Slow Sailing

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Aficionados of Isle de Pins

27 August 2014 | Where else?
Heather
From New Caledonia 2014

Little did we know when we pulled in to Kuto on the Isle of Pines over 2 weeks ago that we'd still be sitting here! Someone said it reminded them of the movie Groundhog Day. All I have to do is open one eye and look out the glass hatch above my bed to know the rain hasn't stopped. There's been a stationary front that has been REALLY stationary right over us bringing an untoward amount of rain, clouds and wind day after day. The weather reports say that it'll move out tomorrow but we'll believe it when we see it. I can see my varnish cracking at the seams from all the wet. If it had been anywhere else, I think we'd have needed to be committed but here, we have managed to keep ourselves busy enough and in the downtime, made good use of incredibly reasonable internet. We've had to do a fair amount of research on Australian visas, prohibited foods, customs notifications, marina reservations etc. But, it's not a pace we like to keep and we really miss diving and moving around to other anchorages and well, even the sun. Too many down days makes me lose track of what I'm doing out here...

The snow falling on the sandman picture from my last entry is Google's "Auto Awesome". Love the name. I had uploaded the picture, then went back to Picasa to upload more and noted the snow appeared. It took Jon a little bit to figure out what was behind it but now we think it's pretty funny. Speaking of awesome, Jon has been working hard on our cruiser's website Venturefarther.com adding enhancements and fine tuning the satellite map image generation. It's working great for us since we can zoom in on an area such as some of the small, poorly charted islands in this lagoon, then create a satellite image map with one click that is saved to our charting program and we can use this to navigate around those areas or choose dive sites, figure out where the longest beaches are or roads that can be walked on. Right now he's working on offering other map providers than Google such as Bing so that if one image is at night or in the clouds, there's another one to choose from that's often better. Pretty cool.

From New Caledonia 2014

From New Caledonia 2014

We've done a limited amount of snorkeling and so far it hasn't been too good but at the same time, the water is filled with life so we still haven't given up. For a change of scenery one day, we moved over about 4 miles to a small island called Islot Brosse. From the air, it is shaped like a hairbrush. It has a beautiful beach, a coral encircled lagoon and upon walking around to the windward side of the island at low tide, we found it to be loaded with small reef sharks, perusing in the shallows. They have such a colorful tail and it was calm enough to really see them well. We also saw the usual numerous sea snakes but this time a blue & black striped variation that was interesting. But when we got in the water to snorkel, we found the reef to be mostly dead & the water too milky with sediment to see. Not to mention, cold! We had a great, calm evening and then moved back over to Kuto the next morning to get better protection for the wind that was coming.
From New Caledonia 2014

On another day, we snorkeled at Kunamera Bay around the large rock in the anchorage which is a popular place and while it wasn't great, there was one cave that made the day. It was full of sea fans and mating nudibranchs. If only the whole snork had been that good.

From New Caledonia 2014

From New Caledonia 2014

I believe we are the aficionados at the Isle of Pines now, especially when it comes to walking. We're now ready to cut our own cross island trail and name it after ourselves. It's been too rainy to bike, but since we're comfortable living in our rain jackets, we haven't missed a step. Thankfully, Mark & Anne are of a similar breed, so we don't have to walk alone. The dogs around here are really friendly and it's been nice to see that they appreciate the ever popular Fiji breakfast crackers that we've been carrying around since... well, Fiji. It's good to get rid of them and nice to think that some dog may have a little more energy thanks to us. A couple of days ago, we timed the low tide to walk eastward along the ledges of the shore and discovered the best tide pools imaginable. Each one was like a mini aquarium. While the hunt was for spanish dancer nudibranchs and sea hares, we also found all kinds of other fish, crabs, urchins, sea cucumbers, corals, sponges and plants. Lots of fun.
From New Caledonia 2014

Since Gerrit and Anne-Mieke are from Holland, we had "Dutch Night" dinner here the other day complete with Beerenburger liquor which was a new one for us! Infused with herbs, you sip this liquor on a cool night and it warms your insides like whiskey. We even had the blue & white Dutch patterned shot glasses to make it authentic. Anne-Mieke also made traditional split pea soup with bacon topped pumpernickel bread & I made a chocolate cake just to make sure we were sufficiently stuffed. It was a fun night and we even discussed plans for Indonesia with Fruit de Mer a little since it seems so hard to know how to organize our attack on an area so foreign to anything we've ever done.

This area has been kind to our wallet because there isn't much to spend money on- except when the supply ship comes in and there's produce. Then you wish you hated vegetables because the prices for basic things really hurt! I spent $11 yesterday on 3 mediocre (at best) zucchini and another $25 on a few things that weren't too exciting. One day we all walked down to the produce market in the town of Vao to see if that was better, but it wasn't. But we sat down like locals and ordered a coffee & donut which was nice. It was so nice that Mark & I followed that up with a piece of cake, which did us in and we were scolded for over-indulging.

So really, we've just been hanging out here waiting for the weather to improve. With all the rain, you can't even do any polishing or outside boat maintenance so we're just biding our time, hoping this system will move off and let us see the sun again.

I was thinking about the good fortune we've had over the past couple of months so thought I'd give a report. The watermaker is still making the best water ever, the SSB is an amazing piece of electronics, the G15 Canon camera takes nice pictures and the Fantasea underwater case is the best brand we've had yet. Anne & I have managed to grow out our hair enough that we feel more attractive and I actually made a batch of yogurt that turned out for the first time this season. Also, we haven't stepped on a sea snake yet so overall, things are going really well even if we aren't doing & seeing as much as we'd like to be. This crummy weather can't last forever so hopefully we'll be on our way soon.



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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