The Tonga to New Zealand passage is earning its reputation. The weather has not done what it said it would do. Instead of easterly winds once we got past the half-way point, we have been inundated mostly with southerly winds. This is due to a low pressure hanging around the NE side of New Zealand that was supposed to move earlier, followed by a high pressure sitting on top of northern New Zealand which should have been further east giving us east winds.
What this all means is that instead of a nice smooth downwind-ish ride, we have had a very bumpy, tight reach beat. The winds haven’t been all that strong, and yet we’ve had 4-5 meter seas for two days out of Raoul Island.
It hasn’t been very pleasant on board. As we have gone south, it has gotten cold. We haven’t seen cold weather since we left a year ago. (Yes, it’s been a year since we left North Carolina!) To make matters worse, the 20-25 knots of apparent wind kicks up a vicious wind chill. Paul has had difficulty with the motion except when he lays down or is outside. But, he has still been doing all his watches. And Karen has had a harder time than usual getting good rest.
We had heard that this passage can be like this. But, we hoped for better. We can hardly wait to finish this trip!