N/N and at anchor in New Caledonia

Sun 11 Oct 2009 02:40
22:23.850S 166:49.4E Well what a trip. We started off stroming along on a fantastic beam reach, (the wind coming from the port side,  that`s the left hand side if you are facing the pointy end!) two days of that, maintaining a steady 8 kts. The forecast was for the wind to slowly move toward the back of the boat, and round to the stbd quarter, ( the corner behind you on the right hand side, if you are still facing the pointy end. There will be a test at the end of this!), taking about 24 hrs to do so.
During this time we pulled ahead of Vagabond Heart, being a monohull, they get a speed wobble on if they go over 7 kts!
The wind did move behind us, about 10 degrees of directly behind us (not our best point of sail, we can`t get the mainsail out to take advantage of the wind. So it sat there for about 8 hrs, frustrating me as VH put their two jibs out and overtook us again! Then as promised the wind started to move anticlockwise, I was hoping it would take a few hours so we could speed up again. It took less than two hours to go from 170 Stbd relative to the ships head to 30 port, and stayed there for the next 48 hrs!
As a consquence, the swell and sea built up into a very short steep sea, very close to the direction we were trying to go. For the next 38 hrs the wind steadly built to a max of 35 kts, and stayed 30 degrees off the bow. Not fun at all!
We ended up geting through the pass about 12nm north of where we planned originally to go through, just as the sun went down, and had a motor down between the reef and the islands, to find where VH & pegasus had anchored.
The anchor went down at 0230, and another leg was over.
Jason from Pegasus came over this morning to say hi, and tell us that they were off shortly to be flim stars again, ( they are part of a channel 4 film series about families doing fun stuff, and have a cameraman, Ben, who flies out sometimes to film them) They have a helicopter booked for the morning!
It was Debs, (VH) 50th Birthday yesterday, so we had to have pink champagne onboard Pegasus, along with salmon sandwiches (from Amanda on Peg) and apple cake (from Ina). It is very tough this cruising lifestyle! Ina had knitted Debs a very smart sundowner hat, (something that I am sure is going to get a lot of use in the warmth of Sydney).
Pegasus have now left the anchorage to make their rendevous with the helicopter, and we and VH are waiting for the morning to head into Noumea to clear in. Seems very strange, but in three weeks we will be in Australia, and the real sailing of the trip is over. :( 
Oh well, there is always next time round.................