< Hot Off The Press!
Read Dream Time's story in
the August 2020 issue of
Cruising World Magazine

Sandy Souvenirs - Thirteen Years in the Making

August 28 2020

It took thirteen years to prepare this project, which began on Block Island in the summer of 2007, and finished this year in the US Virgin Islands. I'm not entirely certain where the inspiration came from, but once it began it turned into a quest that continued around the world, for 4,697 days and across all four hemispheres. It wasn't always easy, on one occasion, after scanning our luggage, an x-ray revealed to excited Turkish baggage inspectors a suspicious bag of powder stuffed deep inside my shoe. I had entirely forgotten the sand was there, which made the officials seem all the more eager, while giving me an annoying air of innocence, perhaps like an unsuspecting drug mule. When the bag was eventually opened it was unanimously agreed to be the worst quality cocaine they had ever seen. In Indonesia, an encounter with wild saliva-dripping Komodo dragons not only came close to dramatically interrupting the project, but very nearly our entire voyage. And while not as exciting, we almost forgot to gather a little of the Galapagos - try sailing back from Tahiti, no easy task.

From Block Island to Bora Bora, Columbia to The Cook Islands, Thailand to Turkey, Greece to Guadeloupe... over the last month we've decanted tiny Ziploc bags into tubes, labeling each one with the location and the date of our arrival. We've visited 42 countries on our world voyage, but only gathered sand (a small salt shakers' worth per location) from the countries we raised from Dream Time. The winner of the whitest, finest sand goes to Bora Bora, gathered from under the keel at the bottom of the world famous lagoon declared by Captain Cook in 1769 to be the 'pearl of the Pacific'. The blackest sand came from a remote, surf-swept beach in Cape Verde after a two-hour hike that began long before the sunrise. The reddest is from the center of Australia near a sunbaked Uluru, with New Caledonia rating a close second, which is not surprising considering 65 million years ago they shared the same continent. On an epic and humbling time line we have collected evidence of our changing world - from grainy volcanic ash recently and violently spewed from the bowels of Mount Etna, to the soft powdery discharge from schools of busy, coral-gnawing parrot fish contributing to the shoreline of a remote tropical atoll.

We have yet to close-the-loop, New York was our starting line, so we may actually have an opportunity to add a few more souvenirs to the collection before we officially tie the knot. But for now, at least, as we attempt to settle back into land life during a time of such uncertainty and confusion, there's a small comfort to be had organizing grains of sand, one country at a time, and at least, in our own way, creating a little order to our changing world.

Close Encounter

Where We Were Today... August 20 2010
Yasawas, Fiji

From the Tuamotus to Tonga we searched for the illusive giant manta ray. But it was during our third year of cruising, while exploring the western island chain of Fiji, that we had our close encounter. Read our August 20th, 2010 entry >


Where We Were Today... August 10 2018
Komodo National Park, Indonesia

This was a 'controlled' photo shoot taken by an official park ranger. But a few days earlier, walking on an isolated beach after a two-day sail from Kupang, Neville narrowly missed an encounter with wild Komodo dragons which, he later learned, were the most aggressive in the park. Read our August 10th, 2018 entry >


Where We Were Today... August 6, 2011
Tahiti, French Polynesia

This is a 'small' wave at the world-famous Teahupoo break off Tahiti-iti. A few weeks later, on September 1st, swell from a monstrous South Pacific low pressure system sent swell three times larger to the island. Waves so large they cancelled the Billabong Surf competition and had Dream Time trapped in a lagoon with waves so high it was too dangerous to leave the boat. Read our August 6th, 2011 entry >

23 Years to Lady Musgrave

Where We Were Today... August 1, 2017
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Many Australian mariners consider Lady Musgrave a bucket list destination, and it's easy to see why. The lagoon offers some of the healthiest coral and marine life on the southern reef; the uninhabited sand and coral island provides a convincing castaway experience; water is clear and offers all the lustrous shades and hues of the tropics; the anchorage is safe and protected in all but the wildest of conditions; and right now, during whale season, humpbacks splash and frolic in calm waters whilst lazily circling the lagoon like seafaring sentries. Read our August 1st, 2017 entry >