Update: Puen and Noumea

September 27, 2010We have been in New Caledonia for a bit more than three weeks. After arriving in Noumea, we spent a week at the dock at Port Moselle. We then sailed out into the lagoon and spent 5 nights at Ilot Mbe Kouen, a place we also visited last year. We were joined by Mike and Lynn of “Wombat of Sydney”, who we first met in Bora-Bora three years ago, and by John and Shauna of the Australian vessel “Destiny V”, who we met just this year in Vanuatu, and by “Desire” with Ian and Emma, a young couple also from Oz.

We returned to Noumea last week to get some work done and to attend the 4th Melanesian Arts Festival. The Festival draws dancers and artists from all of the Melanesian countries — Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua-New Guinea, and New Caledonia. The dancing was varied and entertaining. At the festval, Laura fell in love with a necklace made from a nautilus shell, so she got a late birthday present. Both “Destiny V” and “Desire” then headed back to Australia, but the American catamaran “Gota Go” pulled into the berth next to us at Port Moselle, and Lei-Ellen and Paul have joined our little group. They and the Wombat’s and us will join up at the far north of New Caledonia in a few days time.

Sabbatical III left Noumea last Friday heading first to Ilot Moro for a night, and then to Ile Puen for two nights. Tonight we are at Ilot Tenia. The trip to Ile Puen was memorable as we were lucky enough to catch up with the Schall family, who were so hospitable to us last year. We hoped they were be at their weekend home on the island as it was the end of the two week school vacation period. Not only were Christophe, his wife Laurence, and their children Aurelien, Anthony, and Thibault there, so were Laurence’s sisters (Catherine and Mireielle) and their children and spouses, and parents, and Christophe parents (Joel and Michelle), plus assorted cousins and friends. It was a big party and we were invited. Food was cooked over an open fire. There was fried manioc and pumpkin, wahoo (tazar) battered and fried, huge quantities of barbecued venison, plus home grown salad. The venison came from a deer that Christophe shot on the island, which has many deer. Joel, Christophe’s father, is also a hunter and has hunted game in Africa on numerous occasions and has an apartment in Noumea full of trophies. Last year, Christophe and Luarence told us how much the family loves Nutella, a chocolate-hazelnut spread that is unavailable in New Caledonia. Remembering this, Laura and I brought them a large jar that we bought in Australia in May with them in mind. We will post photos
when we get internet access in Australia early in November.

The next morning many of the Schall family came out to Sabbatical III for a quick tour. In the afternoon, everyone got into their own small powerboats and headed off to home on the mainland leaving the island

We will hang out at Ilot Tenia for a few days waiting for the wind to come up for the 170 mile trip to Poum on the northwest tip of Grande Terre, the main island of New Caledonia. Ilot Tenia, which is uninhabited, has good snorkeling but lots of sea snakes, and has a nice beach for walking.


Added on Nov 14:  photo’s of the Schall family:  (click on photos to enlarge and see caption)

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