Back to the Open Sea

South Pacific Wednesday 28 April 22 degrees 18 minutes South 167 degrees 05 minutes East

Having concluded repairs etc in beautiful Noumea (well, actually, not that nice really, in fact, nobody enjoyed themselves AT ALL) we set off at around 6.30 this morning to refuel and head out.

Our course took us through the Havanah Pass, and consisted of spectacular coastal sailing. However, as you may have guessed, the wind was dead against us, and our tacking skills through the Woden Channel were finely honed. Bob was insisting that we could get close enough on several tacks to grab a coco nut from some of the trees.

At the time of writing this entry we have just cleared the Pass, the last stage of which required dealing with a 3 knot tidal flow against us. This was no longer an issue at this stage as our course, finally! made good use of the prevailing wind. Once clear of the Pass we were able to turn off the motor and we are now sailing through a perfect evening, with the wind on our beam, a full moon across a smooth sea with the gentle South Pacific swell, doing around 6 knots. Sailing has many faces.

Ah Noumea. it was great to visit. Unfortunately time did not allow more exploration. We arrived at around 11 pm, and found what we thought was the correct place to park. As we turned off the engine, a security guard approached us and, pooling all our French skills, we found we were in fact in the wrong spot. After consulting with his seniors it was decided that we could stay there the evening, but no one was to leave the boat.
Our friendly guard even agreed to venture out and buy us some take away food. This I will never forget. The take away was delicious, I had to help myself to, well, most of the left over rice dish, delicious, bad mistake.

The following day we were directed to our required parking spot, greeted by various officials, cleared all formalities, had a WONDERFUL shower, and heard, from Bob, the first suggestion of what was to become some serious concerns about the state of last nights dinner. Then Nick reported feeling less than perfect, myself, and Martin also a little precarious. Andy qualifies as our emergency anchor given the state of his cast iron stomach. I fear the rice may have been the culprit, as the next few hours were a new experience for myself in terms of how much perspiration, and err well, suffice to say feeling better afterwards never felt so good.

So much for our introduction to Noumea. We were able to source all required assistance with ease, and enjoyed the friendly nature of the place, which I will continue with in later entrees.

Andy has just cooked up a mild gale (no storms on board) for dinner, so, at this stage I can say, fair wind, calm seas and what a beautifully moon.

Bill Vrijens

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