Pactor Babe's Got Her Ears On
"Yeah, that low-pressure system is sliding below us just like you predicted, Fatty," Carolyn mused as she perused the data. "And the northerly shift has already begun."
We traded places, and soon, via an SSB voice transmission, I was conveying our morning weather analysis to Alaska Jim on Bell Bird, anchored 100 miles south of us off Ha'afeva, in the Ha'apai Group.
"It looks like you should keep her in the barn for a couple more days until the wind backs into the southeast," I told him before signing off.
"Roger that, and give Miss Carolyn a hug for me!" he said as he signed off.
Sailors do stuff like this for each other all the time. We all give so we can eventually take. We regularly make deposits in the cosmic Karma Bank of Life. Nobody keeps score but everyone knows the score. Jim doesn't have a Pactor modem, so I give him the long-distance benefit of mine. I don't have a watermaker, and so I'm often invited aboard yachts that do-"for cocktails and bring your jugs"-during dry spells. (We catch most of our drinking water but, alas, not all). Basically, what goes around comes around. We all get the reputation we deserve. We sea gypsies are a small but global community. We reap what we sow. I remember one time being anchored in remote, population-less Chagos with 10 other boats in the middle of the Indian Ocean-and there was enough technical expertise present-computer designer, software engineer, outboard mechanic, fishing expert, playwright-to rule the entire world. And the wisdom not to!
Over a leisurely breakfast, Carolyn and I listened in to the infamous "Rag of the Air," our local southwest-Pacific SSB cruising chat net. It meets every morning on 8173 megahertz at 1900 Zulu. This highly irreverent net is run by another sailor named Jim-Jim Bandy, an American ex-pat who swallowed the hook at Also Island, off Fiji's north coast, and immediately started his own informal talk show for sailors. The show reaches sailors in an area from Australia and New Zealand in the south to Tonga and Vanuatu in the north.
Basically, all the cruisers within 2,000 miles or so tune in every morning to check the small amount of weather info and large amount of gossip that gets exchanged. The really weird day is Sunday, when "Reverend Jim" seizes the microphone for his traditional 20-minute pseudo-sermon. Some of these homilies are so funny we're writhing on the cabin sole laughing. Others are decidedly not!