improving!! Tomorrow should be just a little rain and Sunday fine with a 15 knot westerly.

It’s now after dinner and it’s still raining, and there are signs the wind and sea are moderating.

Not a lot more to report and I see Kathy is putting dessert on the table … so I’d better go.

Smooth sea, fair breeze and may the rain now stop.

Rob

PS A cheer went up because the wind is now blowing hard and the wind generator on the stern is going around very fast and the AMP meter went positive. meaning that we were briefly producing more electricity than we were using … you can see what it’s come to, when evening entertainment consists of monitoring the AMP Meter!!