SV Saraoni

11 November 2018 | Bundaberg, South East Queensland, Australia
01 November 2018 | Burnett River, near Bundaberg, Queensland.
31 October 2018 | 110 nm from Bundaberg
30 October 2018 | 240 nm from Bundaberg
29 October 2018 | 360 nm from Bundy
28 October 2018 | 460 nm from Bundaberg
27 October 2018 | 560 nm from Bundaberg
26 October 2018 | 670 nm from Bundaberg
24 October 2018 | Ilot Maitre New Caledonia
09 October 2018 | Isle Mato, Southern Lagoon, New Caledonia
15 September 2018 | Baie d'Orphelinat, Noumea, New Caledonia
02 September 2018 | Mare, Isles Loyaute, New Cal
30 August 2018 | Cap Boyes Mare Iles Loyaute
29 August 2018 | Kuto, Isle of Pines
01 August 2018 | Baie Majic, Baie de Prony, New Caledonia
13 July 2018 | Baie de St Vincente, Grande Terre, New Cal.
06 July 2018 | Koniene Island, Pouembout ,Western lagoon, New Cal.
02 July 2018 | Koumac, Northern Grande Terre, New Caledonia
20 June 2018 | Hienghene, NE Coast of New Cal.
31 May 2018 | Canala, New Caledonia

Closing the Loop at Ilot Tenia

13 July 2018 | Baie de St Vincente, Grande Terre, New Cal.
Alison and Geoff, calm and drizzly
Photo shows Saraoni once again anchored in the Southern lagoon near Isle Konduya


We finally closed the loop at Ilot Tenia on the outer barrier near Baie de St Vincente yesterday after our 500 mile leisurely perambulation around New Caledonia's largest island. It's always satisfying to circumnavigate anything large and Grande Terre was large enough for a 2 month trip with over 30 excellent anchorages.



Lovely, remote, Ilot Tenia on the edge of the barrier where we closed the loop

We arrived back in the Southern lagoon a week ago after a 60 mile sprint down outside the western barrier reef. The tip of a front emanating from a deep low passing across the Tasman to the south of us wafted through, shifting the wind from a useful north easterly back to an annoying southeasterly, but we made it back through the pass in the dark and dropped anchor in calm conditions.

Unusually calm days since have allowed us to visit normally uncomfortable coral cays like Konduya and Tenia, as well as spot marine life. We've seen dolphins and dugongs, as well as turtles in the shallow, clear water 'flying' across the sea grass beds.



Konduya Island in the Southern lagoon



An osprey on Konduya island - each cay seems to have a resident pair of ospreys




The osprey pair on Ilot Tenia



These small sacred kingfishers are common all over New Caledonia and the same species as in Australia and New Zealand.


At lovely Ilot Tenia, in almost perfect conditions we saw a 2.5m grey shark which was a little offputting. When Alison finally got into the water, she saw what she said was the biggest moray eel she had ever seen, with a head the size of a child's. She couldn't get back into the dinghy as the water was too deep, but the moray had already retreated to somewhere it too felt safe!

Best of all was an encounter with some manta rays in the Lepredour Channel. They must have been feeding on a plankton plume in the channel, accompanied by their constant companions, a bunch of remoras. Because the sea was so calm, we just dropped Saraoni's anchor and jumped in the water with the camera!

Mantas are gentle giants that just feed on plankton and do not have the potentially dangerous barb that sting rays have. We were able to get really close to the mantas who politely ignored us as they glided effortlessly through the water.



Manta feeding - note the large mouth like that of a baleen whale



Manta in the Lepredour Channel



Remoras attached to their reluctant chum

We have had almost constant internet cover here everywhere we have been. It's rather surreal when cruising in these remote lagoons reading about the chaotic events in Britain with the disastrous arrival of President Tchump. Why was he ever allowed to visit? All power to Sadiq Khan in London, Magid Magid in Sheffield, Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland, the baby blimp and the many tens of thousands of people who gave Tchump an unwelcome.

There is a nasty trend towards bigotry and nationalism in both Europe and the U.S. - at a time when the world is dangerously hotting up, income disparities growing and biodiversity shrinking. Humanity needs more international co-operation than ever before, not less. The recent cave rescue in Thailand was a welcome sign that people from many nations can help each other for the common good.

We are now heading back to Noumea to make plans for our trip to Vanuatu.



Comments
Vessel Name: Saraoni
Vessel Make/Model: South Coast 36
Hailing Port: Tutukaka, New Zealand
Crew: Alison and Geoff Williams
About:
Saraoni is named after an island in Milne Bay which guards and protects one of our favourite anchorages - Kana Kopi Bay - frequently occupied by us while we were teaching in Alotau, PNG. We have lived, cruised and worked for the last 30 years on two very different boats. [...]
Extra: CONTACT DETAILS Telephone /SMS number +64 (0) 21 072 5262 +687 94 55 17 (New Caledonia number) Email saraoni@gmail.com (main email address) Note sat phone and iridium email suspended while no moanas to cross!
Saraoni's Photos - Main
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Post Circumnavigation

Who: Alison and Geoff Williams
Port: Tutukaka, New Zealand