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Published: January 6th 2009
Sailing back to New Caledonia - it was great to return to this wonderful country on 'Moet', this time with 2 children with us. We have been living on board and travelling by yacht for almost 9 years now in the Pacific, and feel we could spend a lifetime here and enjoy the place and the people as much as we do now.
From Tanna in Vanuatu to Noumea was a fast trip for us, 270 miles in 50 hours. It was great just to have a short passage after the two long ones. Dylan couldn't believe how quickly we saw land again! Some dolphins came to greet us on our way in. Flipping, spinning and diving under the bow, welcoming us into the lagoon. We saw them again a week later in exactly the same spot, and they came to play again. No matter how many times we see dolphins, I am always enchanted by them. Dylan was very excited that he could see their blowholes opening and closing!
Noumea's highrises and strip of bars, jet skiis, helicopters and dozens and dozens of multicoloured kites and windsurf sails was such a complete contrast to Tanna, and such a
sensory overload after so much ocean time, I almost wanted to turn around and go back to Vanuatu! But it is always fun to be in a city after a crossing, and we were happily tucking into beer and pizza until we worked out the exchange rate... everything here is expensive, even a single onion costs about 2 dollars!!
Amadee lighthouse is beautiful by day and by night with its huge sweeping light, and Dylan, Jayden and I sat on deck watching it light up the night sky. We climbed to the top and threw paper aeroplanes down. There were some nice little waves on the pass - thanks for the great photos Jesse! We headed for Ile Ouen, and Jesse was 'skipper' for the day, sailing off the mooring. The next day he sailed off the anchor singlehanded. No motor, hauling the anchor by hand, reefs around, all by himself, Frans and I down below watching out the windows (ready to assist of course!!). We were very impressed how calmly he managed it - though afterwards he said he was pretty nervous! Fair enough! It would not be an exaggeration to say we very seldom see other boats
sailing into or out of anchorages without their motor running, so Jesse really did well after only being on board 2 months. We'll see you on your own boat soon Jesse!!
In Ile Ouen we were visited by dolphins again, and since Jesse said he wanted some rough weather and challenging sailing he was rewarded on his last day with rain and strong winds. So his wet weather gear finally got used. Was a good last sail, and we celebrated safe arrival with brie, baguettes, yummy French sausages and a bottle of red wine.
The sea life here is prolific, and much of the great south lagoon is a protected marine reserve. We've seen several turtle, dolphins and dugongs swimming beside 'Moet'. And giant fish while snorkelling - since in many places fishing is not allowed the huge fish are not afraid and calmly swim around you. Napolean wrasse, rays, seasnakes, and hundreds of migrating terns and other seabirds; it is wonderful to be surrounded by the abundant life.
Jon and Caitie joined us for 2 weeks of surfing up the coast. Some of the best breaks in the south pacific are here in New Caledonia and
most of the time no-one to surf them! But that's ok, let the crowds go to Fiji... Jayden was our 5am wake up alarm, and Jon was pulling up the anchor while Caitie cooked up some true Scotish porridge and we motored out to the reef in the still morning. Caitie got barrelled and came back beaming, and so did Frans, after he went kiting in the waves with Steve from yacht Cheers. Besides the high cost of living here, New Caledonia is a great place to be!
More stories and info about our sailing adventures: oceannomads.org
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