Ile de Pins

"Grand terre" south - on the way to Ile de Pins

A typical sandbank here

A good old friend: cruise ship Celebrity Solstice. She was in a bay at Ile de Pins today (we sailed by). We have last seen her in Milford Sound (New Zealand) end of January this year. Before that we saw here in the Bay of Islands Jan 4th, 2014. In the right picutre you can see her leaving - she is under the raincloud. 

Another typical island = „Ilot"


Iles de Pins in the south east. Our current anchorage. White sandy bottom, thus not clear water, but very nice for swimming up and down. Definitely no sharks!

Yep, that's Alita in the background. That's where we are now. Alone. No other sailor with us. We played badminton and frisbee on the beach in the afternoon. 




Noumea, the capital city of New Caledonia with round about 100.000 people, is located on a peninsula, has a couple of lovely beaches and is close to mountains. Most French people live here, plus some Kanaks. Most of the Kanaks live in villages outside. In Noumea you find good restaurants, french supermarkets, a local market (which by far is not as good as the ones in Fiji or Tonga). I have not seen much from the city, but what I have seen was not special or beatiful, so I did not even take many pictures. I was more interested in the water side of the city. It has a remarkably big bay and thousands of boats in marinas, on moorings or at anchorage. It was hard to get an spot for over night (we anchored out for one night). The check-in procedure was quite easy. In the afternoon on the forst day (when we arrived) we went to customs and biosecurity. That took a total of 30 min. (including changing the office). Immigration is only open in the mornings so we came back next morning at 8am. 15 min later we were out of that office as well. Unfortunately as Europeans you don't get a stamp into your passport…Before immigration we stopped by the office of biosecurity again to bring them our remaining vegetables from Vanuatu (they will be burned) in a bag. With all that the check-in was completed. We have not been in a country where you are allowed off-board before you're completely checked in and biosecurity has checked the entire boat for insects since Argentina!

View to southern Noumea from the ocean



Entrance to the main bay of Noumea



I still don't get how these 3 things can be sold in shop, but I don't have to understand everything ;-)



The only building I liked





The green house



Central park





Quartier chinoise (Chinatown of Noumea = 5 shops)






Port Mouselle (we did not get a space here!)





Regatta in the harbour bay! They speeded through the anchor field, that was a bit scary



Lovely colours





Looking towards Noumea center from the bay



New Caldonia - Bonne Anse

We've been here only a couple of days but I already love New Caledonia. Blue water, white beaches, colourful country, french language (fun to talk again!), great baguettes and affordable cheese….and: playful dolphins. It happened on the way to Noumea. Dolphins stopped by to say hello. They seemed lovely and one started with fun and swan on bis back so that I could see his white belly. Then I remembered that my uncle keeps telling me I should have a ball for them to play with. I saw a line where I was standing and quickly knotted kind of a ball and held the line into the water. What came then absolutely amazed me. They started moving their heads with the line and repeatedly nodded to me. Thank god Marcus brought me my small camera so I filmed them while playing with those 2 cuties. I was in heaven and still am every time I see the movie. I can't believe it. In the meantime I have two prepared balls on deck in case they come back...

Here is a picture of Mt. Yasur leaving Vanuatu:

A view from the lighthouse in the national park at Bonne Anse: a typical picture for New Caldeonia. There are thousands of little islands with white sandy beaches and a reef around them. 

By the way: new Caledonia has the second largest Barriere Reef in the world. Over 1000 km long.  



I took a picture of an aerial picutre showing the southern part of „mainland" New Caledoniy. The first bay on the bottom is Bonne Anse. 



Marcus having fun





Colourful, red soil and a totally different vegetation in comparison to all other south sea islands. One can see that this part of the world once belonged to Australia, the red continent.















Haha, Marcus put a jacket on. It got cooler here in New Cal.






Safely arrived in Nuveaux Caledonie (New Caldedonia)

This morning just before sunrise we put the anchor down at Bonne Anse (Baie Est) on the south end of the main island of New Caldonia and gladly went to sleep after a beautiful sail over from Vanuatu. My last night shift, from 1am to 4 am this morning, was the most interesting one in a long time. I had to enter the "Canal du Havanna" which can be really mean but is very wide. Ok, that was not the real challange. But the current did change directions of Alita so I had to do a constant look out and look onto the map to make sure we're not hitting any of the multiple reefs here. I love communities, but I did not want to add to the reef-wreck comunity. Just when I thought everything is calm, I can sit down and read a bit I looked around and saw some big lights coming: a cruise ship was heading our way and I was exactly on the recommende ship track that the cruise ship most likely will also follow. So I decided to get off the track as we can go in shallower waters than the cruise ship with its 40m beam and 9m draft. Well, once he was arond the corner from he next red "traffic" light, he also went off the track a bit and we passed in a distance of about 150m/yards. Nice ship.
Here in New Caldonia they are quite friendly with checking in so that most sailors who arrive spend the first day at anchor somewhere to relax and then go to Noumea to check in. We will do the same. We spent the day at anchorage today, did a wonderful little hike to a spectacular look-out and we will continue our trip to Noumea tomorrow morning. You can see the French influence already without having sen a person: marked hiking paths, look-outs, observatories, information boards. You do not find this anywhere in Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu - and not even French Polynesia.
Off we go to sleep (again). I had (have) diarrea now (it showed up on the first night of the crossing so I did not have such a great time), I need lots of sleep....

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