Spending the night in Port Boise

June 19, 2010

We had an uneventful 6 hour sail to Port Boise, just outside Passe de Havannah. I was nice to be out in the sun and having the boat going again. This is a very pretty and protected anchorage.

We will leave here late in the morning (June 20)when the currents are favorable in the Passe. We expect to arrive in Port Vila, Vanuatu mid-morning on Tuesday, June 22 (local time).


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Leaving Noumea

June 18, 2010

We will leave Noumea tomorrow morning (Saturday, June 19) and start our passage to Vanuatu. We will either spend tomorrow night anchored out in Port Boise or Ile Ouen in the New Caledonia lagoon and head out of Passe de Havannah into the open ocean on Sunday morning, or just keep going tomorrow without a stop. We will see what the morning weather forecast brings. It is about 36 miles to Port Boise, and then 300 miles from there to Port Vila, Vanuatu, our destination.

Today is our 32nd wedding anniversary and we spent it in grand style. In the morning we went to Immigration, then Customs, and then the Port Captain, to do our check-out. Because it was still morning, the Port Captain was more sober than usual. We then proceeded to the Casino Johnston supermarket to get some last minutes things. We went to our favorite restaurant, Au Petite Café, for lunch and it was great as usual. In the afternoon, we took Sabbatical III to the fuel dock for 300 liters of duty-free diesel. Laura discovered bugs had infested our dried noodle cache, so we threw out much of our favorite Indonesian “Mie Goreng” packages and applied a healthy dose of Raid to the cabinet. At sunset, we sat at Au Bout de Monde, the bar/restaurant at the marina, and had our complimentary drinks. Now that a week of awful weather seems to be over, boats are leaving for other destinations. The Oyster 56 (“Duet II”) on one side of us left this afternoon for New Zealand, having come to New Caledonia only to avoid the payment of New Zealand tax. The Oyster 66 (“Miss Molly” from Newport, Rhode Island) on the other side of us is leaving Saturday morning for Australia with only crew aboard. We never expected to get to Vanuatu so late in the season, but the weather has been unusually bad in the southwest Pacific this winter, and we have responded accordingly. Our passage forecast looks good, with winds a bit light on Saturday (which is why we may anchor out in the lagoon Saturday night), and a bit strong on Monday night (which is one reason we may leave Saturday). At least the rain has ended, and there is the promise of some sun tomorrow. We will post our progress on this blog.


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Still in New Caledonia

We have been in New Caledonia for a bit over a week now, still at the dock in Noumea. Our engine repair is done – hopefully that won’t happen again and we are just waiting for the right weather conditions to head up to Vanuatu – a two day (and two night) sail from here. The weather has been cloudy and cool the past few days, but the limiting factor is the marine forecast which predicts strong winds (35 knots!) and big seas between here and Vanuatu for the next few days. We think we should be able to depart on Friday once the winds blow themselves out and the seas calm a bit.

We are meeting some new sailors– but most people are not heading up to Vanuatu right now. Lots of French boats on the dock, but also several from Australia and New Zealand. Also one from Nova Scotia, one from Sweden, one from Switzerland. The New Caledonians apparently like Americans because of the positive impact they had here during WWII. There is a memorial across the street from the marina with a tribute to the U.S.A. Coincidentally, the memorial is just across the street from a McDonalds which seems somewhat fitting. The city here is a mix of races and cultures – elegant, slim, well dressed white French people driving fancy cars, or walking their little dogs, young men with dreadlocks and Bob Marley t-shirts smoking marijuana and just hanging out, chubby Kanaks (the indigenous population of dark skinned Melanesians) with the women all wearing loose, cotton Mother Hubbard dresses, and tourists wearing shorts and gaudy shirts. Then, of course there are the sailors, most of them middle-aged or older – wearing worn cotton shirts and shorts and grubby sandals. The city is kind of decrepit, with some old French style architecture built 100 years ago, but never well maintained. There is a fancy part of town with a lovely boardwalk and lots of very chic restaurants that also has lovely beaches and is filled with windsurfers and walkers. Right near the marina is a terrific fruit and vegetable and seafood market which makes shopping quite easy.

So, we are just basically hanging out – Mark is working on his research and I have lots to read and plenty to do, but we are feeling anxious to get up to Vanuatu which is much more exotic and interesting.