Sunday, 18 September 2022

8-2022 Exploring New Caledonia



Hi from Clare,    8-2022 Exploring New Caledonia   16th Sept. 2022



We spent two weeks in Port Moselle Marina in Noumea, New Caledonia. We did not anticipate the damage to Andrew's leg, after his fishing mishap, would take so long to mend.  We thought when the final stitches came out on 2nd September we would be free to leave.  But no, more trips to the Doctor until eventually I was taught how to treat and dress the wound and given enough dressings to last till next Monday 19th September.  At this point we will return to the Doctor for appraisal.  In the meantime Andrew has to stay out of the water, which he is finding rather frustrating.


Andrew's leg, today


We hired a car, along with our Aussie mates Liam and Annie, and drove around Noumea calling in, of course, to all the Ship Chandlers and the large Carefour Supermarket for supplies.  The choice of things to buy is a massive step up from Vanuatu.  Noumea is a modern French City with lovely beach front apartments, restaurants, shops and with manicured parks and walkways.  We also noticed a vast difference between the Kanaks in Noumea and the N-Vans of Port Vila. The Kanaks in Noumea are less than half the population in a French protectorate where as the N-Vans in Vanuatu are the majority of the population in their own republic.

 Noumea's beach front



We left the Marina on 9th September and made our way down to Prony Bay which is about forty miles away on the southern end of New Caledonia. It was absolutely wonderful to be out on the water again enjoying the sunshine, fresh air and the tranquillity.  We were in company with Liam and Annie on Gone with the Wind.  Our destination was L'ile Des Pins which is a further forty miles south of Prony Bay and generally a sail into the wind.  We stayed one night in Prony Bay and took off early the following morning and motored in glass calm water to L'ile Des Pins. Motoring is not our preferred option but it is better than bashing into head winds.  We were glad to take this opportunity for a quiet trip.

Kuto Bay, L'ile Des Pins



The L'ile Des Pins is a very pretty island with plenty of Pine trees, as you might guess by the name.  We anchored in flat water in Kuto Bay and enjoyed four terrific days exploring the island.  Once again we hired a car and circumnavigated the island taking in the fresh market, the church, the 19th century jail and convict cemetery, a wood carving shop and a very nice grotto.

The Church

The jail was fairly overgrown but it struck us that like Tasmania, this island would have been a perfect destination for a jail. Beautiful and all as it is, the island is a long way from anywhere and no chance of escape.

 The 19th Century Jail


In the wood work shop the local men were busy carving totem poles with a hammer and chisel, These are proudly displayed at the resorts and businesses throughout the island.

 A local man at work

 The Kanaks on L'ile Des Pins are more friendly and relaxed than their city counterparts. French is their second language so it is a little difficult for us to have a conversation.  However it is interesting how much we seem to get across, then again we could be kidding ourselves :).

One of many totem poles

We had lunch at one of the resorts and caught up with emails etc.  We failed miserably trying to get across that we wanted a flat white coffee. We were served a short black, then a long black and then eventually a half warm flat white.  Sugar would have been nice, but..

 Lunch by the pool


The small market was a hoot, the sellers were focused on chattering and having a social day out.  Nobody was manning the store where we were trying to purchase some greens.  A great delay occurred whilst some hailing and a search for the store keeper ensued. Eventually she came scurrying out from the toilet, problem solved.


The highlight of the trip was the grotto. Deep in the tropical forest amongst a profusion of lush plants.  Many of these plants growing wild are only considered as indoor plants in Australia.  The grotto itself is a large cave with a statue of Mary, The Mother of God set up high.

 The Grotto


A truly lovely setting with stalactites in abundance and crystal clear water bubbling over rocks and a pebbly river bed.  Such a tranquil spot and it is always a treat to see lush greenery when sailing for months on blue oceans.

 A little river by the Grotto



We left L'ile Des Pins yesterday and had a great beam reach sail for 38 miles in 12 knots of breeze to Islet Ua. On the way we caught a large Mahi Mahi, this time without incident thank goodness. We have put away seven meals from this beauty. Good thing because our protein supply was down to 250 grams of mince beef.

Our Mahi Mahi


Islet Ua is a very small island with stunning scenery. Lovely thick white sand and clear water. We enjoyed drinks on the beach last night with Liam and Annie and watched the sun set, totally at peace with the world.

Islet Ua by day


Islet Ua at sunset



We plan to have drinks on the beach again tonight,  We will go in early enough to walk around the islet at low tide.  We believe there is a big eagle's nest around the other side, so we will check that out.


Tomorrow we will continue on our journey back to Noumea for Andrew's next Doctor's appointment.  We are having a wonderful time and Noumea is a beautiful island. So until next time, stay safe and our love to all.


Candy xx


Monday, 29 August 2022

7-2022 Hello New Caledonia

Hi from Clare,     7-2022   Hello New Caledonia         29th August 2022


We are now located at Port Moselle marina in Noumea, New Caledonia and what a pleasure to be here. It is a glorious sunny day, the marina is very nice with good facilities and a popular restaurant.  The staff are most helpful and we have some Aussie company, Liam and Annie on Gone with the Wind.


Eye Candy in Port Moselle Marina

The Marina Restaurant


But first, some details on our sail to New Caledonia from Port Vila Vanuatu which commenced Saturday 20st August.  We planned to sail 180 miles south on an easterly wind to the southern most island Aneityum, in the Vanuatu chain. From here, we would wait for the right conditions to continue on for 200 miles to Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia.  Our plans changed when the easterly wind, after eighty miles, swung around to a south east head wind.  We dropped anchor around 12.30am Sunday 21st August at the island of Erromango which is 80 miles south of Port Vila. We spent a peaceful time here waiting.  We did not go ashore as we had checked out of the country. Port Vila Customs gave us approval to stop and wait for favourable weather if necessary.


Peaceful  Erromango anchorage


Our next 200 miles into Noumea started at 8pm Monday 22nd August.  The first new hours was rough water but after the sea settled, we had champagne sailing all the way. We couldn't believe our luck as this leg has a bad reputation for headwinds and strong currents. Mother Nature gave us a break, we had gentle wind aft of the beam and mostly the current was with us – fantastic.



The only mishap for the trip came when Andrew ripped his leg on a latch in the cockpit when pulling in a Mahi Mahi.  He completely skun himself by pulling the flesh away from the muscle. He even had to poke a vein back under the flap. We cleaned the wound with antiseptic wash, applied antibiotic cream and bandaged the leg. We applied steri-strips but they did not hold the wound together. Fortunately, the wound did not bleed much and Andrew suffered no pain. We arrived into Noumea at 6pm Wednesday 24th August, Andrew attended the Doctor the next morning and received stitches. He had to stay off the leg, as much as possible, for two days at which time we took the bandage off to let the wound breathe.  We are very happy with Andrew's progress. We walked into town yesterday and again this morning, no problems.  

Before stitching up

He will have the stitches removed progressively on Wednesday and then again on Friday. The mishap was bad enough, but it could have been a lot worse, we were very lucky to be close to our destination. After paying the Doctor's bill of $170 we consider the Mahi Mahi to be a most expensive fish.  I must add though, it was a very nice fish.

After Stitching 


We are very much enjoying the company of Liam and Annie sharing drinks and meals and catching up. We first met in Turkey in 2005 and have sailed on and off together over the past seventeen years. There is a very comprehensive fruit, vegie and fish market close by and so last night we shared a sushi, salmon and prawn dinner accompanied by a bottle of champagne. The nearby patisserie is also a plus with warm baguettes, croissants, pastries and good coffee. Things are looking up, we couldn't buy anything like this in Vanuatu.

Noumea Town Square with Annie 


The weather is cooler here than Vanuatu. We are experiencing around 21 degrees each day and we have had rain on and off most days. We have even resorted to a blanket at night.  Yesterday we went for a walk around town. It was Sunday and all was quiet. On weekdays it is very busy and with lots of traffic. This morning we went to Chinatown so I could buy a long sleeve mid weight top and some long pants. The sleeves on the top I purchased were a mile too long, Fortunately the girl running the shop has a sewing machine ready for alterations. Fifteen minutes later the sleeves on my top fit perfectly, no extra charge. How good is that?

China Town, Noumea


We will stay in Port Moselle marina until at least Friday, so Andrew can get his stitches out. Then we will start exploring some of the beautiful bays and surrounding islands. I thinks Gone with the Wind will push on to Australia soon. So we will have to make the most of their company over the next few days. So until next time stay safe and our love to all.


Candy xx



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