We have spent the majority of our time here in New Cal’ around Ile des Pins (Isle of Pines). We may have had more foresight than we realized. Not only did we see a beautiful island but we did luck some reasonable weather.
We did enjoy Baie Kuto, visiting twice. The sand on this beach is very white and very fine, like powder. Great sunsets at Kuto too. A walk to the two local ‘stores’ for fresh baguettes was a must. Unfortunately, local produce was limited. We have been out of Noumea for over two weeks now and we are craving for some ‘greens’! We have had to resort to frozen peas and beans for a bit of colour. But I did find one of my favorite ‘Bonne Maman’ jams … marmalade for 375 francs. Even cheaper than home! (Perhaps that was due to it’s expiry date!) We have found prices are generally more expensive in New Cal with many items imported from Australia and New Zealand. The dearest item so far … a glass of wine at the Le Meridan resort … 1700 francs which equates to $20!!
We have also learnt from our time at Ile des Pins not to shop at lunch time. After a long walk carrying jerry cans to buy some essence (fuel) the guys found out the hard way. It was closed between 11.30 am and 2 pm. Leanne and I then walked on to the second store, closed for lunch as well! But, fuel has not been expensive at around 109 – 133 francs per litre (approx. $1.30 for diesel and $1.50 for petrol).
We had a great time in Gadji, well worth the nerves dodging the reef to get in there. A bay surrounded by small islands, sandy beaches and reef. We missed Baie Oro (where the Le Meridan resort is) this time, so it’s saved for our next visit.
The fishing and sailing has been great. I’ve caught a few fish, but Leanne from ET is the fishing queen at the moment. So much so, her reel has seized up. She “feels like her right arm has been chopped off”! She reeled in five fish to my none on our last leg. Fortunately, she is a sharer! We’ve had 15-20 knots many days, so no need to use fuel and quick trips in calm seas.
We have headed back towards Noumea via the southern lagoon, stopping the night at Mato reef and now Baie Ue. We have a few rally boats here so more fires on the beach. A dugong has been circling our boat today. It’s a calm protected spot with high nickel-mined hills surrounding the bay’s long sandy beach. We are staying out as long as we can, but eventually it will be the fresh fruit and veggies that will be dragging us back to the ‘one boat to every household’ Noumea.
I’ve barely mentioned that word … weather. The weather has been warm and even humid at times. We are always in shorts and t-shirts and we did luck some good weather early at Ile des Pins. But … generally it has been very ordinary. Windy, cloudy and showers many days. Which means we are chasing protected anchorages and not visiting the sandy reef and blue waters of the lagoon that we want to. We have snorkelled, but not much. I suppose this could all be happening on the east coast, where it is cold … so we are quite happy!
As I add this post to my blog … the sun is finally shining! Merci!!