Quick Fix: 22° 19.5 S / 166° 19.0 E
October 31st, 2015 (day 3,075)
Conditions:  Wind: 15/ESE  Sky: Clear.

You gotta get pretty creative with Halloween costumes when you're anchored off an uninhabited tropical island that's no bigger than a football field. And for cruisers who have limited space on board it gets even more challenging - thank goodness for party balloons.

In the photo we have a tricot rayé (sea snake), a drag queen, sea urchin, and of course, what every Halloween party needs - a pirate! Can you spot who's who? Super cruiser friends on Estrellita also carved a pumpkin lantern - the first ever on Ile Laregnere I'll wager. We spent the evening huddled around a beach fire comparing marshmallow roasting techniques.




Ile de Crouy, New Caledonia   Monday morning - tough week ahead.


Measuring up - Linda and George from Port Moselle get Dream Time's particulars

Quick Fix: 22° 20.0 S / 166° 24.3 E
October 22nd, 2015 (day 3,066)
Conditions:  Wind: 20/ESE  Sky: Clear.

Taking Measures
As we've decided to spend a year exploring New Caledonia we're taking measures to ensure that our time here will be safe, especially as cyclone season begins in just nine days. We've updated Dream Time's insurance policy so she's covered for 'named/numbered' storm damage. We've reserved a slip at Port Moselle marina so we have somewhere to weather, well, bad weather, and in the next month we'll buy extra heavy duty 'cyclone-rated' lines to hold us off the dock. Today, in order to find the right berth for cyclone season, Dream Time was officially measured by super friendly marina officials Linda and George. From bow to stern she's exactly 12.7 meters, or 41.9 feet in length. Not sure how we've gained almost a foot, but there it is.

Day 3,061 - New Caledonia (22° 17S 166° 25E)
18:50hrs - October 17th 2015
It's Official

Cyclone season in the South Pacific doesn't officially begin for another two weeks, but we've got an early riser. Forming over Fiji a few days ago, tropical storm Two just couldn't wait to stir things up and is currently spinning southwest towards Vanuatu. It's forecast to downgrade to a tropical depression today, but the wind, which is gusting to 45 knots, has brought the cruising fleet in the area to a temporary standstill.

This season, the experts and data agree, will be a strong El Nino episode, with the SPCZ, a warm agitated band of weather that spawns cyclones, shifting northeast. That's definitely not what you want to hear if you're in, say, the Cook Islands or French Polynesia, but for us here in New Caledonia, it's relatively good news as it means tropical systems are more likely to develop further to our east.

So it's official, we've decided to stay in New Caledonia for a full year! We've got a marina berth booked at Port Moselle if we need somewhere to hunker down, but if the weather's good, we'll spend the next twelve months quietly exploring the world largest lagoon. Sorry Australia, but we'll see you next year.





Ilot Mato, New Caledonia   Paddle power.


Quick Fix: 22° 20.0 S / 166° 24.3 E
October 10th, 2015 (day 3,054)
Conditions:  Wind: 20-35/ESE  Sky: Clear.

Too Much!
We've been anchored in New Caledonia for 52 days, or more accurately 1,252 hours, and during this time we've had to run our generator just 3 hours to charge our house batteries. In fact for over a month now the solar panels and Gustavo, our wind generator, have been generating more power than we know what to do with. We're making water so often it's running out the breather hose. Our inverter, laptops, wifi and electrical devices are left on all day with the sort of carefree abandon of a city dweller, and today, as it's gusting to 35 knots, we've actually had to restrain Gustavo because our diverter resistors are getting too hot! This is, of course, a first-class cruiser problem, but more seriously, 35 knots is too much wind to fly my 12-meter kite, and that really is cause for concern.


Quick Fix: 22° 20.0 S / 166° 24.3 E
October 6th, 2015 (day 3,050)
Conditions:  Wind: 20-25/ESE  Sky: Clear.

While much of the cruising fleet here in New Caledonia are carefully analyzing GRIBs in search for favorable weather-windows down to New Zealand or Australia, we're pulling kite surfing gear from the depths of the lazarette in preparation for what the forecasts are promising to be an epic week of riding South Pacific tradewinds. So, sporting the tattered remains of a five-year old Hinano sarong (that no longer provided the coverage to be considered descent), a pair of trusty Maui Jim Atoll sunglasses, and half a stick of zinc sunblock on the rest of my face, I set out today with cruising buddies on Estrellita to kite surf across the worlds largest lagoon. Totally stoked I believe is the correct phrase to capture the excitement here.