The South Pacific Tropical Convergence Zone (SPTCZ) is spread from Papua New Guinea some thousand miles north west of Temptress, across Fiji reaching south east to the Minerva Reef. Much further south what Met Bob (www.metbob.com) terms a BFH (big fat high) crossed the Tasman Sea earlier this week causing a “squash zone” of strong trade winds across the area between it and the stationary SPTCZ. We experienced these even in our sheltered Delice Bay anchorage on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Now the winds have gone leaving Fiji at the mercy of the SPTCZ an area of fickle calms, spectacular grey stormy skies with occasional squally patches and lots and lots of rain. It seems yesterday’s dryish weather was an exception, it has rained without stopping again since sunset. We awoke this morning to a misty view of the hills close by, the other side of the bay having vanished in the drizzle. Not weather for leaving the cosy comfort of the saloon settees, let alone launching the dinghy to go visiting or hauling up the anchor to continue navigating the inside passage anti-clockwise around Vitu Levu towards Lautoka.
If anyone reading this still holds romantic dreams of crystal clear, sunlit Pacific waters, blue skies and fluffy clouds, let me tell you Scottish summers are drier! Beneath grey damp skies the lagoons of Fiji are grey green and murky, the hills cloaked in cloud. Under the sprayhood is a growing collection of footwear – reef shoes, shore sandals etc – that needs to dry before stowing away. Deck cushions grow soggy without even being left in the rain, halyards and sheets smell like wet sheep and the laundry pile increases.
We marvel at the appearance of a patch of thinner cloud that lets the warmth and light of the sun reach us! It is many days since we had blue skies overhead and wall to wall sunshine. Yet through it all the temperatures have remained well, tropical, at around 22 to 25 degrees, however our now acclimatised blood stream thinks this is chilly and most evenings find us reaching for an extra layer of clothing. Temptress’ saloon has not seen such usage since we left Ireland for Biscay four years ago!