Slow Sailing

25 February 2020
29 November 2019 | Vero Beach
09 October 2019 | Washington, NC
27 September 2019
06 September 2019 | Norfolk, VA
07 August 2019 | Washington, NC
07 July 2019 | Washington
10 June 2019 | Washington, NC
15 May 2019 | St Augustine
30 April 2019 | Black Point, Exuma
16 April 2019 | Bahamas
02 April 2019 | Washington, NC
15 March 2019 | Washington, NC
10 February 2019 | Washington, NC
22 January 2019 | Washington, NC
07 January 2019 | Washington, NC
15 December 2018 | Washington, NC
03 November 2018 | Thetford, VT
21 September 2018 | Bradford, VT
13 August 2018 | Thetford, VT

The Wrap Up

22 September 2014 | Southern Lagoon, New Cal
From New Caledonia 2014

Our visit to the last island in the Loyalties- Ouvea, was sort of a bust. While we sailed in under full sun to an enticing turquoise lagoon, by that night the clouds rolled in making for a beautiful sunset and then proceeded to stay in place for the rest of the time we were there. We did some great long walks on the beach collecting shells which was definitely the highlight, but the water wasn't appealing to get in to since there were no reefs around. Ouvea is pretty much about beaches. They have firm sand at low tide that's easy to walk on. They were more than welcome since most of where we've been has had only short stretches of beach. But our anchorage was pretty choppy with the wind direction we had and I think the 6 of us were just fed up with the weather so we set sail ahead of schedule to get back to the main island of New Cal, in the rain I might add.

We were pleasantly surprised to get word that the anniversary card I mailed mom & dad from a little post office on Lifou in the Loyalties arrived exactly on the day of their anniversary. What were the chances of that?! When I was headed in to mail it, Mark had inquired politely if I was REALLY going to try to mail something from there and I said, what could I do but try? So in the end, it cost $1.75 to mail a card from the other side of the world and it made it all the way there in less than 2 weeks, in time to get my wishes opened on the day. Miraculous.

From New Caledonia 2014

After a nice daysail from Ouvea, we anchored on the east coast of Grand Terre, an area that's big in to mining, mainly for nickel. We tried to think of what things nickel is in besides batteries and possibly still the nickel coin. This is in fact a large income producer for New Cal. I find the east coast of Grand Terre to be an interesting area because the backdrop is mountainous, red soil & scrub up high, then a level of pines lower down, then the shoreline is often lined with palm trees & either a red or white sand beach. Then, amazingly, there are little sandy islands dotted around and a barrier reef that's filled with nice coral and tropical fish! If you proceed up into the harbors where the mining villages are, the water gets murky, the red sand turns to mud that stains everything, but the mountains block the wind and its flat calm for great sleeping! There are birds chirping everywhere, for a real dawn chorus in the morning.
From New Caledonia 2014

The next day sun finally came out and Jon was so excited he put on bright yellow shorts & a yellow shirt so I called him Sunshine all day. We found a great anchorage at Nemou Island which was within easy dinghying distance from a long stretch of reef. Another interesting thing we've noticed is that the villages here are mining villages, not so much subsistence living. Therefore, you don't see much of any local boats out fishing. And no one appears to be birding by slingshot either- hence more birds. So... we went out on a lobstering expedition, for the first time this whole season! It was a group effort with Anne & I trying to spot lobsters and Mark & Jon doing the spearing. We got 5 between us and had plenty for several good meals which was a nice change. Saw a few good sized sharks on the reef too- nice to know there's a healthy balance here even if one was kind of scary- it was bigger than me.

A couple of days ago, we rounded the end of the big island which put us in the southern lagoon which is sort of famous for New Cal as it's one of the largest lagoons in the world. Dotted with many islands & numerous anchorages, it is really beautiful although we're finding that the water is once again really chilly and the clarity & quality of the snorkeling varies a lot from one spot to the next. We met up with friends on Gypsea Heart & have shared a couple of meals to get caught up. Jon owes Sandy big for loaning him a spare power supply for his computer and now I don't find him dozing in his corner of the settee since he's busy programming again. Sailing between islands has been good in the fish dept since we snagged a mackerel tuna & a walu (spanish mackerel) the other day and got both of them on board despite very shaky lure sets. We hadn't had this kind of tuna before- it cooks up kind of like steak and has similar color for that matter.

We're trying to enjoy what might be the last few days of relatively clear water, sand and reef in the lagoon since we are keeping an eye to the weather for a possible window to Australia. We're both getting sort of antsy to spend more time on land, preferably in parks that have good hiking and also to discover new things. A huge grocery store with everything imaginable would be a welcome change too. Our take on New Caledonia is that we've had some good times but overall, it isn't at the top of our list of must see places. We're not sure if the weather we've gotten is typical or not since some say it is, some say it isn't. But we can count the number of sunny days on our fingers. Aside from the fact that I haven't seen any mandarin fish, we have found some interesting diving. We loved the caves, tunnels, huge displays of healthy, varied corals and new nudibranchs. But it is spotty. At first, it seemed like the fact that New Cal is owned by France was a great thing since we thought there would be more prosperity but it's an odd situation really. It seems to us that the native Kanaks in this country are straddling two worlds and they fit in to neither. The true traditional lifestyle such as what is being led in Vanuatu (minus a few cell phones!) is gone but there aren't the resources or even the physical surroundings to go too far ahead. So we noticed some indifference on a few of our visits ashore, the villages have a lonely feel to them & aren't as pretty and the beer cans alongside the roads attest to something that probably isn't healthy. I never thought I would say that kava is better than beer but I actually do think that the ceremony around kava in Fiji & Vanuatu and the social aspects seem better than what we've seen here. As long as I don't have to drink it!
From New Caledonia 2014

Anyway, the mystery of New Cal has unfolded and the season is wrapping up. In a way, it feels like it just started. Part of the reason is we want more time in Australia to explore. I sure hope it meets our expectations. We've gotten some nice photos recently. Will upload them when I have better internet.
From New Caledonia 2014

From New Caledonia 2014
Vessel Name: EVERGREEN
Vessel Make/Model: Tashiba 40 Hull #158
Hailing Port: E. Thetford Vermont
Crew: Heather and Jon Turgeon
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 [...]