Quick Fix: 18° 22.7 S / 156° 15.1 W
August 26th
2013 (day 2,278)
Conditions:  Wind: 14/N  Sky: Clear

Calming Conditions
We're three hundred miles, or halfway, to the Cook Islands, sailing in conditions so perfect, so completely idyllic, that they could convert even the most ardent of landlubber into a nautical nomad. The engine has remained silent since we raised our sails three days ago, the trade winds are warm and steady, the ocean is a rich twinkling cobalt blue that seems to radiate light from its depths, and a powdery blue sky carries just a handful of delicate cumulous clouds that follow in our wake. The moon lights our way at night as Dream Time's bow gently nods her way towards Venus. It feels like we're in the middle of nowhere, yet somehow we became the center of everything. And, at least for the moment, I can think of nowhere else I'd rather be. - NH

 



Quick Fix: 17° 28.8 S / 149° 48.7 W
August 22nd
2013 (day 2,274)
Conditions:  Wind: 2/E  Sky: Clear

Great Literary Minds At Work!?
He's contributed thousands of articles to a variety of travel and sailing magazines, his voice if often heard echoing down the hallways of NPR, and he's written more books than you can squeeze onto a Kindle. We're sharing our anchorage in Cooks Bay with legendary Fatty and Carolyn Goodlander - a couple who have lived most of their lives on the sea, have circumnavigated the world twice, and inspired countless armchair sailors to leave the dock. In fact, Fatty's candid observations of their experiences and his intimate writing style made us feel like cruisers long before we even owned Dream Time. So yesterday, when Fatty motored over to say 'hi', it was like meeting an old friend.
Thanks for sharing all your experiences, and it's great to finally meet you in person!




 



Quick Fix: 17° 29.4 S / 149° 31.1 W
August 16th
2013 (day 2,268)
Conditions:  Wind: 8/E  Sky: Clear

What's The Hurry?
In classic Dream Time cruising style we sailed a whopping 20 nautical miles towards our destination before stopping - we're now anchored in Opunohu Bay and have decided to wait for better wind. What promised to be a good weather window to the Cook Islands disintegrated, which would have resulted in 2-3 days of motoring. While we have no problem pushing through light wind on longer routes if we have to, for a mere 4-5 day 580 nautical mile passage, however, we would rather sail, reduce our diesel consumption, not to mention our carbon footprint. So we're having a week's vacation in Moorea. The truth is we don't want to leave Polynesia, we've realized over the last two years that this is the cruising paradise we dreamed of back in New York. So we're in no hurry to leave.





 

 

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Day 2,264 - Tahiti (17° 31.4S 149° 32.1W)
08:16hrs - August 12th 2013
Good Deed Delay

Sailors generally help each other out, or at least they should - it's not only the right thing to do, but it's also because you never quite know when you'll want someone to reciprocate. It's also nice thinking that by doing a good deed, perhaps you'll accumulate a little positive cruising karma. But really, when the favor includes sailing with a buddy on a forty-six foot catamaran to the Tuamotus, that's reason enough.

Last week I helped local friends, Gilles and Susie, relocate their newly and beautifully restored 1996 Bahia catamaran, SuGi, over to the Tuamotus for storage. It was a 260 nautical mile delivery from Tahiti to Apataki, and as two years ago their last experience on SuGi, with an incompetent captain, was a storm and very nearly losing the boat on a reef, Gilles was understandably anxious about setting sail. So seizing the excuse to return to the Tuamotus, if even only for a few days, I offered to help.

The passage was a complete success - Gilles and I had a mellow downwind sail on calm seas averaging a comfortable six knots of boat speed. All of SuGi's new gear: her rig, engines, watermaker, plumbing, electronics etc. performed perfectly, Gilles learned a little more about sailing and, more importantly, broke the spell of anxiety commonly associated with leaving land on a first passage, and I had my very first sailing experience on a catamaran.

Accustomed to stowing and securing everything on Dream Time for a passage, in contrast sailing SuGi was a carefree delight. With a staggering twenty-six foot beam we trundled across the top of the ocean without a strap, lashing or bungee in sight. We filled glasses to the brim, left lids off containers, placed opened bottles on table tops, cooked without a gimble, ate without rubber mats and slept without leecloths. In fact at times it felt like we weren't even sailing at all!

For some this may be the idea of a perfect passage, and as cruisers spend the majority of their time at anchor, you can't deny the benefits of living on a catamaran. But for me it felt like we were moving a house during a mild earthquake, rather than sailing gracefully across the surface of the sea.

Sure, Dream Time may roll, pitch and move around like a fairground ride, but to me at least, there is a harmony between her and the ocean, and a reassuring stability that I would not want to replace with more space.

After an overnight layover in Anse Amyot to visit friends Gaston and Valentine, we arrived at the Apataki Carénage on schedule and readied SuGi for storage. The next day, mid-haul out, a leaking hydraulic hose unfortunately prevented us from completing our mission. But on Saturday, after Gilles and I had already flown back to Tahiti, Alfred, Tony and crew at the boat yard, successfully hauled SuGi, which is now resting comfortably on the hard.

I'm back on Dream Time, and she has never felt smaller or more cozy to me. And today we waved nana to our good friends Gilles and Susie as we prepare to set off on our own passage - to the Cook Islands.

 
 
 

Two years in the dangerous archipelagoes, & thanks to Steiner's advanced optics, it's been clear sailing!
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Quick Fix: 17° 29.96 S / 149° 19.74 W
August 1st
2013 (day 2,253)
Conditions:  Wind: 3/NE  Sky: Clear

Migration
Humpback whales are migrating west, rolling gently through these warm lattitudes to give birth before continuing south to the rich waters of Antarctica. We're about to head west too, to the Cook Islands, but there's not a breath of wind, so we're relaxing in Matavai Bay under the watchful eye of the Point Venus lighthouse. I'm spending my time carving - a whale bone from Toau which I've mounted to Fakarava ironwood. It's an abstract piece (8.5" high) inspired by Polynesian designs, where a Marquesan cross within a breaking wave suggest the face of a tiki. The carving is complete, and tonight, on Dream Time, I saw the plumes of white spray against Moorea as whales rolled silently past our anchorage. We'll begin our migration soon, but we're really in no hurry to leave. - NH