When the Weather Laughs at Me

About six years ago, Rick and I were sailing around Mexico when my mother decided to pay us a visit. After two years with nothing but sunshine, I dared to say that in Mexico it never rains. When I told her what she should pack, I specifically mentioned not to bring a raincoat.


You can probably guess how it turned out.


For the first three days of my mother’s visit it was raining cats and dogs. Nonstop. Gallon upon gallon of rainwater poured from the sky like nothing I had ever experienced before. Admittedly, we had just moved from the desert of Baja California to the tropics further south, but nevertheless that was our first Mexican downpour. Needless to say, mum had to buy an umbrella.


Several years later a similar thing happened in French Polynesia. We were sailing in the southern Marquesas and were just about to welcome aboard a new crew member from Slovenia. We were supposed to meet on the island of Hiva Oa, about two hours sailing away. The plan was rather simple: At 6am we would sail from Tahuata to Hiva Oa. After anchoring in the bay, Rick would jump ashore to get fuel and gas while I would run to the bank and do some shopping. We’d pick up our guest at 1pm and we’d all sail back to our favourite anchorage at Tahuata.


The Hiva Oa Bay.


But that day, we awoke to a very unpleasant morning, to say the least. The endless blue skies had seemed as if they would go on forever, but that day the sun was well hidden behind a thick layer of grey clouds. If it were not for our prior appointment, we would not have sailed anywhere that day. Instead, we would reverted to our usual sybaritic inclinations and cozied down to watch movies, read books or write new articles. This is how we like to plan our days - by looking through the window and deciding what we feel like doing. That’s the beauty of our lifestyle. But this time we didn’t have a choice, so off we went.


As soon as we sailed away from the lee of Tahuata, a big swell started to roll in that made our progress even slower. That was the first unpleasant discovery of the day. The second one was that the tiny bay in Hiva Oa was totally jam-packed with boats and there was absolutely no room for us. Despite the big swell, our only option was to anchor outside the breakwater. It was indeed extremely uncomfortable - poor old Calypso was rolling more than she does in the open ocean. I even started to feel seasick and my only desire at that time was to get to land as soon as possible. But to do that we had to lower the outboard onto the dinghy, which in that wild sea turned out to be a real circus-like performance. With a lot of patience and a bit of luck we eventually managed to get to land. Rick went off to the gas station and I walked into town. As I was stepping out of the bank, the downpour began. I ran to the nearest shop, where I had the difficult task to acquire groceries for the next five weeks of sailing through the Tuamotu atolls (where there are almost no shops).




I took my time, waiting for the rain to stop. I know the tropical downpours, they are intense, but they never last long. After an hour my shopping cart was overflowing but outside it was still coming down in buckets. I wisely decided to skip the flour this time as I learned the hard way what a torn bag of flour in combination with a wet dinghy does (it coats everything in a film of glue).  


At some point I gave up and asked the cashier to call me a taxi. In the car I was still hoping the rain would stop, but as we parked by the dock I just had to accept the reality and get out in the rain. I reluctantly opened the door while asking the driver if she could wait for a few minutes while I ran back and forth, as I really did not want to put my sixteen shopping bags in any of the muddy puddles that were currently passing as roads. I was hoping Rick could come to my rescue, but the poor soul  was waiting for me in the dinghy and obviously couldn’t leave it as the waves were crashing in and the sharp rocks were threatening to kill our little inflatable boat.  While he was fending off shell-encrusted rocks, I had to do four runs to take all of those bags from the taxi to the boat. We were both soaked like drowned rats. Somehow we still managed to get into the dinghy and make our way back to the boat. But just as we were rounding the breakwater, a huge squall arrived. The downpour became so violent we both couldn’t see anything around us.  We could barely see each other. All around us was pure white.


The wind and the waves grew bigger and bigger.


The water level in the dinghy was rising with tins and boxes of cookies floating back and forward.


I wasn’t sure if I should cry or just laugh. The only thing I was remotely happy about was my decision to leave the flour.


When we finally reached Calypso, the storm calmed down, but that did not help us much. The dinghy was still bucking wildly and we really had to put all our energy into moving the shopping onto the boat without dropping anything in the water or knocking a tooth out on the pitching rails. We threw the soaked food into the cockpit and went to hide inside. When we dried ourselves, we looked at the time and saw that our new crew member was probably already waiting for us. It really didn’t make any sense to put on dry clothes so we jumped right back into the dinghy and headed back into the fray.


The sea and conditions had not abated at all but this time, instead of drowning our groceries, we were dousing a Slovenian man and all of his precious belongings. We were heavier this time around so we were soaked, not just from the rain, but also from the waves which were coming crashing into the boat.




As soon as we climbed aboard Calypso we raised the sails to escape that hell. The waves were throwing us around like a ball and the wind was howling so strongly that I found myself being cold for the first time in two years.

Two hours later we sailed into the calm and peaceful Tahuata Bay. The rain stopped and the wind calmed down. All three of us were soaked to the bones and slightly shaken. After a long silence, our new crew member asked me why I had told him not to bring any wet weather gear. I apologized stating that this is not typical Polynesian weather at all because, like Mexico, it never rains here.


Kapljice 2


Jasna Tuta
Jasna Tuta

Rodila sem se v Sesljanu pri Trstu. Pri morju. Ko sem bila še v otroškem vozičku, sem se z mamo sprehajala po Sesljanskem zalivu in z velikimi očmi požirala valove, ki jih je burja metala ob skale. Ko me je razganjala puberteta, sem našla zatočišče v tamkajšnjem jadralnem klubu. Tečaj jadranja na deski je bil idealen izgovor za druženje s postavnimi mladeniči. Kasneje se je oglasil materinski čut, takrat sem prevzela tečaje jadranja za otroke, pozimi pa sem zahajala v osnovno šolo. Po desetih letih vnetega pedagoškega dela je materinski čut popolnoma zamrl, oglasila pa se je želja po potovanju…

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