Thursday, March 9, 2017

Port Vila to Noumea and Noumea 2008

24/06/2008 Leaving Port Vila

Once we had got out of the protection of the island we started to receive the rough stuff, winds were around 20 – 27 knots, seas from the SE around 2 -3 metres. Once we had been out for a short while I asked Nancy and Dusty if they were comfortable with continuing as we were going to get this most of the way. They were happy to continue.
(Seas very uncomfortable)

So the voyage continued with the wind near on the nose we had to motor sail most of the way, we were now going to have three watches with Dusty now part of the crew. I was to do both the 12 to 4’s, Nancy the 4 to 8’s and Dusty the 8 to 12’s.  Unfortunately Dusty had a little accident on the first night out as he was stepping up to the bed the boat gave a sudden jerk from a rouge wave and he fell backwards hitting his back against the door jam. He was in some pain and had to lie down and could not get up to tell us what had happened. We thought he may have felt a little off colour and left him to sleep so we continued with the old routine of our shifts. The next morning I went down to see how he was and he told me what had happened, he had to rest for the first two days. We were concerned that he had broken a rib; he is fine now although still a little sore. Once he was up and about he first joined us with our watches then took a place himself in the routine we had planned.
(Dusty resting his back)

We experienced fairly heavy seas and winds of up to 29 knots throughout the voyage which made it a little uncomfortable. As I have mentioned before that it takes three days to get into a routine this voyage was nearly four days so being rough did not help to get sleep patterns.
 The last day as we turned into Havanah Canal and passed the lighthouse the wind was now in the right place to sail, the only problem it decided to be a fine day and the wind dropped to around 15 knots from the east, we continued to motor sail as we need to cover 50 nms before dark as we had lost our port and stbd navigation lights during the heavy seas. I rigged a D size battery portable navigation lights as a makeshift but the batteries do not last long. This was tricky during the night because we had fishing boats everywhere and we were also experiencing freighters in the shipping lanes. I figured the best thing to do was to light up the genoa with the steaming light as then ships could see what direction we were travelling.
(New Caledonia, heading for Havanal Canal)
(Entering Havanah Canal)
 (When I first saw this I thought it was a sail of another yacht as it is white and we could only see the small top section on the horizon)
 (High land structures)
 (The Havanah Canal)
(Bonne Anse starboard marker)

Entering New Caledonia is a great experience the mountains and waterways are very impressive, following the leads in Havanah Canal and then passed islands and then passing through Canal Wooden is rather breath taking. We kept the motors running to keep the speed between 7 and 9 knots and we arrived in Noumea at around 1700 hours, the marina had closed so we dropped anchor outside the breakwater. We were all tired and we had a hot shower after putting the BBQ unit in place, we had a couple of beers good steak dinner and red wine and yes we slept very well.
(Lights of Noumea from our anchorage)

The next morning after breakfast we got ready to enter the marina, I dropped the dinghy and went in to the office to see if they had a berth, fortunately they did so I called Nancy on the radio to start getting things ready, her and Dusty got the ropes out and fenders whilst I had a look at the berth to see where I had to fit Alana Rose. It was going to be tight. I got back on board started engines weighed anchor and in we went, as I was turning into the berth I clipped a wind-vane paddle on an American yacht which I was totally embarrassed about, it was folded up and sticking out and was hard to see, it only caught the edge but made a loud twang noise. I went to see the owners and there was no damage. They said they said themselves that they understood as it is a tight spot for them and me having a catamaran is even more difficult.
 (We got the berth near the walkway)
(Port Moselle Marina)
Once in the berth I had to clear in, I went to the office and filled out the Customs forms and the young lady faxed them to Customs, she informed me that Immigration and Quarantine would visit the boat and if Customs needed to they will if they do not come within two hours we can consider that they are not interested and we can then go ashore. They were not interested we had provided them with enough information on the forms.

We went for a walk into town got some local money, nothing was open after lunch with the exception of restaurants, we decided to go to the restaurant on the waterfront by the marina and have lunch which eventually continued into dinner that night. Well the excuse was that we did not have much on board as quarantine takes meat, fruit, and veggies and the shops are shut. Sounds good to me.

We had our fill and poured ourselves to bed and we slept very well.

The next morning I was on dockside taking a few photos when a car pulled up looking at the boat, the driver then double parked the car and got out and was trying to read the manufacturers name on the side. I said to him, “it’s a Robertson and Caine, Leopard 42”, he replied, “Sorry I cannot speak English”. He then told me to wait one moment. He went and got his wife from the car and parked his car correctly. She came to me and said that her husband cannot speak English so I gave her the details of the boat. They stood there looking so I asked if they would like to go aboard and have a look. They did and was very happy, after Ginette and Nancy talked for a while, Ginette said something to her husband Christian in French, then she asked us if we would like to go site seeing with them so we took up the offer.
(Ginette and Christian)
(The view from Ginette and Christians home)

These people were wonderful and we were just overwhelmed with what they did. First they took us to their home to drop off their groceries from the market, we had a fruit juice, and then we went site seeing. We went everywhere, as it was getting close to lunch time we asked if we could take them to lunch as a thank you for what they had done. They said no you are having lunch at our home, she said that Christian has some nice wine. They drove us back to there place and they served up spring roles, cold meat, and a salad with nice bread rolls. Thinking that was a fine meal we sat and the next thing a main course came out, it was duck and vegetables and that was followed by a very nice desert. We did not know what to say these lovely people had treated us like part of their family. After lunch we left again on more sites seeing, the places we were taken through the day you could not visit on a paid tour. What we did not realise was that it was Father's Day in New Caledonia and the children had cooked the luncheon.
 (One of the gun placements)
(The view from the gun placement)

(A very early day gun placement)

 (Port Moselle mine and smelter to the right)
 (Mine and smelter)
(View from the communication tower hill)

(The end of the trip was at this vantage point at sunset)

We had to say to them that in return we have to take them to dinner as a thank you for what they have done for us. We are doing this tonight

New Caledonia is a beautiful place and has a lot to offer sailing vessels, there are some great areas to sail, and the people are very friendly.

Today we went into town to do a little shopping get navigation light globes and we went to clear out ready for sailing on Wednesday. We have to make a move as we now need to get back for Customs in Oz and to pay the import of the boat and also to get Dusty back for work. We will probably have to motor some as the weather looks as though it is going to be very calm winds. The last leg of the voyage.
(Is that chocolate in your hand Dusty?)
(Fish market)

Tomorrow it will be service the port engine and get all items ready for sailing then we may just go out and have a few drinks and a meal. I will post some more pictures tomorrow with details of what they are.

Well last night was very nice, Ginette and Christian booked a place that we could take them and their family for dinner, it was great. The meal was very nice and the company was wonderful. Ginette and Christian have a lovely family and a very good relationship within the family.

There son Gregory age 22, he is off to France to university soon and his girlfriend Sandra will also be going to France to do the practical training for the flight attendants position, they make a very handsome couple couple. Their daughter Celia is 11 and still going to school naturally. She is a very pretty girl and I think she wraps father and brother around her little finger.
 (Ginette, Christian, Celia, Gregory and Sandra)
(French always look so serious)
(Ginette and Nancy)
(Gregory and Sandra)

A big thank you to this family for making our stay one to remember.

The night was great and we really could not thank Ginette and Christian for the friendship they had shown us, they are very special people. After dinner they brought us back to the boat and we said our goodbyes but I think we will meet again one day.
This morning being another day and back to the reality of getting things ready to sail tomorrow. I transfered all the jerry cans into the tanks and prepared them for filling we received our voucher for duty free fuel when we cleared out yesterday. I serviced the port engine as that has done most of the work and checked the stbd engine. Cleaned the shower sump strainers checked the sea suction strainers and did a visual check on all systems.
We all went for coffee and then Dusty went back on board to wash and clean the upper deck and cockpit areas whilst Nancy and I went shopping for groceries, I know what a pack horse feels like. After lunch we went over the fuel dock in the dinghy and filled all the jerry cans which was 77 cents Oz a litre.

All that is left to do now is to plot our course for Oz in the GPS and paper charts recheck the weather in the morning and we will be off.
 (Our last night before we sail, Ginette and Christian came down to say goodbye and bought gifts)
(Nancy and Dusty having a drink and laptop out checking course and weather)

Well everyone this will be it until we get into Oz, depending on weather it could take anything from 7 to 10 days. The weather is looking a little better with the high pressure changing shape to give us some wind on the second day. We will report in again once we are in Bundaberg.
(Leaving Port Moselle)
(One of the resort islands)
(Shipwreck on the reef)
 (Goodbye Noumea )

(The end of another day)


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