New Caledonia in the sunshine
05 September 2014 | Baie de Kuto, Ile de Pins
Barbara - sun in a cloudless sky
We had a good time in Noumea and dinner at Chez Toto was fabulous. Very French and a proper celebration for Simon's 50th! Despite ongoing rain (rain for part/all of every day for the first 10 days we were here), we stocked up and left Noumea on 26th Aug. We discovered the problems with having an old guidebook as our first destination, Baie Ngo, was described as peaceful and pretty. It now has massive excavation works on both sides, two construction barges and a fish farm! Consequently, we had a peaceful night at Baie Uie, Ngo was a No No and Uie was a Oui! From there we spent 8 nights exploring the Bay de Prony. 4 nights at Baie de Carenage, where we explored the cascade, went for a few walks and made use of the almost hot pool. Our old guidebook told us to hunt around for the hot pool, so Simon dropped me ashore and looked from the water and I looked down boggy tracks. We were about to give up, when I followed a track, which led to a Japanese style hot pool, complete with little bridge, picnic table, and even it's own pontoon! We visited this a few times, our own private spa! It rained a lot while we were there, including all day one day, with low clouds swirling over the hills and made us think that New Caledonia was aptly named after its distant namesake!
From there, we went to visit Prony village, a historic village with signs telling of the hard life of exiled French prisoners. Glad it wasn't us! Some of the punishments were brutal and the work conditions didn't look much better! We also walked over the massive mining excavations, which dominate the landscape, the red mud sticking to our feet and shoes and now to the boat. The majority of the landscape has been clear felled at sometime and the red scarring left behind.
From there, a night at Ile Casy. Again, our guidebook talked of a hotel - thoughts of a French Bistro - however, the only inhabitant of the island nowadays is a dog, who came for a walk with us and said 'merci beaucoup' when we fed it some ham scraps and biscuits. It rained that night too and we felt so sorry for the dog, so gave it some left overs for breakfast before we left for Anse Majic. We picked up a mooring here and had a great walk to the lighthouse overlooking the Havannah Pass in the sunshine. There were ospreys circling the bay and it the bay lived up to its name. The next day, we headed for Ile Ouen, spending a good half hour in the company of a mum and babe humpback whale....an incredible priviledge and then, at last, caught a decent sized fish, a 5+kg tuna. We picked our way through the reefs to the anchorage, with no less than 6 ospreys circling overhead. We had a stunning sail to the Ile de Pins the next day, in hot sunshine - averaging 6.5 knts, with full sail. Due to the unusual wind direction (W/SW) the anchorage we chose was full of boats, including our friends Rita and Ulli from Anninad and John from Maristella (another Nelsonian).
This morning, the boys from the yacht which was opposite us in Noumea, delivered a fresh baguette, which set us up nicely for a walk up Pic Nga, the high point on the island, with stunning views of the lagoons and islands to explore and the reefs to avoid. Looking forward to spending about 10 days here, with the trade winds resuming and the sun shining down! Off to the market at Vao in the morning. It is a 6k walk and we were advised to be there early...and it starts at 6am, so off to bed early for us!!! We have been told that hitching is a possibility, but neither of us has hitched for many a year! I suspect we'll be walking!
New photos going up today! Check out album link on right of page.