A Taste of New Caledonia - 29.9. - 22.11. - (eng) [pics]

Thu 19 Nov 2015 12:35

22:18.085S 166:20.783E

29.9. - 22.11.2015

A Taste of New Caledonia


After a lovely two day layover the wind changed in our favor so we proceeded at a fast but comfortable pace to New Caledonia, at least till the very end when our spinnaker was stuck up in 25knts of wind and we were headed toward a reef! A dramatic end to our very pleasant passage (we did finally manage to winch the sock down).


Super smooth spinnaker ride inside the big lagoon along the beautiful coast – til we reached 25kn apparent wind.

Baie des Citrons, just south of Nouméa.

Ilot Maitre, just 3nm and a 30min sail away from Nouméa.


We quite enjoy New Cal (except food and booze is pretty expensive) and have spent a very enjoyable seven weeks here. It was a bit chilly the first month so all our wind and rain protection around the cockpit was up but the start of November brought warmer winds and a more comfortable water temperature and now it’s actually hot today!


Popular beach on windy weekends.


Iris trying out the action cam, attached to the kite, 25m high the air. Mainland in the background.

Michael having fun!


After checking in at the capital, Noumea, late September we have not ventured too far. There are a couple of small islets close by, inside the huge lagoon surrounding the also huge island. Fantastic for kiting, swimming, snorkeling and exercises on the beach in the morning. Much of the lagoon and its islets is a marine reserve. As a result coral reefs are exceptionally beautiful and fish and sea birds abound. The fish, including many snappers and groupers, have little fear (nobody pointing a spear gun at them!) and can almost be fed by hand.


While doing our exercises on the beach a Japanese wedding photographer was checking out the location – and asked if he could take some pics of me..?
He must be a professional


After cleaning a tuna I found a school of about 20 very large snappers and many jacks (one a grand daddy) hovering under the boat hoping for another meal. Such abundance is an amazing and a rare sight these days.

About 3 miles from one of these islands lies the Dumbéa pass where great surfing can be found in the right conditions. When I finally got used to the very fast left break, I caught some fantastic rides! Fortunately my knee is getting more flexible and I could get up fast enough this time around instead of getting pounded in the big and fast reef breaks. Usually, there were also six or more locals there and it was a real pleasure and surprise to find them all super friendly. Normally locals are very protective of their breaks and shun and (or worse) outsiders. It’s been very windy most of the time though and much more suitable for kiting. I would have loved to kitesurf the big waves in the pass but was smart enough not to push my limits too far.


  Many fish and sea birds and stunning sunsets.

Also lots of turtles, this one swimming by 1m from the boat on a calm clear morning.


Ilot Laregnere – nice beach at low tide – not much of it left at high tide.

Some cruising friends insisted on dressing up for a Halloween BBQ – with a guessing game.
Did you see the anchor the lady on the right is dragging? And the crown makes her a queen, right?


The other night Iris and I were watching a movie when we heard a noise. I thought it was just a small wave splashing against the hull but when Iris got up to check we could see a little sail boat drifting by our stern with all the cabin lights on but nobody home. We launched the dinghy and went to catch this runaway boat. Fortunately the key was in the ignition so we were able to return her and managed to find one free mooring in this very dark night. We secured the wayward boat and told the boat just in front what happened in case he saw the owner coming back. The young Chilean owner came over later that night and was super thankful that his boat was still on the same mooring and not lying on the outer reef! He even brought us over a bottle of wine and a Chilean chili sauce next day before sailing off. He had to get back to his work. He lives with a tribe in Kone and teaches music.

At Musket Cove in Fiji we had a similar experience when a 50 something foot sloop dragged anchor and slammed broadside into our bows. We were anchored about 10 m from the protective reef so I was a bit worried the combined weight would cause our anchor to drag leaving both boats upon the reef as the wind was blowing 25+knts! We climbed aboard and started the engine and very fortunately two cruisers in their dinghies came over to help. With both of them pushing they were able to push the boat’s bow off Andromeda just enough so I could maneuver her away and clear our anchor chain. A big relief!
It took a few tries before we got the anchor to hold again in another location 300 m across the bay. We stopped by the next day to tell the owner what happened. He hadn’t even realized his boat drifted at all and that his stations were a bit bent from our spinnaker pole - just thought something was a little funny about where she was anchored!

A little visitor at my shady yoga spot.

The islands’ wildlifeis not too wild here.J

Another way to ‘walk’ your dog when you live on the water… Not sure if he looks happy or not…?


We had planned to sail on to Australia but decided to leave Andromeda here for the cyclone season. Unfortunately, I’m still having problems with very tight muscles causing constant discomfort and much pain a lot of the time.

I’ve worked extremely hard on my rehab but it seems that every time I’m making good progress something happens that sets me back again.

This is also the reason we have not ventured too far and decided to leave Andromeda here. Fortunately, we found a yard that can haul Andromeda out of the water and store her on the hard so we are now busy getting everything prepared.

And there’s quite a bit to do to prepare her for a possible cyclone, even stored out of the water. It will take us about a week at a relaxed pace with some fun in between. I am a bit limited in what I can do and Iris as has been fantastic about taking on the majority of the work.

(I know what some might be thinking, but kiting and surfing actually helps my back as long as I don’t stay up too long and don’t try too many fancy tricks).

Haul-out day arrived. The yard is not much bigger than you can see. Raoul and his family live in the little house on the left.

I had to drive onto this hydraulic trailer with inflatable airbags on top to cushion the lift, works well.


We fly the 22nd to Brisbane, Australia, and will visit friends at the Gold Coast. Then on December 2nd Iris flies to Hamburg for Xmas and I carry on to Cape Town where Iris will meet after Xmas.

Halloween S Pacific style

Yet one more lovely sunset, Iris has so many captured!