Another month, another bout of severe weather with a trail of destruction turning thousands of people into climate change refugees. These are very worrying times. Is this our future?
It feels like we are on an unstoppable runaway train… no one in charge, all of us plunging headlong into our own demise. The cost of climate inaction is clear for us to see.
With an East Coast Low forecast, we had to hide. These are intense low pressure systems common during autumn and winter, one of the most dangerous weather systems to affect the Australian east coast. They bring destructive winds, torrential rain and rough seas. When one of these nasties is coming, you’d better find a good place to shelter, preferably not up a river!
With worsening conditions, we decided not to cut it too fine and aimed straight for Jervis Bay, the only decent shelter in the region. It was not a pleasant passage: rough seas, rain, and the Low was not even on top of us yet.
We can cope with strong winds from the stern, but it is the sea state that gets you, and the rain! We had the wind dead on our stern, which is awkward and slow, so did not muck about: both engines going as well as our jib to cover the 50nm from Bittangabee to Bermagui and the 85nm from Bermagui to the Hole in the Wall inside the southern end of Jervis Bay.
Ten days later, we are still in Jervis Bay and are unlikely to move until early next week. Hot on the trail of the East Coast Low came another trough and severe weather system!
Most of this period has been spent at the Hole in the Wall anchorage, marked in red on the map, with the exception of a few days at Vincentia during a short bout of north-westerlies.
With so much rain, we discovered a few leaks! The sort of deluge we had is not forgiving. Water will find the tiniest of hairline cracks in the hatches’ sealant and make its insidious way inside.
So while the downpour briefly stopped and the sun returned, off came two of the hatches for clean up and reseal. We have done this many times now, so are old hands at it.
We still have more leaks from one of the big windows on the side, but we have run out of the black goop (FixTech 200)! So we are on drip watch till we get to Sydney!
Wade also discovered a non functioning bilge pump in the starboard engine compartment. It was squashed under the muffler, deformed, unable to run and was heating up. It could have been disastrous. Fortunately Wade found this before it caught fire. Fortunately we had a spare and he was able to reposition the pump. Fortunately the other hull did not have the same problem. Captain Wadie spent another day fixing things and keeping us safe!
It goes without saying that our hope to be in Queensland by mid April and at the Reef by early May are drowned. With the adverse effects of La Niña predicted to continue well into June, who knows when we will get there! Our focus is to keep our home Anui and ourselves out of harm’s way. At this stage it means taking each day as it comes without projecting very far ahead.
In the midst of all this, we received the sad news that Wade’s uncle Rupert had passed away. We would have liked to attend his memorial service in Tasmania but the weather conditions won’t allow us to get to Sydney and fly to Hobart in time. We had a special connection with Rupert, a shared passion for the wilderness and photography. He will be sorely missed.