Sunday, October 18, 2009

Island Life

As I write this we are getting ready to depart New Caledonia and sail to Bundaberg, Australia. The trip is just under 800 nautical miles and we should be there in six to seven days. We have spent the last few weeks cruising among the hundreds of anchorages north of Noumea. All were located inside the lagoon so they were beautifully calm with empty anchorages. As usual the photos don't do it justice. Bon Voyage!
Signal Island
Monkey on Signal Island
Island sunset
Beach BBQ
Dinner with Robyn's Nest and Big Fish Tenia Island Jump shots
Scholarship at anchor

Monday, October 05, 2009

Nouvelle Caledonie

After a two and half day passage from Vanuatu we arrived in Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia and home to about 150,000 people. New Caledonia is French, so it is quite different from the rest of Melanesia where we have spent the last five months since departing New Zealand. The French annexed New Caledonia in 1853 and like many other pacific islands, it became a penal colony. The Kanak people, who are the natives of New Caledonia fought several decades for independence, and it still seems to be a dream, but the French have been persistent in maintaining there interests here. New Caledonia is a huge source of nickel mining, so it seems that if the Kanaks ever gain their independence it won't be until France strips them of all their resources. History aside, as visitors Noumea does have all the positive characteristics of a French city. Lovely museums, fantastic food, wine and great shopping. We spent one week in the city in the Port Moselle marina. We ran into old friends and had a great time getting the lay of the land.

Baie de Citrons The Tjibaou Cultural Center
A traditional Kanak hut

A cuttlefish at the Noumea Aquarium
Tricot Raye or banded sea snake, more deadly than a cobra but not aggressive

Lobsters at Noumea's wonderful daily fish market Place de Cocotiers
Hanging out with Kris from Robyn's Nest
Philipe serves us some Kava

Kava bowls with our French friends and John and Kris from Robyn's Nest Mark gets one more round, yucko