|South Lagoon, New Caledonia|
|Brian with a Wahoo|
|Having a freshwater dip in New Caledonia|
We left Noumea and had a lovely sail to Ile Maitre, a small island resort near Noumea. Ile Maitre is a conservation area and we found it was great for snorkling. The coral reef fish were abundant and incredibly varied even if the visibility isn't that good. Then we sailed across the south end of the lagoon to what we are calling horseshoe bay....a quiet little nameless bay where we anchored for the night which was on
our way. The following morning we moved to Ile Ouen, Bay Ouara...had a walk up the hill above the small village. The next day we moved nearer to Goro, one of the lagoon exits and had a great swim in a freshwater
pool up over a cascade....it was a lovely feeling to remove the saltiness from my skin just for a while.
According to Ants we had the best ever sail onto the atoll of Ouvea, 100 miles
downwind in flat water and fast. We anchored in the lagoon near the "church with the two spires".
Oh yes, we spotted a Sperm Whale on the way...a characteristic 45 degree blow and rounded dorsal fin also they are frequently seen on the edge of a deep drop off in the sea.
We had a little walk ashore just to stretch our legs after the overnighter and met the local Gendarme who pointed us in the right direction for a walk around. We found the people quite friendly. Six hours later we were on our way again.
What I haven't really talked about yet is while at sea, in between the ports/stopovers we use a 24 hour watch system. So someone is always on watch, which involves watching for other boats/ships, tweaking the sails, changing the sails according to the changes in the weather. Most of the time its been 2 hours on during the day and 3 hours on during the night. Ants, Brian and Kerry have covered the night watches with 3 on and 6 off. I help during the day.
The sail to Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu was again fast. At first the sea was a bit rolly but conditions got more comfortable on the second day. We anchored near customs in Luganville and eventually
managed to get everything sorted. We have to go back to immigration
tomorrow as they shut at 3pm. The local vegetable market which seems to
be open 24 hours a day was one of those places I could have spent ages in. Lots of sweet potatoes wrapped in banana leaf baskets, chillies, a huge variety of bananas, taro, spinach, tomatoes and really friendly helpful people.
We are over halfway now from Sydney and two thirds from Kangaroo Island.....just 1420 nm to go.