22:38.74S, 167:12.7E Ile des Pins

Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Sat 20 Aug 2022 09:11
Due to a poor internet signal here this blog is being sent by satphone, so will be short and lacking in pictures we’ll make up for it next time. Having returned to Noumea with our non working autohelm investigation continued aided by David, the OCC port officer who provided transport, translation and knowledge. No solution was found but the local chandlery had a new one in stock and without tax this was a comparable price to UK or Australia, actually a bit cheaper, so we bit the bullet and fitted new. We were going to renew some instruments over the next year so didn’t really mind and we now have a fully functional piece of kit.
We left Noumea last Sunday after a week in the marina with the intention of heading down to Ile de Pin. This is an island about 35 miles SE of Grande Terre 60 miles from Noumea, we needed to work the tides and weather to get there so spent our first night of Ile Ste Marie just south of Noumea and giving good shelter from easterlies. On Monday the intention was to get to Baie de Prony through the Canal Woodin, which we had done before, but as we neared the Canal we had strong head winds, wind against tide and it became exceedingly uncomfortable. We decided to go North to Baie Ngo which would give good shelter and excellent holding for the anchor, thick mud, the drawback was that it is surrounded by opencast Nickel mines, when it rained the sea was red. We spent two nights here with the wind gusting over 40 knots.
Wednesday we moved on through Canal Woodin and into Baie de Prony where we anchored again in thick red mud, good holding but hard to get off the anchor and stains the decks if not cleaned off quickly. Then Thursday we made it down to Ile de Pin, bright blue water over white sand and white sand beaches. More to follow with pictures.