Quick Fix: 29° 27.2 S / 168° 26.8 E
May 20th, 2015 (day 2,911)
Conditions:  Wind: 5/variable  Sky: Clear.

Mystery Island
The first two days out of NZ delivered 30 knot winds which carried us over 300 nautical miles in 2 days. But a high pressure system has stolen the breeze and left us motor-sailing, accompanied by rolling swell - giant ripples traveling slowly north destined to become surf on distant shores. Our weather GRIBs are alerting us to a trough later this week which is expected to turn our tranquil world into foaming seas with near gale-force winds. So we're heading to an island, a mere spec on the charts, more of a navigational hazard, really, than a safe harbor, but a lump of rock that sits alone between the Tasman Sea, the Coral Sea and the South Pacific. It measures just 3.5 miles in width, and is part of a country I have not visited in over 21 years. More to follow...


Quick Fix: 35° 18.8 S / 174° 07.3 E
May 16th, 2015 (day 2,907)
Conditions:  Wind: 30-35/SW  Sky: Clear.

A Blessing
He was born at sea, he served in the navy, and can trace his Māori ancestors all the way back to the Cook Islands. He's a skilled artist, sculpting pretty much anything that washes up along NZ's tumultuous western shoreline. Pete Wood, or Woodsy as he is know to friends, is also the father of the proud new owner of our trusty Subaru Wagon, which we sold two days ago. Woodsy spent a little time with us and shared a few of his Māori carving secrets with me, he even brought treasured gifts from his workshop, including petrified black coral and an Orca's tooth. Before Woodsy left, he asked if he could bless our boat. And so holding hands, gathered at Dream Time's bow, he spoke solemnly, in Māori, blessing our voyage and wishing us safe travels across the sea. Kia ora, Woodsy, and e noho rā.


Quick Fix: 35° 18.8 S / 174° 07.3 E
May 14th, 2015 (day 2,905)
Conditions:  Wind: 10/N  Sky: Mostly Clear.

Sweet Dreams
In 3 days we will be sailing offshore on a 1,000 nautical mile passage north - 'excited' doesn't even begin to cover how we feel about our return to the tropics. To prepare I was instructed to complete just one final pre-passage project: locate and destroy a mysterious knocking sound. A frustratingly random, tortuously persistent 'THONK', which would only be heard on port tacks, in certain conditions. A noise from behind a cabinet, which, located so close to Catherine's sea berth tormented her sleep and invaded her dreams. But a happy wife makes a happy passage and all that... so today, after removing a bookshelf, stereo speakers and brackets, I located the offender - a loose bonding wire, which, to Catherine's great relief, is now firmly secured with a cable tie. Sleep tight honey.


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Day 2,902 - Opua (35° 18S 174° 07E)
18:45hrs - May 11th 2015

It's not of this country, it has the ability to release 50,000 eggs in a single spawning session, it's capable of regenerating damaged body parts, and the scariest thing, it's got acid for blood. Well, technically it biotransforms arsenic into toxic levels of dimethylarsinic acid to deter predators, but one thing's for sure, it's one mean biosecurity hazard, and sadly it's colonizing itself right here in New Zealand.

I'm talking about the Mediterranean fanworm, or Sabella Spallanzanii for all the marine biologists out there, and somehow, in 2008, this nasty little stowaway found its way into these pristine waters.

We're in Opua, New Zealand's most northerly launching pad for the tropics, and were alarmed when Dream Time was flagged as a 'high risk' vessel. Apparently these little buggers are blooming down south, around Auckland, Gulf Harbour Marina and the Hauraki Gulf - where Dream Time has spent the last year in the water, and that it's quite possible we may inadvertently be a host.

Apparently the fanworm is causing havoc to the indigenous marine life here, but Auckland, we've been told, has 'given up' on the fight to contain them - there's just too many, and with no natural predators in these parts, their numbers are expected to increase.

Northland, however, the tip of New Zealand's north island, is rightfully doing everything it can to keep these toxic critters out of their waters. Unfortunately it seems like a losing battle as local boats regularly plow coastal waters south to north, and with a country devoted to boating and fishing, monitoring and inspecting such a high volume of traffic seems daunting, if not hopeless.

We've spoken to New Zealand's BioSecurity department and have offered to do everything we can to assist, even diving on our vessel, but unfortunately due to all the rain we've been having, Opua is a giant muddy river with about as much visibility as a kava bowl, so professional divers may scan our hull later this week.

We're confident Dream Time is clean, we were hauled nine months ago and when I last inspected the hull, in Kawau Island, our bottom appeared fanworm free. But under the keel, where no one can hear the local marine life scream, it's better to be safe than sorry.



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Quick Fix: 35° 12.1 S / 174° 12.5 E
May 5th, 2015 (day 2,896)
Conditions:  Wind: 15/NE  Sky: Clear.

With the leaves falling, along with the temperature, it's time to migrate north, back to the sun drenched tropics. So for the past five days we've been skipping up New Zealand's coast towards Opua, the most northerly port of departure, revisiting one pristine, picturesque anchorage after the next, along a coastline that appears both perfectly manicured, while at the same time, for the most part, wild and desolate. We'll miss New Zealand, this middle earth - this will more than likely be our last visit here. In fact, so confident are we that we'll be sailing to new regions this year, we've changed the radar chart on our home page to include Australia and even Asia. But as Dream Time's migratory patterns have a record of being a little random, we'll going to focus on one passage at a time.