Slow Sailing

25 February 2020
29 November 2019 | Vero Beach
09 October 2019 | Washington, NC
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15 May 2019 | St Augustine
30 April 2019 | Black Point, Exuma
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15 December 2018 | Washington, NC
03 November 2018 | Thetford, VT
21 September 2018 | Bradford, VT
13 August 2018 | Thetford, VT

Piling Up Perfect Days

18 August 2014 | Isle of Pines, New Caledonia
Heather
From New Caledonia 2014

We've been having a GREAT time at Isle of Pines in New Caledonia. It's beautiful here with loads to do and I have to say I feel somewhat liberated after being in Vanuatu where you can't necessarily do whatever you want on your own. There's a peaceful feel to this island and the tourism they have is low key. Owned by the French, many of the visitors come from France so we've had to dig out all the french we know from the back of our brains but still can't communicate very well. I love all the pines.... and the area near our beach anchorage at Kuto has an unusual peninsula that separates 2 picturesque bays where there are a concentration of old trees with a quiet road snaking through. We've stayed past when we really should given all we want to see in New Cal but it's been so nice to be here and we've been waiting for some weather to pass over anyway.

From New Caledonia 2014

One day shortly after arriving, the 6 of us (Mark & Anne and Gerrit & Anne-Mieke) brought our bikes ashore and toured the island. It's a perfect place for biking with a smooth paved road, modest hills and nice views. We stopped at 2 great caves, both very different. The first one was very large & open with some of the usual cave formations and a little stream flowing through it. Landscaped gardens made it a nice spot for lunch. The second one was smaller from the outside in a more woodsy setting but once inside, it had incredible formations reminding me of a pipe organ, a turquoise pool at the bottom and openings for shafts of sunlight to beam in that made it somewhat of a religious experience. Beautiful! We'd like to go back there actually, with masks to get in the water and snoop around some in the better lit part of it. You can scuba dive in there with a guide but none of us are in to cave diving- too scary!
From New Caledonia 2014


We also found out about a church celebration in the main town of Vao in honor of Assumption Day. Not knowing what exactly that was but hearing there would be native dancing, food & possibly pastries after the service, we decided to breeze in and see what we could see. Further research taught us that this day, August 15th marked the day that the Virgin Mary traveled to heaven after her earthly life. We arrived just as church was letting out and were able to view the New Caledonian ladies all nicely dressed in colorful gowns, the wood carved altar with a maritime theme & a fine garland of natural vines & flowers that decorated the interior of the church. Then we headed over to the BBQ stands. No pastries! We had deep fried bread dough of some sort, beef kebobs and even a take home whole chicken for later. They managed to deep fry whole chickens over an open wood fire so it was "the best of both"- sort of. There was a bingo game going, some simple gambling where you place a small bet and are given a piece of painted wood with both a color and an animal depicted on it. The wheel was spun and if there was a match you were paid in cash- Gerrit made $4. Much later, like over two hours later than what was originally announced, the traditional dancing began. To kill time, we'd done some walking around the town of Vao, lazed on the front lawn of the church and just as we were about to give up and start walking back to the boats, there came the dancers. There were 2 groups, dressed in costume, one with a bird theme and the other with body painting to symbolize a snake. The dancing & singing reminded us of Vanuatu but the costumes were much more elaborate and the dancing a little more energetic. We felt very welcome there and all in all, it was a great day.
From New Caledonia 2014

This island has been great for walking. There are long, silky sand beaches, scrubby hillsides and wooded seaside trails. Since there is no official dinghy dock, we pull the dinghies way up on the beach into the grassy area well above the high tide mark but then it feels risky just leaving it there untied so we tie it up to a tree just in case a tsunami comes through, which makes us feel better. Dragging it all the way back down the beach later on feels foolish but I'm sure we keep the tourists entertained. Mark & Anne have joined us on most of these walks and we so enjoy their company. At times we're relatively normal and take established paths but we've also found ourselves bushwhacking through near impenetrable scrub finding our way in the general direction of where we want to go. We do eventually come out, somewhere, but often all cut up & bleeding. Whenever possible, we reward ourselves with a Magnum ice cream bar, when we can find a french store that is actually open. It's fun to just head out and see where our feet can take us. As we were plodding through the worst of it recently and I was feeling really apologetic for Jon having gotten us so far off the "trail", Anne said "Are you kidding? We love this stuff!' Hmm, that is unusual. The other day, as we walked along the beach, we saw a perfect snowman made of sand that cracked us up, we fed a poor island dog tortillas, marveled at the size and shape of footprints in the sand trying to diagnose foot problems such as toe drag, joked about the seed pods of the dog-doo tree and patted those black & white poisonous sea snakes on the back. Called various names such as tricot rayes, these black & white striped sea snakes are ALL OVER the place here and they seem to spend more time out of the water sleeping on the rocks rather than in. You have to really watch your step so as not to trod on one, or three!

From New Caledonia 2014

Jon & I took a great bike ride yesterday with Mark to see the natural pool on the east side of the island. We locked our bikes at the fancy Meridien Hotel so we could almost feel what it would be like to stay there. The natural pool is a tidal backwater area with pretty white sand, a turquoise circle of water and some interesting rock formations at the entrance. It was a great spot to walk around and have a picnic lunch before heading back to the west side of the island. We wrapped up the day with a homemade pizza night on Fruit de Mer. Another perfect day.

And today we're going to do some engine maintenance and then hopefully get in the water for some snorkeling. The wind is from the west as a front passes over which means the adjacent bay is calm and peaceful. The isthmus from one bay to the next is only a couple hundred feet wide so we can just walk over with our gear and get in. I imagine we'll leave here in the next two days to do some diving on the north side of the island before heading out to the Loyalty Islands. I do hope they offer more diving opportunities but still have fun things to do on land.


Comments
Vessel Name: EVERGREEN
Vessel Make/Model: Tashiba 40 Hull #158
Hailing Port: E. Thetford Vermont
Crew: Heather and Jon Turgeon
Extra:
Hello! We are Heather & Jon Turgeon of S/V Evergreen. We started sailing in 1994 on our first boat, a Cape Dory 31, then sought out a Tashiba 40 that could take us around the globe. It has been our home for 19 years. We've thoroughly cruised the East coast and Caribbean and just completed our [...]
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