Normally a bit of water wouldn’t bother me. After all, I’m about to row across a couple of thousand miles of the stuff. But today there is a lot of water and it’s falling from the sky in torrents and it’s very inconvenient.
Until yesterday my boat was under a shelter at the Marine Training Centre here in Tarawa, but as today is Saturday and we needed plentiful manpower to move the boat out, we had to move Brocade yesterday before the marine cadets went home for the weekend. So now she is out in the open.
If the weather was dry, this would be perfect. Most of the things that remain to be done required the boat to be out from under the shelter. For example, I can’t set up the bimini until the short antenna masts are up, and I couldn’t put them up under the limited headroom of the roof. But I’d rather work in the dry than in a monsoon. And other things, like applying sponsor stickers, can’t be done in the wet – nor can they be done once the boat is in the water, which is scheduled to happen this afternoon.
So far, though, Liz and I have had plenty to keep us busy indoors – sorting and packing, testing technology, doing a few final emails and interviews. But if this weather continues for the rest of today and into tomorrow, we’re going to be up against it to be ready in time to leave on Monday morning (bearing in mind that we are already into Saturday local time). This rain started at 5am this morning, and 7 hours later shows no signs of relenting.
Unfortunately this deluge is set to continue. I believe it is a side effect of El Nino. I had considerable experience of wet weather rowing on the Atlantic, and I don’t like it. Wet skin chafes more. It’s impossible to keep the cabin dry when I’m going in and out soaking wet. Electronics fog up and fail. It’s generally more challenging.
But what’s to be done? Am trying to be philosophical about it, but El Nino looks set to be El PITA.
I would like to extend an enormous thank you to the Marine Training Centre for taking such good care of Brocade over the last 7 months. It was a huge relief to find the boat and equipment in such good shape. The MTC is an oasis of good order in the bustle of Tarawa, and the cadets could not have been more helpful. My eternal gratitude to the Captain Superintendent, Boro Lucic, and his staff and students.
Thanks also to John and Linda Anderson of Kiribati Video for making arrangements for Monday morning. They will be filming my departure from Emile’s boat – the same boat that came out to greet me in last year. AP London have already asked for the footage, so hopefully it will go online fairly soon after the event – internet connections permitting.
Last night Liz and I had dinner with Tessie Lambourne, Secretary for Foreign Affairs, who I had last seen in Copenhagen. We compared notes on developments since Copenhagen, and hopes for Mexico. Time is running out for Kiribati if predictions of sea level rise are correct. Here it is not a “one-day-maybe” issue. It is here and now. I hope you will join our Eco Heroes campaign at http://ecoheroes.me and do your bit to help.
I am posting this using the latest version of EpicTracker. Normally it will have GPS coordinate attached, but at the moment the GPS cables are at the MTC and I am at Betio Apartments. Full functionality will start as soon as I get all my technology in one place!