Sailing New Caledonia with the honeymooners

Today November 25th, 2017. Sanuk is on the hard in Noumea, we are getting her ready for her yearly “cyclone sleep”. In the mean time we are staying in a nice hotel not far from the boat yard. We are almost done :-), the sails are down, a lot of little repairs are done or will be done while we are away, the cabinets and bilges are cleaned and the walls are wiped down with bleach and vinegar to prevent mold.We will leave on monday for Australia where we will travel for 2months with a campervan . End of January we will go to Vietnam and maybe end of February  to Myanmar…

We have free internet in the hotel so time to update our blog.

After 4 days of sailing (from Fiji) we arrived safe and sound in Noumea (New Caledonia). We did have a scare when about 2hrs before arriving our Autopilot gave up on us. Luckily we were almost there . We both were sooo happy it did not happen in the middle of our crossing. Luckily we found a mechanic(in Noumea) who found the problem in 30min. The next morning it was fixed with a new part. We stayed in the marina of Port Moselle to await our visitors, Hannah and Wence.

Hannah and Wence arrived from Tokya where they had stayed 5 days before arriving in Noumea Tontouta airport.
New Caledonia was discovered by James Cook (keeps amazing me) in 1774 in search of Terra Australis. He chose the name because the northeast (where he landed) reminded him of the highlands of Scotland.

New Caledonia consists of the main island :Grande Terre, the loyalty islands : Maré, Lifou and Ouvéa, the Isle of Pines, the Chesterfield islands and Belep. We sailed from Noumea, towards Isle of Pines then on to Maré, a stop in Tiga and to Lifou where Hannah and Wence took the plane back to Noumea and on to Belgium. We (the captain and I) continued sailing to Ouvéa, Yaté (Grande Terre), Bay of Prony, Ile Amedee and back to Noumea. Unlike many of the other islands we visited in the South Pacific, Grande Terre is NOT a vulcanic island but was a part of the supercontinent Gondwanaland. It is speculated that Grande Terre separated from Australia 66million years ago. The Loyalty islands and the Isle of Pines are vulcanic.

We rented a car for 2 days on Grande Terre and were able to see some of the interior.
Wood sculptures are part of Kanak tradition. The Kanaks are the original inhabitants of New Caledonia. They are Melanesian.
The Jean-Marie Tjibaou cultural Centre was built by the Italian architect Renzo Piano (also built Centre Pompidou). Tjibaou was the leader of the independence movement and assassinated in 1989.The widow of Tjibaou said the following about this building: We, the Kanaks, see it as a culmination of a long struggle for the recognition of our identity; on the French Government’s part it is a powerful gesture of restitution.In 2018 a referendum for independence will be held.
We walked in Le Parc des Grandes Fougères.
Amédée Lighthouse on our way to Isle of Pines. In 1862 the lighthouse was built in Paris as a demonstration. It was then (in 1864) disassembled and transported along the River Seine to Le Havre for its voyage to New Caledonia. With its 56metres tall it is one of the highest lighthouses in the world.
Kouare island, no humans only a colony of black noddy birds.
Enjoying the sun and sea on our trip to Isle of Pines.
Our first anchorage in Isle of Pines, beautiful Kuto Bay.
We walked to the highest point on Isle of Pines, Pic N’ga. The panorama view was gorgeaous.
The totems of Bay St.Maurice. Wood sculpture represents the spirit of Kanak culture.
We snorkeled on many spots and enjoyed the colorful underwater scenery.
A picasso triggerfish, one of my favourites!
Lots of fish…
coral and clams
Picknick on Lifou after a snorkeling session in Baie de Jinek. Unfortunately a cruise ship had just dropped many of its passengers in the same bay. The cruise tourists had to pay 10USD to snorkel, we got it for free 🙂
A traditional house in Lifou. They are more common in the Loyalty islands.
Luengoni beach  and lagoon on Lifou, according to locals the most beautiful beach of New Caledonia.
Luengoni beach on Lifou, a couple hours before it is time to take the plane back to Noumea and Brussels.