Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Heading to the 5 islands tomorrow... world heritage site and great snorkeling

Hello Everyone,

We have had a great last few days enjoying some amazing snorkeling, remote little beaches, sharks, and a great anchorage.  The weather here has been fantastic.  Yes it get's a little windy but we haven't seen the New Caledonia wind that is typical for this area.  We have a few little showers that pass over it seems every third day and then the sun comes out again.  The waters are the brilliant turquoise you see in the calendars and screen savers... when the wind dies down and the waters calm they are truly spectacular.  The winds here are quite swirly and it seems they change by the hour... but with all that said and done we can't complain.

We are here outside of Kuto on Ile Des Pins and are waiting for tomorrow to head out for the 30 mile jaunt to these outer lagoon little islands.  There should be epic snorkeling and hopefully on the way we will be able to catch and actually land a fish.  The kids have had a great time snorkeling here and just playing around in the water.  The water does get quite chilly but they seem to take it quite well and come in for a warm up and then head back out again.  With the weather being quite cloudy, sunny, rainy... and then the pattern starts up again all in a day... it is hard to get into a warm groove.  They are still little troopers and are making the best of it and enjoying the beaches at least when it is a little too chilly to swim.

Alina heading into the beach for a little reading time... so independent, growing up too fast but you have to love it...

Just some picture updates from that last few days and then once we leave here we will be out of service until Monday the 4th... hope everyone has a fantastic 4th of July weekend.  Stay safe and have a great time.

Hugs and Love to everyone.


Friday, June 24, 2016

New Caledonia....

Hello Everyone,

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.


Monday, June 13, 2016

New Caledonia....or Bust!

Hello Everyone,

We are in Port Villa dotting our I's and crossing our T's and waiting for our next weather window to sail off into the sunset.  Our next passage is 350 miles or about 2 and half days and now after 18months... seems like nothing.  Don't get me wrong I am still wanting low swells, favorable winds and fair skies... I love moonlight at night and sun in the day but with that said at least for this passage my nerves are not acting up.

We will probably be leaving Tuesday afternoon around 4ish and heading out unless we here or see that we should wait until Wednesday or Thursday.

Vanuatu has been amazing... to fast unfortunately, but I feel that we have come and conquered and seen everything that we wanted and that was on our list.... the only thing that we missed was the water dance the women put on at one of the resorts up in Santo but we just couldn't hang around anylonger and our window to come back to Port Villa was a beautiful one... motoring the whole way with no current or crazy wind waves making our trip unbearable... that passage is known to be miserable and most people need to pick their window or direction carefully and travel inbetween the islands over a few weeks just to make headway back down this direction... so we were definitely lucky with our overnight here.

I wanted to get some pictures up on the blog of some of our play times after the land diving... Not much can top that experience, just thinking about it starts the butterflies in my stomach.  We have filled the time going to a few blue holes that Santo is known for... having some sunset drinks, watching for turtles, snorkeling, diving the wreck of the Coolidge, and posting mail in an underwater mailbox, watching the vanuatu fire show again... all just silly stuff except for the dive and playing around.   Tonight they have a little circus show where they kids can participate and then we will head over to the marina and get our last minute things checked before we set sail.

Coolidge Dive.....


 Having a tea party under water... Cheers!

Alexia Photo Bomb with the rabbit ears behind Tristan... 

Blue holes off of Oyster Island Resort and Ratua Island, Espiritu Santo, Jungle ride up the rivers ...

Amaia playing banana games.... Greek and Roman words... Papou would have been so proud.

Girls playing a quiet game so we can have our morning coffee... 

 Super large banyan tree with a swing hanging from the branch.  Alexia is climbing the ladder with the rope to swing into the the fresh water...

Underwater mailbox at the Hideaway Resort on Hideaway Island, Port Villa.

This was a silly thing but was fun to do.  We missed out at the post box at the volcano on Tanna so we thought this would be fun and since we are here.  We all got post cards and the kids addressed and mailed them.  They are waterproof cards that you write on in Pencil and then you go and put them in the box.  The guys will collect them, dry them out, then trace over your letters and mail them for you.

Again, another photo bomb by lexi... she is so silly.  Tristan didn't even know that she did that until he saw the picture... Hee Hee

Amaia had found this little guy she named "Bob" at the Oyster Island Resort.  She had lost him in her hair before we left for the evening and we thought maybe he had just jumped off.  Maybe  NOT.....

She actually found him 2 days later after our passage down to port vila.  We were just relaxing after our overnight passage and she had just woken up and was laying in bed and found him under some stuffed animals by her pillow.... you just can't make this stuff up.  Bob is still a happy camper on our boat.  I was cleaning the boat to show it the other day and I found him in Alexia's room.  So fun to run across him occasionally.

Hope all is well with everyone,

Hugs and Love,