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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Hughie, the weather god!

I learned about Madame Pele, the goddess of fire, many years ago when we visited Mauna Loa on the big island of Hawaii. This morning I just learned another one, Hughie, the weather god!

It is clearly an Australian mythology as it is not even included in the Wikipedia yet. According to Australian National Dictionary Centre of the Australian National University, "Hughie is the rain god, and this appeal (first recorded in 1912) comes from farmers when rain arrives after a long drought. Recently surfers have used it, imploring the weather god for good waves. Theories about the origin of the word Hughie range from alterations of the names Jupiter, Zeus, or Yahweh, to the classical Greek huei ‘it is raining’."

I wonder what do the surfers consider as "good" waves. I would certainly prefer to see Hughie keeping the ocean all calm and smooth for us all the time when I go cruising! If I knew about Hughie before going to Lorne to attend the WISE meeting in April, I might have tried to work it into my presentation to mention Hughie over the inability of science. Anyway I came across about Hughie from reading this interesting article entitled "The Vengeance of the Weather God" by the cruise editor Nancy Knudsen of the Sail-World.com. Knudsen is currently on a Southern Cross between the Galapagos and the Marquesas where she filed all kinds of interesting articles about her trip including this one about Hughie.

What intrigued me about this article is her rather humorous way of describing encounters with freaque waves -- attribute to Hughie:
Hughie, as you probably know, is the weather god, and this is a warning to those who go sailing: Beware of Hughie. Several days ago, I cast aspersions on the perfection of the weather where we are sailing, between the Galapagos and the Marquesas, and Hughie has been wreaking his vengeance ever since. My mistake was intimating that the perfect weather we had was – dare I say it? ... b – o – r – i – n – g.

The first thing that happened was that I thought I saw a ship on the horizon, dipped my head to get a better look at the same time as Hughie sent a roguish wave slapping the boat, crashed my chin into a winch putting my tooth through my bottom lip. This gave me a somewhat lopsided look and a bit of a lisp.

The next thing was that the wind piped up to something more than pleasant, and another freak wave slapped against the boat, lurching me across the saloon to break a middle toe on a piece of the furniture. Now I have three big toes, only seven small toes, and a bit of a limp – not to mention the gritted smile.

So those waves was sent by Hughie to slap agqainst her boat as a vengeance. May be freaque wave research should also be looking to Hughie for real understanding of the nature of freaque waves. Since whatever god or goddess of science have done were not very helpful so far! At least in this article Nancy tried to communicate with Hughie, :-), in her continued adventure:
So after a day or two of this the seas rose to amazing heights behind the boat, threatening our equanimity and our still-dry decks. When the boom started a love affair with the higher waves, and worse, my cup of coffee took off airborne across the cockpit depriving me of its contents and colliding with the coaming, it was time to let off the boom vang and, for good measure, put a double reef in the main.

In the meantime I had started apologising continually and profusely to Weather god Hughie, promising I would never never complain about perfect weather again.

I am glad to say that this strategy worked, and we are now back in 15-20 knot winds, the sun is shining, we are drifting along at a pleasant six knots.

I have stopped lisping, my toe is happily secured in a very protective sailing sandal, our decks are dry, the coffee is remaining in its coffee holder, and the boom is riding high and dry. So are we. Am I complaining? No way!

Yes indeed, Nancy, keep Hughie happy, God speed, and smooth sailing!

1 comment:

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It's really nice when you visit another country, with a totally different cultural background and you learn about their religions. I love that