Tue 25 Nov 2003 22:47
    Like many Pacific Nations New Caledonia has one major town with nearly 50% of the countries population. This makes Noumea an impressive sight
when approaching from sea on a busy Sunday afternoon.  Pleasure boats of all kinds lead the way towards the two massive marinas that are situated
right down town and packed with local vessels. The first order of business was to anchor out for the night and set about cleaning and drying out our
reliable little ship in preparation for the visiting officials.
    Foreign vessels must berth at Port Moselle and wait to be boarded by the authorities in order to enter the country. There is no lost time as the
 port captain gives you nearly 10 pages of forms to fill in before customs and immigration visit. Here, unlike many of our previous ports, the quarantine
officials actually come and inspect your food stores. This lead to the interesting sight of the crew of Avalon madly skinning and peeling various fruits
 and veggies (eagerly helped by the official) in order to not have them confiscated. The process was the most pleasant and the most thorough of the
many clearances over the years.
    Noumea offers the cruiser all that he requires to ease the stresses of a rough passage. Plenty of great fresh French food and 2 for 1 happy hour at
the marina bar. We spent our first night on dry land with crews of two other Aussie boats opening Ian's eyes further to the cruising lifestyle.
Le bout du monde may be a little over the top as a name for this very civilised place.
    Our new boat neighbours, Peter and Tracy, were once land neighbours as they lived in Rye (Mornington Peninsula) and sailed their old boat on the
 bay out of Blairgowrie before heading of cruising with their two sons. John and Allison in their boat True Blue have been on the same path as Avalon
 for the last couple of years having also bought their 31 footer in the USA. This was the first time we had managed to catch up with them and a good
 night was had by all!