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 CafÃ©, 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 â€œMie Gorengâ€ 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 (â€œDuet IIâ€) 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 (â€œMiss Mollyâ€ 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.