Gidday from Auckland - where its freezing!
30 November 2012
Yes, we've made it back home to wonderful New Zealand.
Before we left Noumea we became tourists for an afternoon and explored the Noumea Aquarium and were fascinated by the nautilus and archer fish. And then our New Caledonia friends Claude and Lucie hosted us for a wonderful three course lunch at their apartment the day before we left - so spolit!
The day we left Claude and Lucie came to help us provision and ferried us about Noumea - which we were so grateful for - and then gave us a 'family' farewell from the fuel dock.
The four of us - Dave and crew of Lance, Keith and Carolyn - then made it back in just 6 days and 6 hours, enjoying an easy, quiet passage with light winds which suited us all just fine :-). The only excitement was when Dave, Lance and Keith caught an albacore tuna each (we are still enjoying tuna on board). We were delighted to see a huge pod of dolphins as we neared the NZ coast and then an albatross or two swung by to check us out.
As Keith hadn't been in the area before we came in close to the entrance to Wangaroa Harbour and then tacked our way through the Cavallis and down to Nine Pin and the Bay of Islands.
We arrived in Opua to find Norm and Beth of Sarah Jean II there to greet us, as well as Rob and Margie of Wind Star and Patrick and Agnes of Confiance. Patrick and Agnes had left Noumea just before us and came to the aid of Freedom Hunter on their way here - true heroes.
Keith and Lance left us in Opua (thank you Keith and Lance for joining us and helping us get home) and then we took our time coming down the coast to Auckland via our favourite spots. Dave got in the water in the BOI to shoot us a butterfish and harvest mussels and then I was brave enough to get in the water in Whangamumu where Dave got us some paua - yumm!
Its wonderful being back and catching up with treasured famly and friends, but its freezing! We look forward to it being summer from tomorrow.
Once we know what we are doing for the rest of 2012 and 2013 we'll update you all...
...In the meantime, have a wonderful Xmas and New Year with your family and friends - or cruising whereever you are (and if you are in New Zealand please make sure to contact us!).
Lots of love
Carolyn and Dave
(photo is of the crew Dave, with his crew Lance, Keith and Carolyn )
photo - Lance gets to know his albacore
29 November 2012
Lance puckers up for...albacore
photo - Dave cuts down the tricolour
29 November 2012
Reluctantly we cut down our last coutesy flag for 2012
Bonjour from Noumea - yes we are back
12 November 2012
We returned to Noumea yesterday (via a little island called Ilot Signol for the day). It’s a little earlier than planned as our weather dependent departure time has been brought forward. This is because one of our two crew, Keith, has been able to change his flights and now arrives on Thursday (rather than Saturday). And so we will be able to sign Lance and Keith on at Immigration, clear Customs, provision etc etc on Friday, which is wonderful. It means that if the weather window is right we can leave any time from Saturday onwards.
For the previous few days we had been anchored in a bay north of Noumea (on New Caledonia’s west coast) called Baie Maa, in front of a “Broussard” farm. We thought we were in Australia – dry, barren, gum trees, cactus, flamboyant trees, sheep and the occasional deer, behind a white sand beach with a few mangroves and an aquamarine sea. But that’s not surprising, as we have discovered that New Caledonia was originally part of Gondwanaland with Australia and New Zealand etc.. And then New Z and New C cleaved off at the same time, and later parted company themselves. Lucky New C ended up with all the rich mineral deposits and the warmer climes ☺.
The highlight of being in the bay would have to have been meeting a lovely ‘Caledonie’ couple who have spent their life as teachers working between New Caledonia and France, and have now retired here. Claude and Lucie were spending a week exploring the area in their boat, and two fitter 72 and 69 year olds you couldn’t hope to meet – walking, swimming and rowing every day. At first they were reluctant to try their English and we our French, but after a couple of hours we were communicating like old friends. And on Thursday we will visit them here in Noumea.
While in the bay we persuaded Claude and Lucie to come with us to find the farmer, who we had spied putting a net out onshore one evening. We certainly found Allan, in a little, old dwelling behind the beach. He was no longer managing the farm – his daughter is – but he shared with us (via Claude and Lucie) the history of the farm and his family. His French grandfather had settled on the land in 1878 and they’d been eking a living from it ever since. He was proud to tell us that his family now included Kanak and Taiwanese blood.
He also explained that they don’t actually farm the deer. Half a dozen Russa deer were introduced to NC last century and have become a pest – destroying the land. We often heard gunshot as the farmers try to get rid of them. We would have loved the chance for Dave to join them and bring home some venison ☺!
Okay, until we leave Noumea for home,
Carolyn and Dave
(photo is of Carolyn with Lucie and Claude during a walk on the farm)
photo - Ilot Signol
11 November 2012
a lovely spot in the Southern Lagoon for a day trip
photo - Dave and the girls at the farm
11 November 2012
Dave, Lucie and Carolyn on the farm at Baie Maa