Happy New Year!

Read Dream Time's Jan/Feb
story in Cruising World

Cover Photo
Dream Time makes the
cover of Australia's Cruising
Helmsman magazine

Dream Time's featured
in the 2018 Cruising
World Calendar


Jan 31, 2018     |     Riding the trades - looking over South Head into Sydney Harbour.


Day 3,898 - Sydney, Australia
19:39 hrs - January 31, 2018
Old Times

In 1938 it required 10 days, more than an average annual salary, and 30 refuelling stops to fly from Southampton, England to Sydney, and after this long, romantic and luxurious voyage half way around the world, the flying boats, or Short S23 C Class Empire seaplanes, touched down in Rose Bay, Australia's first international airport, right where Dream Time is anchored.

The 'kangaroo' route has long since retired, but a new fleet of seaplanes is based here now and on sunny days their airstrip, which is often littered with dingy sailors, paddle boarders, ferries and yachts, can be just a boat length away. Takeoffs have literally covered Dream Time in prop spray as the planes throttle-up just off our bow, and landings, well, depending on how busy the bay is and wind direction, planes either buzz the mast or can be seen shooting past the port holes as they come in hot for a bumpy landing between kayaking tourists.

Two days ago it was my birthday, spontaneity took hold, and in our dingy we followed a taxiing seaplane over to the floating terminal (like cruisers do) and just fifteen minutes later, after our pilot announced that "the flight path today will take us between Dream Time and Eos", we were soaring over Sydney Harbour, the Opera House, out through the Heads and looping down the towering cliffs towards Bondi Beach.

Birthday celebrations continued with brunch in Rose Bay followed by a taxi to Coogee Beach where we stayed for the night at a beach front hotel overlooking the Pacific. And in a defiant display against aging, on a warm sunny afternoon, I ran the famous Coogee to Bondi run, an 8-mile return path that winds and meanders along the coastline, past natural rock pools, over towering cliffs, cascading surfy shorelines and picturesque bays framed with golden sands.

It's a track that 24 years ago, when I was just 24 years old, exactly half my lifetime ago, I ran regularly whilst backpacking around Australia and dreaming of sailing to America. While the route hasn't changed in 24 years, I have, but I completed the 8 miles in just under an hour - not quite as impressive as my younger self, but good enough. I celebrated with a little body surfing - just like old times, while Catherine, much to my surprise, was lovingly filling our hotel room with balloons.

Jan 31, 2018     |     A Sydney scene, from 1,000 feet.


Jan 25, 2018     |     Comparing bowsprits. Dream Time hanging out with Eos - a 305 foot mega yacht, one of the world's largest - in Rose Bay, Sydney Harbour.




Day 3,892 - Sydney, Australia
18:18 hrs - January 25, 2018
A Sydney Love Story

I didn’t know it at the time but my life as I know it now actually began in Sydney 24 years ago. Neville and I originally met and dated in England for 3 years before he left to travel around Australia. By the time we managed to arrange to meet up in Sydney I was working in America and he was reaching the conclusion of his Australian backpack adventure and was deciding what was to do next. Our relationship had encountered a few uncomfortable bumps along the road at that point, all my doing I’m sorry to say, close to ending it in fact, so when we met at the airport In Sydney all those years ago I didn’t know what to expect. We hadn’t seen each other for 6 months and I had discovered that being that far away from each other made me miss every single thing about him more than I can describe. So seeing him again crystallized an absolute knowing that we would be friends always no matter what, whatever that was going to mean for us.

It would end up being  another 6 months before we could see each other again, but when we did it was clear now how we both felt. Neville spent the intervening months sailing from Australia to Italy and now knew his future would somehow have to include a boat. Soon after we met up again in America, he proposed and the rest as they say is history. As our story continues it brings us back full circle to Sydney where we are today after 20 years of marriage and over 10 years of sailing. So Sydney already has a unique place in my heart, but being here again seeing it from my new perspective on the water I have fallen in love with it even more maybe because we almost didn’t get to come back to it this time. I know that’s probably not a very good reason, but sometimes a hard won reminder that we may not always have what we think we have is the very reason to consciously treasure it more.

I have so many favorites in Sydney now but as far as the water goes the big green Manly Ferries are always going to be my favorite sea going Sydney vessels, they are like the Thomas the Tank Engines of the harbor, they even make the sound of a beating heart as they steam past with their diesel engines thumping, I love them. But what still amazes me everyday that this relatively small body of water can accommodate such a huge and varied armada of watercraft while all getting along in relative harmony! There are ferries of every size and speed, racing yachts from tiny to maxi, seaplanes and paddle boards, aircraft carriers and cruise ships, mega yachts and fishing boats and they all amazingly get to work and play in Sydney harbor as equals. The only thing surprisingly absent, jet skis!? For safety’s sake I’m guessing? and perhaps also so that the incredibly patient ferry captains don’t go completely mad with everything else they have to contend with on the water.

Tomorrow is Australia's 230th Australia Day, so every boat that can be out tomorrow, will be out tomorrow with every Australian flag they can muster flying from every possible surface. We’ll be anchored near the iconic bridge and Opera House to drink in the whole spectacular show.

Happy Birthday Australia! And many happy returns.

Jan 24, 2018     |     What a view - Sun. Sea. Surf. Sand. Soaking in the sights at Sydney's famous Manly Beach.


Jan 21, 2018     |     Catherine taking in the view - looking east, through The Heads, on a scenic Sunday Sydney Harbour stroll.



Day 3,879 - Sydney, Australia
13:25 hrs - January 12, 2018

We’re off to a bonza 2018. With 25 knots of tailwind and the EAC (East Australian Current) sweeping us south, Dream Time raced down the coast from Brisbane to Sydney under a pure cerulean sky at an average speed of almost 8 knots. Trust me, that’s pretty impressive for a 34 foot waterline. It was so lively, in fact, that for two days the EasiYo yogurt mix we had fermenting in its little canister refused to set and was blended into a curdled globby mess.

Although only a modest 400 nautical mile passage, it was an exhilarating first voyage for the New Year, not only due to the speed and the double-digit action of hand steering whilst surfing down the occasional 8 foot swell, but mostly because after our flights out of the country to see family, friends and the uncertainty of our visa renewals, we’re just happy to be home - on Dream Time - and sailing in Australia again.

‘Home’ is an interesting concept for us these days. England has not been my home for many years, just as Northern Ireland has not been Catherine’s. We were so proud to call New York home for over a decade, and always thought it would be. It was where we married, became American citizens, had some of our best times and carved out a real life together. And we love it there. But after ten adventurous years on Dream Time it’s difficult to imagine that even living back in New York, or in fact settling down to any one region or routine, could ever compare.

You see, we’ve replaced just one neighborhood that we love with dozens: Caye Caulker, Rotoava, Tahiti, Moorea, Auckland, Nouméa - these little pockets around the world feel as familiar to us now as Long Beach, New York once did, back in 2007, before we donned our captain hats and set off on this crazy journey.

And we can add Sydney to our list of neighborhoods now. We’re familiar with almost every bay, cove and anchorage around the harbour. We know where to find the best bakery (Rose Bay); where to anchor to get the freshest fish (Blackwattle); or the best fish and chips (Watson’s); a perfect beach for skinny dipping (Cobblers); the best coastal running track (Hermit Bay), or even just the most convenient laundry-mat (Manly Cove). And we’ve met landlubbers, racers and cruisers here, awesome people that will be our friends for life.

Yep, Sydney definitely feels like our neighborhood now, and with three months of summer sailing ahead, we’re thankful to be back. And to return to find our boat adorning the cover of Australia’s most circulated sailing magazine (Cruising Helmsman), well, that just makes it official, Dream Time is home.

Jan 2, 2018     |     We've got our visas, I even got a swanky Australian bush hat complete with fly-stoppers as a Chrissy gift (thanks cousins!) - we're ready to go walkabout...

January 1, 2018 (day 3,868)
Quick Fix: 27° 57.0 S / 153° 25.3 E
Conditions:  Wind: 10/SE  Sky: Cloudy with thunderstorms

Happy New Year!
We almost didn't make it back in time as visa renewals proved to be more complicated than expected and, at one point, Australian authorities were requiring lengthy criminal background checks from every country we've spent more than 12 months in over the last 10 years (New Caledonia, New Zealand, French Polynesia...). But a different approach helped our applications get approved, and although we didn't have time to sail down to Sydney for the festivities, we welcomed 2018 anchored in Surfer's Paradise on the Gold Coast. It's great to be back on Dream Time, we have an epic year of cruising ahead, one that will take us up to Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand, but first... a few months of summer sailing in Sydney Harbour. Happy New Year! XOXOXOXOXOXO


Jan 1, 2018     |     To old friends and new - may 2018 bring peace, happiness and pure sublime, love Neville & Catherine, on the good ship Dream Time.