Monday, May 20, 2013

Nouvelle Caledonie - Part 1 (21st May)

Bon Jour!!!!

We spent a few days in Noumea although it was public holidays so not much was open but always interesting to check out the food market and supermarket.  It seems to take a lot longer to do the shopping here as you spend quite a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what you are buying plus it is interesting to see the different type of foods especially as many of them are imported from France.

Roger looks like he is in heaven and is certainly enjoying the local cuisine.

As Grahame has to head back home soon we figure we should at least head back out into the lagoon for a few days on the pick.  On Friday 10/5 we headed out to Ilot Matrie which is a local tourist / resort island only 10NM from Noumea and seems to be a local hang out for the kite boarders.  Unfortunately the weather is pretty ordinary and looks like it is going to remain that way for a few days yet so we decided it would be good to head up to Baie Maa for a few days which is not the most beautiful part of Noumea but it is a good anchorage.  The area looks like a bit of a holiday area with lots of holiday shacks and as it is a holiday weekend there are plenty of yachts in the bay.  We did a bit of exploring and found and old wreck on the other side of the island.

On the 13th the weather is starting to improve so it is over to Ilot te Ndo (Signal Island) for a night before heading back into Port Moselle.  It is a lovely little island and we had a great explore around including some snorkeling on some near-by bommies.  The island is a nesting colonies for many birds including shearwaters so you are continually watching where to put your feet so as not to fall down into a burrow.  We saw plenty of great coral when snorkeling and where lucky enough to swim with some turtles and Roger even saw a small reef shark.

Tuesday and we are back to Port Moselle for Grahame’s last day.  We had a lovely farewell meal out with Oscar and Graciela as Grahame has to catch an early bus to the airport for his flight home.

As the weather forecast for the next week is looking awesome we get all our jobs done and get the boat provisioned as we are planning to head down to the Lagoon de Sud and the Ils de Pin on Wednesday.

We saw Grahame off at the bus stop on Wednesday morning (15/5), do the final fresh shop and we are again out of Noumea and this time heading south to the Baie de Prony which is the stepping off point for the South Lagoon and the Isle of Pines.  We found life on the bateau a little quieter today as we are missing the company or our trusty cabin boy.  We spent the Wednesday night in at an anchorage at Bonne Anse along with a number of other yachts with similar plans.  This is quite an industrial area so not all that attractive.  Thursday morning and we are up anchor at 9.00am and heading south for about 8NM to the Ilot Mato which is a small island and lagoon and a little bit of paradise. 

The first day at Ilot Mato we did some exploring of the lagoon in the dinghy and had a lovely snorkel on one of the bommies close to the boat.  After a very pleasant and quite night in the lagoon it is into the island in the morning for a bit of an explore plus we took some lovely photos from the top of the island.  We then headed out in the dinghy to the outer fringing reef which was just awesome.  We saw some amazing coral and fishies and also a small white tipped reef shark as well!!
Since the Ilot Mato we have now sailed down to the Ils de Pin which is about 40NM from Bonne Anse.  We are currently anchored in Baie de Kuto which is rather lovely and even better we are able to buy fresh baguettes every morning.
We went into the local resort for dinner last night and was lucky enough to get my first green drink for the voyage to date - hopefully there will be many more to come!!!
Tomorrow (Wednesday) there is meant to be a cruise liner with 2000 guests on board which should make it for a very exciting anchorage and may bring some more tourist activities to the area which could be good - there is  rumour that we might be able to get some fresh lobster for lunch.
As we only have limited access down here will do a more complete update and add some photos once we are back to Noumea!!
Basically we are both well and having a great time!!!





Monday, May 6, 2013

Lord Howe to Nomea (7th May)

As you probably figured from the last post we enjoyed Lord Howe so have included a few shots from our adventures there.

The Goat House (Lord Howe)
Extreme Walk to the Goat House

Island Trader - Lord Howe

We decided to depart from Lord Howe on the 1st May as the weather forecast for the passage looked good.  We have been lucky to be receiving forecasts from Roger (Clouds) Badham through Oscar and Graciela on Zenitude and also our own Clouds McDermott who has been doing an awesome job for us!

Zenitude also left with us so it was nice to travel with some company and we arranged a regular sched with them and also Ocean Star who took a slightly different track to us and is heading out to spend a few days at Middleton Reef before heading back to the coast.

As with the rest of our trip to date the wind seems to have been behind us all the time which makes for a great crossing but we can't believe that the wind could be coming from directly behind for such a long time.

The passage across was very uneventful but we have had lovely sunny and warm conditions for most of the time apart from the last day when we struck plenty of rain. 

On Day 4 of the crossing we decided to put out the lines and managed to hook a couple of fish.  The first one was a small Indo Pacific Sailfish which Mark hooked but it managed to shake itself free before Mark could get it on-board which was a good thing as we were planning to send it back to the deep anyhow.  The second fish was not so lucky and our resident fisherman (Roger) managed to catch a lovely Mahi Mahi which we devoured on our first evening in at Port Moselle after sharing a beer or two with Oscar and Graciela.

The Mahi Mahi - Good eating and very pretty as well!

After around 700NM and 5 days at sea it was amazing that Zenitude only arrived around 2 hours before us and even more amazing is that Roger's friend Johnny, who is delivering a Big Cat out here, only turned up just before us as well and is parked right next door to us..

Arriving at Port Moselle
We have managed to do all the official stuff now and have been imported into New Caledonia.  So far not much else has happened although we have had a wander around the street and marche where we managed to buy some pretty nice French produce so think we are going to enjoy the eating here.

We are planning to head off to La Bout De Monde for drinks and a steak dinner!!!