Alone Like a Rolling Stone

Winter on the Gambiers

We have set an anchor ball. On the one hand, so that coming sailors have a point of reference, on the other hand, so that I can sense the direction to the anchor when I activate the anchor app. The app serves us for safety, should something be once with the anchor. Previously, I have the anchor always roughly bearing, which had the disadvantage that if the wind has turned, the radius was not right and it triggered a false alarm. Such things I can now not use at all, and has improved significantly with the anchor ball.

Anchor ball for orientation

The anchor ball has a second advantage. Should we have to part with the anchor, it is not lost, but can be found again. But since the anchor ball is not illuminated and we, here in the Gambiers, have given a lot of chain (after all, the water depth here is between 15 meters and 18 meters), it is sometimes a bit difficult, especially at night, to aim at the ball. So I'm standing outside on deck again and looking strained into the darkness to recognize at least dimly the ball, when the first gust, with 30 knots, whistles down the slope of Mt. Duff. It hits the boat as if with a hammer. Our Katinka accelerates to a knot and then jerks into the anchor chain. At least it is now clear where the anchor ball is.

Winter on the Gambiers

The weather forecast brings already for a few days, unpleasant news. That south of the Gambiers one low after the other passes through is, for this time of year, nothing unusual. Normally, these lows are far enough away from the archipelago. But this time we are to be, at least, grazed. With 42 knots of wind this can be very uncomfortable. In the night I wake up from the howling wind and torture myself out of the bunk. It has started to rain and it is cow's night. I try to orient myself, and when I see the flashing position light of the Hathor, a Swedish yacht, next to me, it is clear that we are still in position. I look at the anchor alarm and the only thing wrong is the time, 2:11am. Man oh man, another four tough hours. Due to my accident, I still can't sleep properly as my arm continues to hurt. I sit in the lounge and pour myself a drink. Sleepily I look out of the windows, which are covered with raindrops, the same drumming on the roof. I force myself back into the bunk, coaxing myself to read something to get back to sleep. Normally I succeed very well, but today somehow the worm is in it. I lie awake for a long time listening to the rain. I positioned my arm so that it didn't hurt, but then I was lying on my back, which I didn't like at all. At some point, fatigue overwhelms me and I fall asleep again. Towards morning I wake up with a hurting arm, because of course I lay on it again. A cloudy day begins. The clouds hang deeply and it is hazy. Again and again rain showers, whipped by strong gusts, sweep over our Katinka. It is uncomfortable and I put on wool socks. Winter on the Gambiers has arrived. The water temperatures are now around 24°C. Somehow the water seems even clearer to me than it already was. The air temperature is a pleasant 23°C to 25°C, except today. With just 20°C and the gusts coming in again and again, in addition the humidity, this comes pretty close to a German winter. But with positive thinking, the sun comes out again in the afternoon, and it is cozy warm.

Weather data

In the evening we are invited to Christer for dinner. He came by for a coffee and asked us if we wouldn't like to have dinner tonight. Of course we do. So we convince ourselves of the cooking skills of the Swedish all-round man. We have an onion and cabbage pan with sausages and egg. A, as I suspect, own recipe creation, we have at least never heard of such a recipe. It tastes very good. After Christer has been around a lot, it becomes a very entertaining evening. He tells his story from Sweden and what he, on his journey to here, has already experienced everything. Always interesting to meet such people.
When the sun comes out and the wind is not too strong, we use the weather window and make our shore excursions. At Jojos, a small supermarket with an attached restaurant, we usually meet up with other sailors, as there is a WLAN hotspot here. The yacht service, where sailors usually gathered, is on winter break and will not return until January 2024. Now in mid-July we are just four yachts in the whole Gambier Archipelago. This makes the stay here very relaxed as there is now enough space in the anchorage. So everyone has enough chain outside and space to swim. And so we wait for the next low, which will certainly not be long in coming. We wish you a relaxing summer, always fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.