A Chelsea Garden Designers Dream
A Chelsea Garden Designers Dream
Our last walk in the Baie de Carenage was really special. All the others were interesting and different but this one took the biscuit. Its spring time here, the equivalent of a British March but sub tropical and so warmer than in the temperate climate at home. A thousand different shaped and hues of green leaves, the freshest at the ends of the branches and some new leaves of rich fuchsia, their UV protection greeted us as we scrambled up an old quay front wall leaving the tender tied to an overhanging branch again.
The path was overgrown in places, with new growth impinging on our progress. Grooves had been cut and initials carved along the more open track, the former to give better grip when the path is slippery after rain for modern shoes and the sleds of the past. We descended a small hill where the track was ripped apart with a jagged erosion gorge and through some more bush at the bottom came to a small level opening above a beautiful natural water garden. Upstream water rippled and gurgled over some rocks and tumbled, as you can see into the little pond formed behind a rise of rocks where we could cross. Plants leaned over the water as if watching, protecting the few fish that lived there. I have yet to identify them but we have seen them in all the waterways around the area.
This little area would be perfect for a picnic and would grace an exhibit at Chelsea or in a sheltered garden in the warmer parts of Britain like Cornwall and Western Ireland. Man at his most creative could not have done better.
The next picture is a spot the dinghy for you.
We imagined the little white half flower is so designed to help bees take the pollen and nectar and when we spotted the one orchid we found it was amongst many. The pale lichen reminded us of our walk around the Brunston golf course in Scotland, just how universal and ancient are lichen, a simple marriage of fungus and algae, though we were avoiding Scotch mist at this time. Cook was right even in the finer details, how like Scotland is New Caledonia.
Another simple harmony is the next photo showing two young specimens of different species growing from exactly the same spot of earth, I wonder if there is a symbiotic mutually beneficial reason for this. Another question for Randall and Alison!
We discovered we were walking up the bank opposite where we had landed at the thermal water bath, looking across to the well maintained jetty. Onward towards our one and a half hour outward target brought us along pathways that were clearly watercourses when it rained and to a rocky area where it is possible to scramble across the river, slippery rock to slippery rock. But instead we sat, sipped our water and soaked up the serene surroundings, little bonsai trees growing out of the rock crevices included.
Back on board Zoonie’s spring-clean was almost done and we were entering our third week away from civilisation. Supplies were holding up and I had added to them with bread, cake and flapjacks and numerous one pot stew type suppers. Rob will be looking forward to some meat again I mused as I soaked another batch of TVP in a hot, tasty solution.
Before we left we had both stared at the thousands of packs of toothpaste on the supermarket shelves and agreed we had plenty on board. Well we rationed the last quarter of the only tube we found we actually had to a pea-sized dollop once a day, relying on the residue on the brush for the bedtime ritual, until along came Carol and Darryl from Auckland who very kindly donated a tube to our dental cause. Bless them.
Time is moving on, our minds are turning towards our next passage and having established we only have to keep in touch with the ‘Go West Rally’ we are now free to return to Noumea, complete final preps in the way of buying food and toothpaste (!), watch for a weather window, clear out and set off for Aussie. Our membership of the Rally and advance payment of the entry fees will smooth our way in to Aussie as will the fact that now Zoonie is a very clean ship.
The entry forms we filled in and the email to the Border Control is saved in Word and ready to send back in Noumea. We did all that bureaucracy during a recent windy spell that delayed our leaving Carenage Baie, well there’s no point leaving safety and shelter into a force 7 is there?
I write this as we languish on a mooring buoy at our last port of call in Prony Bay, Isle de Casy. Rob is hull cleaning, I can hear him as I type, gradually swishing his way around and when he gets a little further towards his start point I will put on the kettle for a well-deserved coffee. He is not alone as there are numerous parrot fish watching his progress with an eye out for titbits from the meagre scrapings. A period upstream in largely fresh water does wonders for getting rid of salt water growth.
There are enticing reefs around this bay on our own Isle des pins so despite the cool water, I think a snorkel this afternoon is on the cards.