Day 3,104 - New Caledonia (22° 17S 166° 26E)
16:23hrs - November 29th 2015
Thankful for a Windy Whirlwind of a Week

The week of Thanksgiving has become a "getaway" week for me for over a decade.  It's a week to give thanks, in particular that with another year having passed by, I am still here. It's also time to remind myself that there's an amazing world out there, and that as long as I'm alive - it is time to see it and experience all it has to offer.  When I got an email from Neville and Catherine less than a month ago telling me about their latest port of call, and with that an open invitation to New Caledonia... my first thought was, "Where is that?"  Some quick googling and there it was, a huge rock in the middle of Melanesia nestled between New Zealand and Papau New Guinea. It was actually so big that I wondered how in the world this place wasn't on my radar before. It's a tropical oasis with all the things my November escapes have typically come to supply: crystal clear water, beaches, reefs with great diving and spearfishing. Luckily for me, I had no plans for this year's adventure. Neville and Catherine were more than happy to host me, my swim and dive gear alongside a bottle of Glenlevit and some Cuban Cigars.

After an amazing welcome aboard Dream Time and a few hours of catch up in our sail over to Maitre, I had to get my game face on for Kite boarding class with Oliver, the snappy Frenchman.  And when I say snappy, that's no indication of how he kept his attire.  "Come, come, COME! LIFT! Now OVERHEAD... GO!  Run! RUN! Stop... just stop!  Now look.... do THIS! GO!"  It was 4 hours of this, alongside many hours of face planting, falls, "body dragging" alongside the bay and learning how to fly a kite all over again.  But I knew from the beginning, that like golf - this was very hard to do, and oh so addictive.  Unfortunately for Neville, and completely unbeknownst to me, he had his kite rip in the beach brush when a twisted bridle forced his kite up and out of control.  So there I was, alone with Oliver and 50+ other kite boarders, water-boarding myself for hours across 2 feet deep water.  But right as the wind started dying down and my body could take no more - I had a few brief moments upright & topside with the addictive sensation of riding a board, levitating over water.  It was surreal, I may be hooked.

We relaxed that night anchored at Maitre and enjoyed Catherine's amazing cooking.  We enjoyed Bordeaux, some of that Scotch and hours more of catch up and great times.  The next morning it was an early journey to Amadee Island before the 25 knots of wind rolled in. Amadee is an awesome little island, frequented by 2-3 tourist ferries a day coming/going.  But there's also a dive shop!  After we anchored, Neville and I strapped our gear on and joined their afternoon dive with 6-7 tourists from the mainland.  It was a wreck dive in 80 feet of water; a spent fishing troller that was sunk years ago and is becoming quite a reef.  The next day we did 2 more dives, surrounded by sharks, giant mantas and healthy reefs all around. These islands all sit in the world's largest lagoon - and it's as if all the fish life know to just chillax like we were down there.  Huge sea turtles (of every kind) are everywhere, and are happy to swing over and say, "Hey man... welcome to my lagoon, just relax and have fun!" Neville also taught me how to find, and OPEN coconuts with his hand carved Polynesian coconut spike. I now know how to survive on coconut if I'm ever stranded on an island (and I can find a machete)! 

After a couple of nights we sailed over to Ilot Goeland, a tiny little sand spit that is a "no land access" nature/bird preserve.  We anchored and Neville and I immediately grabbed the spearguns and jumped in the dingy and started looking for a reef that would likely be housing lots of blue spotted grouper.  They are a gorgeous fish, and apparently just as gorgeous cooked in garlic and butter.  After a ride to the other side of the island, and few checks into the sea, we spotted a healthy reef and dove in.  My main lesson in spearfishing (this was my first time using a real speargun) was right there in the water.  As we treaded in 25 feet of water over the reef, Neville showed me how to load + aim and after a quick test shot into the deep blue - I was ready to go.  I loaded back up, looked straight down and immediately saw 2 grouper within 20 seconds.  I signalled Nev, took a deep breath and went straight down.  First shot was a success!  Neville followed behind and speared his buddy.  There we were, in the water for less than 2 minutes: a couple of hi-fives and we already had TWO blue spotted grouper in the bucket.  We spent the next hour or so hovering over the reef and drifting... we were startled on more than one occasion by some large white tip reef sharks and a sting ray.  But the "hunt" and the relaxing view of thousands of gorgeous reef fish of every color was amazing.  The time flew by and after a couple of more grouper in the bucket we headed back to Dream Time for dinner.

We are back in the Baie des Citrons now, and just hit the town for an amazing lunch, cocktails and gelato.  I have to say, I have no interest in flying over to Sydney tomorrow, and then back to Los Angeles after this amazing week.  We kept it jammed packed every day, and for some reason I'm not the least bit tired.  As always, Neville an Catherine were fantastic and gracious hosts and have given me a week that I will NEVER forget.  I am forever THANKFUL for these amazing friends.

*** We had a very cool revelation this week:  After our 2002 trip on Dream Time from Bermuda back to New York City - I have now sailed with Dream Time on both her furthest East and now her furthest West journeys.  Alongside Nev and Catherine, I plan to keep holding that record!




Our custom built Brin Wilson fridge/freezer is so cool in the tropics!
Learn more about their awesome services >


Water tanks and battery banks fully stocked.
Thanks Enertec >


Nov 13th, 2015   |   Île Ténia, New Caledonia    Friday the 13th, just dropped the hook, how lucky are we.   |   (22° 00.19'S / 165° 56.51' E)


Quick Fix: 22° 19.9 S / 166° 24.3 E
November 11th, 2015 (day 3,086)
Conditions:  Wind: 4/W  Sky: Clear.

A Turtle Treat
We woke this morning to a fleet of turtles circling Dream Time. They were so close to the boat we didn't even have to get wet, or launch the dinghy, to capture these photos.

Many areas of New Caledonia's lagoon are marine reserves so fishing of any kind is prohibited. Turtles, however, are safe wherever they decide to roam, and authorities promise stiff fines, even confiscation of vessels, to those willing to test the system. It seems the turtles know they're safe here and are quite comfortable swimming around anchored boats. They even appear indifferent to enthusiastic paparazzi-style GoPro wielding snorkelers. What a treat!




Nov 2nd, 2015   |   Baie Maa, New Caledonia    New perspective, relocated from a tiny sandy island to the Grande Terre.