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Old 12-08-2009, 15:27   #1
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Conditions in French Polynesia - Late November?

I have an opportunity to do some chartering around French polynesia (Bora-Bora, etc) in late November and I'm wondering if this is a good idea based on the weather.

I know form my research this is the start of the "wet" season and that it can be cloudier and more humid. But I'd love to hear from someone with less theoretical experience what they think the conditions at that time of the year will be like.

Is it cloudy _all_ the time? Is there too little wind? Do the sharks celebrate thanksgiving with scuba divers and cranberry sauce?

Real world advice on the conditions highly appreciated!

Thanks for your help...
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Old 12-08-2009, 15:33   #2
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Chartererd in Tonga in mid late October and it was cloudy quite a bit. Not cold though, a little cool at times maybe.. sweatshirt. Everyday according to the SoPac radio it was "mainly fine weather".... sounded like the same recording each day!
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Old 19-08-2009, 12:05   #3
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Thanks Cheechako. You gave me a good idea to try to find some sopac weather recordings from that time of the year.

Anyone have input about French Polynesia cruising weather around Nov/Dec?
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Old 19-08-2009, 12:29   #4
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Very difficult question right now, as the area is heading into a " moderate to strong" El Nino situation. From earlier experience this leads to decreasing trade winds, increasing sea surface temperature and increased hurricane activity. Even French Polynesia, which normally is outside the hurricane area has been hit in El Nino years.

I have spent a hurricane season in Tahiti, and no it was not cloudy all the time, and there was enough wind for good sailing 90% of the time. It was not an El Nino year, but there was nevertheless rain and some strong winds from a tropical system west of French Polynesia.(I think that was in February).

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Old 19-08-2009, 14:03   #5
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Thanks Cagney! I also saw the upgraded El Nino predictions which is a concern...
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Old 19-08-2009, 15:24   #6
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Cagney is correct. There are statistics to read on the net too.

Tonga and Tahiti are ... well like Texas and Alaska !!! I have been Tahiti to Tonga in the summer and the weather was completely different in these two places.

You should be fine - it will be more humid and hot than in the winter, and probably less windy (remember its not very windy there anyway).

Lucky U, ;-))
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Old 19-08-2009, 15:56   #7
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We spent a year in FP and January to June mostly anchored in Opunohu Bay and off the Sofitel le Ora hotel near Vaiare on Moorea. There summer, our winter is a bit wetter and hotter than the opposite season but not that much. It's warm all the time down there. Never felt the need for a jacket or any more clothes than our uniform, a pair of shorts and t-shirt. It was warm but boat was comfortable anchored out with an awning. If it got too hot, we just jumped in the water. Papeete, on the other hand, where you tied med style to the quai and weren't oriented to the prevailing winds, was downright uncomfortable from midday through early evening.

We were in French Polynesia from June '76 to June '77 That was a weak El Nino period that lasted into '78. Did have a low front pass through that gave us strong winds and 2 days of a whole bunch of rain. We moved the boat around to Opunohu Bay when we heard it was coming and were snug and comfortable tucked way back near the head of the bay. That was the only bad weather we had for the entire year and lasted only a couple of days. The following year, wasn't so lucky as Tahiti got hit by three severe storms, at least one of which was a full fledged hurricane. You do get passing tropical rain showers on a regular basis, however.

Peter O.
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Old 19-08-2009, 16:03   #8
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You can send me to Tahiti anytime you like. It has got to be better than hanging around Houston looking at my boat, on the cradle, on a trailer, in the yard, getting covered in road grime from the freeway behind the house that I share with my wife and my mother in law.

Do I sound a bit crazy?,.... wait, who said that,..... stop talking to me,...... I know what you're up to,..... but its not going to work,........I'm putting on my tinfoil hat now, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.........

Ok,... so where were we, Tahiti right.....................m
I must go down to the sea again.........
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Old 24-08-2009, 03:07   #9
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I sailed there in mid-October '08. The weather was good, firm tradewinds 15-20 kts, except from a sudden twister-storm in the Taha'a lagoon...12 Oct '08.

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Old 26-08-2009, 12:21   #10
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I would seriously watch the El Nino thing this year. It's kicked up some changes (extremely cool weather) in most of the South Pac. We've been freezing our tails off for the last month. Other than that, I can say that I was in FP last year cruising up until we stored the boat just before Thanksgiving in the states (late Nov) and it was freaking beautiful.
"I may not have an expensive watch, but I've got the time"
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Old 26-08-2009, 20:02   #11
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Thanks for the info -- this is a big help. I'm now watching the NOAA updates on El Nino to see how things progress. This seems to have a big impact on what kind of weather and winds they have in FP.

Great blog, btw!
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tahiti, weather, French Polynesia, bora bora, south pacific

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