On The Weather Side

One of the more annoying things about writing this blog has been that it often tends to drag me back into the past. There’s so much I would still like to keep telling you about all the comings and goings of the adventures just past, but the fuel supply for the storyline is running dry and its dramatic tension is fading away fast into the droll doldrums of oblivion, evaporating feverishly under the scorching sun of the present experiences. The motivation for sitting still and writing the thread then becomes lethargic at best and has to be artificially coaxed back into active life with all kinds of dubious moral imperatives. Then again this might just be a chronic character deficiency of mine, which has seen countless novels, theater and movie scripts, experimental documentaries, symphonies, even socially very relevant community projects, and many other brave and worthwhile human endeavors and brilliant ideas of genius-grade textures being born with awe inspiring enthusiasm and highly toxic adrenaline levels, only to see them quickly taper out and all too soon join their comrades on the slippery slope down memory lane.

I must therefore now quickly and efficiently bring the recount of the most recent blue water journey of Aluna to its merry ending, so that I can have you join me in the present times with the latest of my joyrides through Aotearoa, this land of growling Maori pride, this place of wicked Pakeha backroom deals, and last but by no means least this nation subject to a no longer subtle but clearly imminent Asian invasion.

To bring this story to its due ending sooner rather than later is not such a difficult thing in the end, since there was very little drama and tension in this voyage, and the tranquil beauty of sitting on glassy waters and contemplating gorgeous sunsets is quite frankly most often futile to put in words. Should I be tempted to do such a thing might lead you into thinking that the amazing beauty of life is far away from you in some distant land or faraway place, akin to a stylized photograph on a calendar sheet or in a fancy travel brochure, instead of lurking longingly and sometimes screamingly right in the corners of your eyes, whispering softly behind your ears and waiting to brutally explode exactly under your nose.

Since half of Aluna’s crew has remained dry and very literally high on the lofty and might mountain range of South America’s Andes for the last couple months, I was able to collect a record of the meteorological dealings during the voyage by having Beatriz download daily weather satellite imagery while I was underway out there in the big blue wetness. This certainly gave her something to keep busy with and prevent her from succumbing too heavily to the fishermen’s wife disease, which consists of worrying a lot and imagining too many things. But it also allows us to have the highly arrogant luxury of being able to have a god’s eye view down onto the meandering cloud formations and atmospheric water vapor dynamics that were bearing down on me during those fifteen lonesome but very wholesome days. This makes us all truly modern wise wise men, or homo sapiens sapiens, as we happen to call ourselves with no little pride, who splurge in the fact that we have bravely replaced those ancient eyes of god we used to adore and fear with a slew of our own technologically advanced observation instruments up there in the heavens, being driven by the just as ancient aspiration of wanting to peek down at ourselves from as great and safe a distance as reasonably feasible. This then allows us to delve with utter carelessness in the smooth and soothing feeling of having some kind of broad overview of the brutal chaos of life around us, nurturing our ever-latent cravings for needing to be in control. This self-confidence corroding description is of course no more than my best and halfway educated guess. But it is no doubt at all really kind of cool! Have a good look for yourselves!

But let’s back up for moment here. This is what the forecast promised on the day I left.


As you are able to see, there’s a sea of gentle winds waiting for me out there for as long as the weathermen and their number crunching machines dare to look into the lonesome realm of the future, once the remnants of a low-pressure system to the South have cleared. There are quite a bit of contrary winds in the picture, but they are all very light and benign. And as I mentioned before, the window was a narrow one, the notorious conversion zone that always hovers somewhere near Fiji’s latitudes was closing in fast and would make a departure a couple days later an unwise adventure at best.

Finally, in order to bring some intellectual peace of mind to the table, here’s one last animation, based on the sea level analysis of New Zealand’s Metservice. These were my rational safeguards during the trip. I received them through the small shortwave receiver we have on board. I took me a bit of time to get it to work again. The new computer seemed to spoil it all the first couple of days. I had previously realized that the DC power supply I use to drive the computer makes a hell of a radio noise and I had to let the laptop run on its own battery power while receiving the transmissions. After some fiddling around I realized that now it must be the graphics chip spewing out an additional fanfare of radio interference. Whenever the display went to sleep, the decoded image would turn from noisy to clean. I ended up timing the reception so that once the decoding software arrived at the map portion of the image the computer had already put the display to sleep, and quite obviously the laptop display does not suffer from radio snoring!


So there you have it, a little insight into the dealings of modern day seamen with the harsh reality of maritime meteorology. As in most anything there’s a fine line there to walk between the compulsive neurosis of hyper-science and the dare devil nature of carelessness. Once out there in the middle of this vast stretch of bumping and bobbing liquidity you’re on your own, your paranoia your most persistent company, and you begin to ride the learning curve of sensing, careful and intensified observation, smell alerts, temperature and humidity changes, wind variables, cloud density, bird moods, swell rhythms, sunset colorings, star clarity, haze extent, contrail distortions, pastel color variations, and many, many more incredible everyday occurrences that need to flow through your transparent modes of diminished egocentricity. The most essential virtue you’re bound to experience once you wallowed yourself through the varicose veins of uncertainty and anxiety is allowed to fade away, is the divine and timeless gift of trust. You realize that nature cares deeply for all life in and around you, and you humbly understand that it will not foolishly put at risk the highly complex organism it took the hassle of creating, nurturing and sheltering all along your miniscule and short lived existence.


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One Response to “On The Weather Side”

  1. rudy Says:

    Just Imagine a group of scientist admiring the beauty of your Aluna with her sails and curves and textures and all the things that make Aluna Aluna and they all turn to each other and say I wonder how did nature put all of this togather and how many billions and zillions of combinations of trails and error before it mindlessly came up with this magnificent perfectly formed vessel design or for thought. Now multiply that unit of understanding times the factor of everything that exist in the known or to the limit of the incomprehensible universe. Now just imagine the crowning glory of nature is that it created an organism that had the ability and intelligence to stand back and appreciate all it has done via trial and error. I stand in awe at how much intelligence it would take to arrive at this level of understaning and appreciation without the help of a divine creator or even a creator of the tiny vessel we have come to know as the Aluna.

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