Quick Fix: 15° 33.63 S / 146° 14.46 W

November 18th 2012 (day 1,998)
Conditions:  Wind: 12/ENE     Sky: Clear
                    Boat SPD: 0   (Anchored)

A Tough Journey
It's been dropped, banged and splashed. It's endured hurricanes, gales, rain squalls and long humid tropical summers. It's worked every day for twenty three thousand miles in seventeen countries. It's posted over five years of blogs in every hemisphere, delivered thousands of weather GRIBs, and has kept us connected with business, friends and family when it matters.

If this seems like a shameless promotion of one of our sponsors, that's because it is. But our Toughbook computer deserves the credit. Thank you Panasonic!    |    Get tough >

Day 1,989 - Apataki, Tuamotus (15° 33.6S 146° 14.4W)
13:09hrs - November 9th 2012
A Boat Ramp to Paradise

For the first time in eight hundred and eighty days Dream Time is out of the water, seeking refuge, ironically in a region mostly avoided by early mariners, an area of the South Pacific known as the 'dangerous archipelagoes'. And for the first time in almost two thousand days, Catherine and I will be taking
a short break from cruising, too.

We're in a little known atoll called Apataki, a mere spec lost amidst a constellation of specs in the South Pacific, literally half way between America and Australia in an area that constitutes the Tuamotus. There's no tourism in Apataki, and the four hundred or so inhabitants make a quiet living catching fish, selling copra or harvesting pearls. But in June 2009, an enterprising family did something quite extraordinary, they built a boat yard here, one that put Apataki on the map, or rather, on the charts, at least for a handful of cruisers.

The Apataki Carénage (a French word meaning a place where sailing vessels are 'careened' for repairs) is nestled away in the southeastern corner of the atoll on a motu - a small barrier island, one of dozens that form a protective ring that shields the lagoon from open ocean, and it's here, amongst the rustling palms that Dream Time will rest for a few months while we stretch
our legs.

Most cruisers in the South Pacific this time of year are in the colder less volatile climes of New Zealand or Australia. But others, like us, have chosen not to leave the tropics during cyclone season, and the Apataki Carénage is a little sanctuary that makes that possible.

There may not be any mains power here, or a limitless supply of fresh water, or even access to spare parts and supplies, but from the moment you're carefully aligned and hauled-out of the water on a trailer, one pulled by a digger, up a boat ramp which has pearls embedded into the concrete spelling 'Apataki',
you feel cared for, and at home.

The Lau family, who own and operate the yard, take care of you from the moment you arrive. After Alfred, the Father, steers you across the clearing, his son, Tony, with the help of Nini, meticulously positions your boat on blocks all under the calm and watchful eye of Poppie, the Grandfather. Once you're settled Tony delivers a fifty gallon drum of fresh water to your boat while Alfred cuts down and opens the sweetest green coconuts you'll ever drink from. And when the sun settles, and the Mosquitoes begin to stir, Nini appears with a wheelbarrow full of coconut husks and lights a fire for you to keep the insects at bay. Catherine summarized the feeling at the end of the day perfectly, she said, 'it feels like we're being tucked-in'.


Click here to read our
article in the October
issue of Blue Water
Sailing magazine >


Day 1,986 - Apataki, Tuamotus (15° 33.3S 146° 14.3W)
18:36hrs - November 6th 2012

Hurricane season, known as cyclone season in these parts, has just begun here in the South Pacific,
and in America, along the eastern seaboard, we've heard reports that it has just come to a dramatic
end - hurricane Sandy collided with New Jersey and New York last week, devastating much of the coastline, including Long Beach on the south shore of Long Island, our home. Unfortunately, as we
have zero access to the internet or news out here, we have little information on the damage other than, thankfully, our friends and neighbors, while shaken, are all OK.

Summer in the southern hemisphere, and cyclone season, is just beginning now, and for the first time
in almost two thousand days, we're decommissioning Dream Time, preparing her for haul-out and for safe storage. All our sails have been removed, bagged and stowed, all sheets and lines coiled, blocks cleaned and oiled, decks cleared, cabins wiped-down with bleach / vinegar, electronics removed and systems shutdown.

Six years ago was the last time we winterized Dream Time, it was about this time, in a New York autumn when it was getting too cold to cruise, that we went through the depressing process of laying her up for another winter, and even though it's summer here - the weather is getting hotter and the seas warmer, decommissioning the boat is just as depressing. But hey, at least we don't have to worry about anything freezing while we're gone. And when we return, we won't have far to go. More to follow...

Dream Time: Changed engine oil and filters (engine hours: 3,146). Changed generator oil. Installed
raw water strainer for head intake. Disassembled, cleaned and lubricated headsail winches.
Resealed scuppers. Varnished trail board and stern plates. Cetoled bow sprit and coachroof trim.