Quick Fix: 16° 58.10 S / 144° 35.85 W

April 30th 2012 (day 1,796)
Conditions:  Wind: 22/ESE     Sky: Cloudy
                    Boat SPD: 0   (Anchored)

A Taste of Tahanea
For the last week we've been anchored in a remote corner
of Tahanea, an atoll that rests fourty miles southeast of Fakarava. It is quiet, wild, and beautifully uninhabited
here - not a single human lives on the unspoiled palm
fringed islands that form its reefy perimeter.

But this atoll is teeming with life. The lagoon is crowded with reef fish, sharks, and the occassional family of migratory humpback whales. And the islands are all a-rustle with busy hermit crabs, tiny scurrying rats (that resemble mice), and giant creeping coconut crabs. We're living modestly off the wild - and it is delicious. - NH





 
 


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Day 1,783 - Fakarava, Tuamotus (16° 03.9S 145° 37.1W)
15:10hrs - April 17th 2012
Tuamotus Time

With the wind forecast to pick-up to 20 knots from the east-southeast, we've rendezvoused with friends Chris and Jess on Namaste and have sailed over
to Fakarava for some epic kite surfing action. And when the winds not blowing, we'll be diving (Namaste has a dive compressor on board) drift diving with more sharks and reef fish than you can count.

We've already done one dive, one snorkel in Toau, and sighted: black tip sharks, a white tip, two octopus, six giant napoleon fish, moray eels and hundreds of parrot fish - I speared three for supper.

We've only been in the Tuamotus for two days, but it seems we've already slipped back into the old routine.

Gotta dash, we're about to set sail for the south pass where we'll anchor off the pink sand beach and get the gear ready!

 

 
 


 



Quick Fix: 15° 48.13 S / 146° 09.16 W

April 15th 2012 (day 1,781)
Conditions:  Wind: 12/E-NE     Sky: Mostly Clear
                    Boat SPD: 0   (Anchored)

Phew!
Even though we left Tahiti on Friday 13th, I'm happy to
report that we did not encounter a single gale, rouge
wave, sea monster, vortex, waterspout or angry pirate
on our
passage over to the Tuamotus (Too-a-mo-toos).
In fact the 242 nautical mile passage was quiet, gentle
and uneventful.

We're anchored inside a false pass, a cul-de-sac of
coral, on the northern side of Toau, and it is beautiful
here, so peaceful, so soft and so soothing, it feels
good for your soul. - NH




 



Quick Fix: 17° 31.40 S / 149° 32.15 W

April 13th 2012 (day 1,779)
Conditions:  Wind: 10/E-SE     Sky: Mostly Cloudy
                    Boat SPD: 0   (Anchored)

What Do You Believe?
We're setting sail today for the Tuamotus, and it's Friday, Friday the 13th. Many mariners, particularly those of the superstitious persuasion, believe that it's bad luck to begin
a passage on a Friday, because it is believed that Christ was crucified on this day. And it's also believed that it's
bad luck to whistle on a sailboat, carry bananas, pork and woman (Dream Time holds all of the above). We're certainly
not looking to invite disaster, or even bad weather for that matter, but we have our own set of beliefs: We believe in careful planning; We believe in maintaining a seaworthy boat; We believe in taking the right safety precautions.
As for the rest of it, in my opinion, it matters only to those
who believe in it. - NH






     
 


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Day 1,775 - Arue, Tahiti (17° 31.40S 149° 32.15W)
19:35hrs - April 9th 2012
Creative Nut!

‘What do you do all day?!’ It’s a fair question and one that we’re asked from time to time by family and friends back home, and occasionally by random strangers who, after seeing Dream Time anchored in
the same spot for weeks, sometimes months on end, want to know precisely how we occupy ourselves. After-all, we don’t work, at least not in the traditional sense, and we’re free from most of the distractions and obligations of life on terra-firma, so what do we do?

Well, call me peculiar, but I carve nuts, coconuts to be exact. In fact, I can happily whittle away much of the day doing nothing else in particular. I sit under the canopy on a warm teak deck hunched over with my chin on my chest, surrounded by shavings whilst chipping, carving, scraping and shaping my next project with a level of concentration that, to the casual observer, may seem to border on the neurotic.

Not that I am, for the record, I prefer the term ‘focused’. But some of my projects take weeks to complete, so you have to be persistent. If you’ve ever tried to carve a coconut shell, using nothing but a small pocket knife with a two-inch blade – part of the challenge I set myself – you know exactly what I mean, coconuts are one tough nut to carve! It can take hours of finger-cramping, knuckle-scraping perseverance just to form a basic shape.

It’s a newly acquired skill, one which I’ve only really developed since we started cruising five years ago. After-all, it seemed like I never had any spare time back in New York, certainly not enough of it to spend
a day carving coconuts (not to mention the distinct lack of palm trees in the Long Island Sound) but out here, cruising in the tropics, happily I have plenty of both.

Sure, there are lots of other obvious distractions to keep you occupied when you’re cruising; there’s always a boat project or two that requires attention, new islands to explore, reef to dive, fish to catch and sunsets to watch. But what I love most about cruising is not carving coconuts, exactly, but the freedom to carve, or for that matter, the freedom to explore anything else I want to.

You see, life on the ocean stirs your imagination, it gives you time to think, to reflect and to create.
It awakens the artist in you, the writer, the poet. After-all, what else are you going to do on a three-week passage, or when waiting for a weather-window, or sitting-out cyclone season for six months? It’s having the time to discover not only the places you visit, but to discover something that perhaps you already have, but never had the time to look.

My coconut carvings are little souvenirs, and while inspired by what we’ve seen cruising: a humpback whale, a Mayan sculpture, a tiki or a giant manta ray, they’re actually expressions of something deeper,
an awareness that has helped me to shape a new life.

So if you're going cruising certainly take a notebook with you, a sketch pad, some coloring pencils,
and perhaps even a pen knife, because you never know what you might discover out here.



   
 


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Day 1,770 - Marina Taina, Tahiti (17° 35.1S 149° 36.9W)
18:08hrs - April 4th 2012
Getting Ready

While Daphne, a weak tropical storm, and hopefully the last one of the 2011- 2012 cyclone season,
is trying her best to make an impression on Fiji, we're back in Tahiti preparing Dream Time for another cruising season, one which we plan on spending (all seven months of it) exploring the Tuamotus - a remote area of the world, and from what we've seen so far, one that rates at the top of our most special places.

Consisting of over seventy coral atolls in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, scattered over a thousand nautical miles, with thousands of tiny, perfectly formed little sandy motus (islands), most uninhabited,
this is the tropical paradise you imagine when you dream of sailing away, or at least I did.

So for a rare and hugely convenient Dream Time treat, we're tied-up at a marina for three days, loading the boat from a convoy of shopping trolleys that we've temporarily high jacked from the Carrefour Supermarket up the road. We're plugged in to shore power, the air conditioner is humming away, filling the cabin with a cool 78 degree breeze (it's over 90 degrees outside), and we're busy raising our waterline - stowing more gear down below than it seems our little Dream Time could possibly manage: boxes of cereal, crackers, wine, nuts, cans, pasta, rice, beer, soda, sauces, spreads and spices - supplies that have to last us through to next year.

But Catherine is a magician when it comes to provisioning. Dream Time is her Tardis, and somehow
she able to find places to stash all of our gear. I help mostly by staying out of the way.



   
 


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Day 1,767 - Opunohu, Moorea (17° 31S 149° 32W)
17:42hrs - April 1st 2012
Up, Up and Away!

Today I went kite surfing, or more precisely, spent two drenching, mostly frustrating hours being tugged, pulled, flung, dunked and dragged around Moorea's lagoon with, near the end of my lesson, a few brief
yet hugely rewarding ' yeehawwing' moments of pure exhilaration.

It was my second kite surfing lesson at Hauru Point, on Moorea's picturesque northwestern shoreline
- a serene stretch of white sandy beach fringed by champagne waters, an area usually occupied by holidaymaker's napping under palm trees, lazy snorkeling, or mellow close encounters of the sting ray kind. But when the wind starts blowing over 15 knots, this part of Moorea's lagoon becomes a frenzy of activity with colorful kites weaving and whizzing kaleidoscope patterns across the sky.

The sport of kite surfing is around 10 years old, it's a cross between surfing, windsurfing and parasailing, and it has taken off around the world, well, at least in the windy areas (you need at least 15 - 20 knots of wind to have fun).

My first two-hour lesson with Lakana Fly, an outfit which opened in 2004 by a world-touring professional windsurfer, David Bourroux, was spent learning how to properly prepare and launch the gear, control the kite, and 'body drag' - a technique that appears not at all dissimilar to an unfortunate water skier who has fallen and forgotten to let go of the tow rope. Using a short bar that is attached to 100+ foot steering lines with a fifteen-foot kite attached to the end, one tries to control their speed and direction by pulling, pushing and tilting the bar - no easy task when your face is skimming across the water at five knots.

I graduated on my second two-hour lesson from face dragging to learning how to surf on a four-foot board with foot straps (similar to a snowboard) and I am pleased and rather proud to announce that after lots of false starts, and a couple of truly spectacular and wrenching over-the-board take offs which ended in more embarrassing face dragging, everything finally came together. With my kite in the correct 'power' position... my board pointing in the right direction... a little balance... and lots of cursing, I experienced a few fifteen second moments of sublime joy skimming effortlessly across the surface of the water.

I learned from the best, so many thanks and appreciation go out to Tamatoa, or 'Tam' a local Polynesian considered to be the best kite surfer in Moorea and a man who enjoys spending more time in the air than on the water. And to David Bourroux at Lakana Fly for his safe, patient and expert guidance.

Mauruuru roa, gents!

Learn to kite surf in Moorea!
Call David at Lakana Fly at: 56 51 58