September 20, 2008
We are anchored in the Baie de Doking on Lifou Island, about 40 miles east-southeast of Ouvea. We left Ouvea a bit earlier than we had planned to take advantage of a brief weather window to make a passage to the east. Otherwise we may have had to remain in Ouvea for another week. That would not be a hardship, but time is getting short.
On Tuesday, September 16 the village at Ile Mouli, the island off which we were anchored in Ouvea, hosted a big feast for the Island Cruising Association (ICA) fleet as well as the fleet of the Cercle Nautique Caledonien (CNC). The Cercle Nautique Caledonien is the yacht club of New Caledonia which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this month. Fourteen CNC sailboats came out to celebrate their anniversary and made the ICA boats honorary members of the CNC for the year. We all got CNC shirts and an invitation to their grand fete in Noumea at the end of the month. The food was good and plentiful. After lunch, the CNC members led us all in singing “Alouette” and then the ICA sang some Kiwi (New Zealand) songs in Maori since the ICA is based in NZ and most of the membership are Kiwis.
Our Belgian friends Roger and Lucy on Catamini corrected Laura’s French pronounciation of Ile de Pines prior to her conversing with the French-speaking CNC members. Laura’s pronounciation was “Ile de Peen” which means “island of ‘coarse word for penis'”. The correct pronounciation is “Ile de Pahn” as in the French word “pain” for bread. Roger took delight in constantly reminding Laura of her earlier mispronounciation.
Wednesday we did a tour. utilizing every van and mini-bus on Ouvea. There is not much to see on Ouvea. One of the highlights was to be the coconut oil distillery, but it was closed. As in many places we visit, the best views are from our own boat, in this case, we had a view of 20 miles of white sand beach and azure water. The CNC boats left Wednesday morning, and the ICA boats, now no longer a fleet, all dispersed by yesterday. However, five ICA boats are will us in Dokin, including our American friends on Tackless II.
The yellowfin tuna I caught coming into the pass at Ouvea turns out to be one of the best tasting fish we have ever caught. We gave some to our English friends Jackie and Brian on Songster, as well as to Gwen and Don on Tackless II, and they loved it.
We will hang out in Lifou for a few days before making the passage to Ile de Pines, to the east of Grande Terre, the main island of New Caledonia.