Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Celebrating our arrival into New Caledonia

We spent a couple of days in Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia. After clearing in we caught up with the crew of Ambler II, an Australian boat that had departed at the same time as us from Vanuatu and we had sailed together in an informal convoy. It turns out that on-board Ambler II is a lady called Jo who Nicki had previously met in Tonga in 2001.

We had some yellow fin sashimi and and Mahi Mahi for dinner, joined also by Vincent (another friend of Nickis who lives in New Caledonia) and Ian (a long time friend of Nickis, Ian is an Irishman who lived in Wellington and has been living onboard his boat in New Caledonia for the past couple of years)

Vincent took us to his man cave/sail loft (which contained an envious array of toys…..), at the back of his cave was his brewery!

Vincent kindly shared some of his excellent home brew with us, paired with some Vanuatan "Tusker" beer, Irish and Scotch whiskey, plus a drop of port.
To demonstrate her cultural sensitivity, Jaime experienced TimTam slammers - this is where you bite opposing corners off your chocolate biscuit, suck your port through the biscuit and then eat the port laden biscuit.

Somebody must have told the French navy that we were coming to town and they sent a ship out to greet us!

The following day we loaded up on fresh baguettes, pain chocolate, croissants and a selection of french pastries from the local bakery - lots of the weight lost on passages now being regained….

Vanuatu to New Caledonia

Those following the tracker will have noticed that we've already arrived in New Caledonia but we've been having so much fun we've got a bit behind on blogging….

We'd been looking for a weather window to depart from Vanuatu, something with a little more Easterly in it than the usual South East trade winds, we saw a window but it meant leaving in winds of 30 knots plus. A rather lumpy and uncomfortable first 24 hours were followed by some lovely sailing and finally the wind dying out altogether as we passed the Loyalty Islands.
During the passage Tintin passed the 20,000 nautical mile reading on the log.
We had some good fishing with a couple of skipjack tuna, followed by a small yellow fin tuna and a nice Mahi Mahi shortly before we reached the main island of New Caledonia.

Richard out.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

The Moke V, by crewman Beau

Then the purple car beguiling, our countenance was surely smiling,

And the folk were all a grinning, in their Sunday best they wore, 

They cheered the Moke, and our hearts were woke, 

As children ran to the missing door, 

They slapped our hands and cheered some more, 

~ And our hearts were lifted, Evermore! 

The Moke IV, by crewman Beau

Richard uttered, stillness broken, his words of hunger then were spoken,

"My stomach aches for a weird and wonderful store!"

We urged the Moke to take us faster, risking temporal disaster, 

And swiftly into the town of Eton we bore, 

Cried Richard to the happy locals, "Serve me Lap Lap!" - and his belly the burden bore,

~ 'Tis OK and nothing more. 

The Moke III, by crewman Beau

Again within our purple steed, we circled Efate without want or need,

And a sign we spotted, "Blue Lagoon" were the words it bore,

Ah, a chance to dash, and in the water splash,

Like the sprites and pixies of ancient yore,

Where so many had gone before, 

~ We swam, and laughed, and nothing more.  

The Moke II, by crewman Beau

I quickly joined my traveling folk, and piled within the purple Moke,

Which thrilled me, filled me, with fantastic terrors never felt before,

We drove to the sea, and saw it beating, the water pounding and repeating,

'Tis the power of Mother Nature, writing her message upon the shore,

Some cryptic missive upon the shore,

~ This it is and nothing more.

The Moke I, by crewman Beau

Once upon a morning isle, as I daydreamed, Vanuatu style,

While many friendly, open souls wandered down the shore,

As I pondered, wide and woke, suddenly there came a Moke,

And it was gently revving, revving at my v-birth door,

"Some mad machine ," I muttered, "revving at my v-birth door",

~ Only this and nothing more.