Our experience in Noumea revolved around exploring the town and out islands. In town, we sipped delicious coffee – yes, even Ginger – in the café and watched tres chic local people come and go.
We visited the clean and spacious boatyard, Nouvelle Plaisance, where yachts are hauled out and strapped down for “typhoon proof” storage. Here are examples of two of France’s production ocean cruisers: Amel, the fiberglass deep fin keel ketch in the background, and Ovni, the aluminum centerboarder behind Ginger.
Ginger waits in our dinghy near Nez Rouge, one of our favorite French cruising boats. This is a “tough as nails” aluminum centerboard boat of the sort that can sail anywhere there is 4 feet or more of water without demanding a lot of worry or maintenance.
We dinghied past the fishing fleet.
Our cruise up the coast revealed hundreds of islands that were like what we had imagined all of the South Pacific to be like – clean and deserted with gorgeous beaches. Tahiti, eat your heart out.
There are serpents in this paradise. These sea snakes carry enough venom to kill instantly, but are apparently inoffensive. We didn’t test their temper in any way.
Back in Noumea, we busied ourselves getting the last few items for the next passage.
Ginger enjoyed the errand where she shared a ride in the back seat with Boome, an elderly English setter.
Peter wants to try some star sights when we get to sea again. It takes some preparation, so while still at anchor he got out the sextant and worked up a set of stars to observe.
We use an amazing little book that contains all almanac and sight reduction information for five years. There is a bit more arithmetic involved, but for backup use it does the trick.
We expect to cross paths often in the next season with Ariel, a beautiful homebuilt English gaff rigger. They plan to sail to Cape Town as we do, following the same path.
It’s always enjoyable to be in the same anchorage with Ian and Kathy, as they handle their boat with wonderful competence – always sailing on and off the hook, and Ariel is always completely shipshape – sails furled and lines coiled perfectly.
Of course, we may look at other boats, but our hearts are with Marcy.
Labels: 2008 - 05 - 06 New Caledonia