Quick Fix: 22° 21.0 S / 166° 50.6 E
January 28th, 2016 (day 3,164)
Conditions:  Wind: 6/S  Sky: Clear.

Friends Found at Sea
Two years ago a tattooed French vagabond found a fragment of old sun bleached whalebone on the tiny atoll of Toau. Phillipe, knowing that I enjoyed carving, gave the bone to me with instructions to create something 'magnifique!' But Dream Time was over two hundred miles downwind, so he gave the bone to his Marquesan friend who held it until cruising buddies on Cariba visited the atoll on their way to Tahiti. They delivered the gift to our friends in Papeete, Gilles and Susie, who kept it safe until, eventually, the handover was complete. The carving, too, is now also complete and depicts a family of humpback whales happily exploring the South Pacific together.
It's a reminder of all the travellers we've met on our voyage across the sea. Friendships that while brief, will last a lifetime.



Jan 22nd, 2016, 7:15 AM   |   Baie du Carenage, New Caledonia    No filters. No Photoshop. Complete harmony. (But do you see the aliens?)



Jan 18th, 2016   |   Mato, New Caledonia    A peaceful New Year. Cyclone Ula is now but a whisper, and Dream Time rests in the world's largest reflection pool.

Day 3,147 - New Caledonia (22° 27S 166° 46E)
9:36hrs - January 11th 2016

Cyclone Ula, which upgraded yesterday to a category 4 with sustained winds of over 210km/h, formed south of Samoa and over the last week has churned a mountainous wake of foaming seas as she weaved and meandered her way across the Pacific, narrowly dodging Tonga, Fiji and Vanuatu. Forecasters predicted she had her sights set on New Caledonia and weather models showed her barreling directly into Noumea later today. But luckily, for us, Ula has decided to change heading, and as we type this entry she is slowly swinging south-by-southwest and harmlessly out to sea.

Most of Noumea's fleet of pleasure boats reluctantly returned to their respective home ports this week, cutting summer holiday's short in order to prepare for the country's first named storm of the season. Cruise ships have been absent from the main port for a few days, and our marina, Port Moselle, has hoisted the orange flag indicating that a cyclone alert is in effect and for all mariners to "...double the dock lines, remove covers, biminis, awnings, in fact any object potentially capable of becoming projectiles."

As Dream Time is basically cyclone-prepared, we spent our week playing tourists instead of fretting over the weather. We visited cultural museums, drove around the very southern tip of Grande Terre, over mountain ridges and across dusty red plains, through lush jungle valleys and around a coastline that's ravished by both sea and sun, and during our visit, a wild brush fire sweeping out of control towards the small village of Yate, where concerned locals sat mesmerized outside their properties as if willing the winds not to change direction.

We joined a group of Australians on La Petit Train, the city's definitive tourist experience and for two hours trundled around the capital at twenty miles an hour waving at absolutely everyone we passed like a group of visiting simpleton dignitaries. It was fun, and almost everyone waved back.

We've spent a few days on boat projects, too, installing a new touchscreen chartplotter, a12-volt charger at our instrument panel so friends no longer have to straddle electrical wires in our cockpit during cocktail hour. And I've also fixed the air conditioner, which we haven't used since our sweaty jungle stay in Guatemala back in 2008 (Catherine loves the result of this project the most). So with our cabin maintained at a very refreshing 80 degrees, while the mercury creeps closer to 95 outside, the marina dripping in 90% humidity, and with tropical cyclone Ula now heading south, we're feeling pretty lucky today.





Jan 7th, 2016   |   Noumea, New Caledonia    Groovy graffiti on a cyclone damaged theater building - art for restoration motivation.


The South Pacific weather predicament - not a happy face.

Quick Fix: 22° 16.6 S / 166° 244 E
Janaury 3rd, 2016 (day 3,139)
Conditions:  Wind: 10/SW  Sky: Mostly Clear.

Dodging Depressions
The New Year's fireworks have sizzled out, the festive French crowds of Noumea have gone home, and the city has returned to the more serious business of monitoring weather.

Things are heating up here in the South Pacific. We're in the middle of cyclone season and according to one weather report, we'll also soon find ourselves smack in the middle of two tropical depressions (we're the 'nose' in the accompanying weather chart). It's not a very cheerful forecast to the New Year, but with locals heading out into a shimmering turquoise lagoon to enjoy a season of summer sailing, the sky a radiant blue, and these systems showing no sign of strengthening, you can't help feel anything but happy here.


Jan 1st, 2016   |   Noumea, New Caledonia    Fireworks and coconut palms in Place des Cocotiers.  |   (22° 16.6'S / 166° 24.4' E)