We have now been in New Caledonia about a week and a half. We left Vanuatu under sunny skies and wind and bumpy seas. After Poseidon served us a bunch of humble pie for feeling confident for the first time in our passage... we were feeding fishes and throwing up after the first hour and for the next 48 hours. It was miserable. Not at any point un safe but just a miserable bumpy yucky ride. We were so glad to finally get into the initial lagoon and have the seas mellow and then through the Havanah pass and it was like glass. It is amazing how you instantly feel better after feeling like death for 2 days. It was Father's day and we decided instead of going all the way to Noumea (which was another 40 miles) we curved into a bay and grabbed a mooring.
We ended up off of a little island called Isle Casey where the only inhabitant is a dog that decided he wanted to stay behind when the owners left. It is the sweetest thing to see this little guy come out on the dock and great you with a wagging tail and puppy dog eyes. I would have to say that he is the healthiest puppy I have seen in a long time. From what we understand from other cruisers, he fishes and eats the sea cucumbers along the shoreline and then there are other locals that will stop by and bring him dog food and fill his water bowls and spend time with him. We were only there for a few hours before nightfall and some guy came by in a boat and stayed on the dock and fed and played with him. The kids just loved being there and as always it is nice to be back next to land and not out in open ocean. I am surprised at the lack of vegetation on the hillsides. I always imagined New Caledonia to be more tropical. It seems that the lush vegetation stops along the shore and then it looks more like Mexico with the red, red dirt and the low bush up the hillsides. It is beautiful but just not the country side I expected.
I am surprised at the lack of vegetation on the hillsides. I always imagined New Caledonia to be more tropical. It seems that the lush vegetation stops along the shore and then it looks more like Mexico with the red, red dirt and the low bush up the hillsides. It is beautiful but just not the country side I expected.
We are now all checked in and legal and spent a few days trying to get ready, gassed up and provisioned for when Mike and Shannon arrive. It was a lot of fun running around town (NOT). After 2 days I was definitely ready to get out of there. I can't believe how busy Noumea is. People had warned us we were still really shocked!... It is very difficult to find a spot to even anchor and you can forget about the marinas if you are a catamaran... I shall say that once anchored it is a nice mellow anchorage anywhere you go and you can get anything you need in town.
Moon set at sunrise
Broken boats being towed or rowed... in anchorage
It was Amaia's birthday on 6/21 and we had a great day of cleaning, shopping and doing laundry... I know it sounds miserable but I think she thinks it was the best day ever because she got to play Minecraft on the computer without me telling her to get off. Mike and Shannon and family arrived that evening and we had a great dinner and a good night sleep and left the next morning early to head out to the outer islands.
The winds were favorable (no wind) for us to get down to Iles Des Pins. We made an overnight stop on a beautiful red sand beach lined with palm trees. Once anchored literally everyone jumped overboard and went snorkeling and playing on the beach. This beach is known for the nautical shells so we went on an exploration for some that had been washed up on the sand.
The next morning we set out for Iles Des Pins. It was about 40 miles away and with no wind was a smooth motor over and with 3 fishing lines out we were lucky to hook 3 fish. Unfortunately we were unable to land our yellow fin tuna we caught, lost the 2nd one before we could really see what it was and then the last one was road kill or a form of skip jack so we threw it back.
Iles des pins is known for their pine trees, over population of deer and crystal clear waters. We haven't been hiking yet but the waters and the combination of pine trees with the palm trees is really unique. They have a lot of long white sandy beaches... the most turtles we have seen on our trip and lots of fish. The coral still seems to be recovering from the cyclone a few years ago but it is still fun to be out there. The water is a bit cold for me (76 degrees) but the kids still love to jump in and play. The beaches never get old.
It was Una's birthday today and she turned 13. It is super fun to have them there and the kids have been inseparable. It still amazes me even with the additional family how comfortable the boat can handle this many and at times we wonder where the kids are.... It has been super nice to see everyone and have them share a little of our adventure with us. It is nice to have a little of the enthusiasm back and fun to hear them talk of all the fish and snorkeling and going to explore. Even the sunsets, sunrises and stars are extra appreciated.
We have another week and a few days with Mike and Shannon so we will be down here for another few days and then start making our 80 mile trip back towards Noumea stopping along the way.
Hope all is well for everyone at home and you are enjoying your summer freedom.
Hugs and love to all.