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At anchor: Noumea, New Caledonia

September 3rd, 2011 · Comments Off on At anchor: Noumea, New Caledonia

Now in the centre of Noumea, New Caledonia in the Port Moselle Marina. Enjoying all the street activities linked with the Pacific Games. Caught a concert by Gulaan on Friday. Definitely local music origins but combined with western folk music try I think this is about what Mike Chapman would have sounded like if he had been born out here as a local Kanak. Lots of dancing in the street especially in the central part. Treated to a range of Polynesian dances and a martial art accompanied by local instruments. Martial art was non contact – you swing feet and arms bodies as close as you can to your partner without hitting them! This is the mid weekend so can expect more of the same.

We have a local mobile +687 908145 (note the country code is very similar to Vanuatu which was 678). Skype to mobile phone is 27p for first minute then 25p. [Read more →]

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At Sea: Best laid plans

August 30th, 2011 · Comments Off on At Sea: Best laid plans

We got back on board early afternoon on Monday to find what little wind there was blowing into the anchorage. Giselle was bobbling about irritatingly. Great opportunity to motor quickly down to Havannah Pass to get access to Noumea. Forecast was for very little wind from the normal SE trade wind direction. So what we got a couple of hours later was 20 knots from the South. The good news was that it slowed us enough so that rather than making 6 knots and arriving on the last of the flood we were nicely timed for the beginning of the next flood.

Views of New Caledonia at dawn were impressive. Indeed like the hills further north on the west coast of Scotland where there are few trees. The peaks all about the same height again like Scotland.

Should have a New Cal mobile phone by the end of the week. [Read more →]

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At Sea: Waxing and Waning

August 27th, 2011 · Comments Off on At Sea: Waxing and Waning

On route now to New Caledonia. Will probably stop at Lifou Island today. We need to have daylight and correct tide with us to enter Havannah pass on route for checking in at the capital of Noumea.

Weather has amused us. Big banks of clouds and then strong sunshine. 20-25 knots of wind for an hour or so and then 12 to 17 knots for the next few hours. Sometimes stronger wind coincides with cloud coverage. 1 knot of current from the west and then 1 knot from the SE. Keeps us on our toes.

Moon is certainly waning. Only just rose before sunrise at 5:30. Its crescent shape looks like a very comfortable hammock for the man in the moon to swing gently in – typical of the tropics and reflects the layback approach here!

Making excellent progress will have just the one night at sea.

We are told we might see whales. Some sightings by boats in Vanuatu.

It was sad saying goodbye to Vanuatu, we felt quite one of the family when we left. [Read more →]

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Petanque Player beware

July 26th, 2011 · 2 Comments

We anchored off Waterfall bay, Vanua Lava, Banks group. There is no road access here. The village and chief are very friendly, also anchored is a boat called Elenya with Tori and Jim aboard, we had managed to beat them at petanque in Luganville. So when the chief says you must ask for what ever you need and we will see what we can do. We replied tongue in cheek that we would like a place to play petanque. A moments hesitation then he offered an excellent area. So we enjoyed the return match with the Jim and Tori. Off course we had an audience, when finished we asked, “Would some of the boys like to have a go?” “They haven’t really played before.” Now it was our turn to watch, mmm haven’t played before? I don’t think so. By the end of the game, all the balls were so close that you could have covered them all with an A1 sized piece of paper! We were lucky we hadn’t challenged them. So useful tip of the day, don’t offer a wager if you challenge Waterfall bay to a game of petanque! I guess the daily practice of hunting, and using their sling helps with their hand eye coordination. But they were good, very good.

We are having some of the best cruising of the trip so far. [Read more →]

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At anchor: Ambae, Maewo, Pentecost and Ambrym, Vanuatu

July 7th, 2011 · Comments Off on At anchor: Ambae, Maewo, Pentecost and Ambrym, Vanuatu

Been on the move now for while doing a circuit of the central islands. Some excellent short sails and some good time ashore. We are now heading north to the Bank Islands [Read more →]

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New Hebrides but with no hint of Scotland

June 18th, 2011 · 3 Comments

Giselle is not the first sailing ship to arrive here, there are reports of a certain Captain Cook sailing in in 1774 and named the bay after his ship, Resolution.  Still today Port Resolution offers good anchorage for yachts

.  Tanna is Vanuatu’s second most popular island to visit, main reason, it has an active volcano [Read more →]

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At anchor: Peterson Bay (Oyster Island), Espiritu Santo

June 17th, 2011 · Comments Off on At anchor: Peterson Bay (Oyster Island), Espiritu Santo

So you haven’t heard from us for a few days, well the truth is we didn’t want to tap on the keypads incase we woke up this sleepy lagoon anchorage.

We arrived through a tricky little entrance, I mean tricky we had to eyeball the bommies and weave around them, even then we only had 0.4m under the keel, at almost high tide. The bommies are the coral heads that grow up from the sea floor and you really don’t want to hit.

We are almost completely surrounded by dense bush, coconut trees popping though the top canopy. Cows roam along the shore keeping close to the trees for shade, and the tide covers and uncovers the sandy bays. Our seaward island has a resort, eleven bungalows (that’s what they call the sheds with coconut palm leaf roofs) They have internet, cool drinks and we are allowed to walk around the island, and gaze out to sea. There is a river coming into the lagoon where if you paddle or slowly dinghy motor up you come to a blue hole, where the fresh water seems cold (relative) and the swimming is good.

We plan on leaving here today or is it tomorrow, for another island. Hope fully I’ll write a few words from there.

Mary [

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At anchor: Luganville, Espiritu Santo

June 3rd, 2011 · Comments Off on At anchor: Luganville, Espiritu Santo

Kirsty and Andrew left last Sunday. Plane actually took off a couple of minutes early. They are now in Indonesia.

We have stayed here in Luganville. Our first lazy time time since last November. We have snorkeled Million Dollar Point where the Americans dumped into the sea a huge amount of the equipment they had amassed at their war time base here in Luganville. My mother was here doing the same snorkel in the early 1980s when she was visiting a friend doing VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) I think he was a vet. I dived the President Coolidge yesterday. She was a full sized ocean liner that was being used as a troop ship. The communication failed to tell her that USA had mined the entrances to Espiritu Santo’s huge harbour and she hit two of the mines and was beached. Virtually no loss of life but a large loss of machinery.

Found the locals equivalent of a motorway cafe yesterday when out on a bike ride. It was beside a beach they use for boats over to the island of Aore just to the south of Espiritu Santo. Beer half tourist cafe prices – a full Kava menu and food served on parts of Banana leaves. Very Good.

Weather looks set to go back to normal after a week of light Westerly winds, overcast and a good bit of rain. [Read more →]

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At anchor: Lamen Bay, Epi, Vanuatu

May 21st, 2011 · 1 Comment

We have accelerated trade winds at the moment as there is a large high to the the south. The passage here from Mele just north of Port Villa was in 30-35 knots of wind just aft of the beam, so a quick passage. An awkward sea was running rather like the sea between the islands in the Caribbean. This bay is well sheltered though with just the occasional gust coming across the anchorage.

Swimming with Dougons is the potential highlight here so will be ashore soon to check it out. [Read more →]

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At anchor: Port Vila, Efate, Vanuatu

May 16th, 2011 · Comments Off on At anchor: Port Vila, Efate, Vanuatu

Visually it was like coming into Oban on a wet day when we entered the Port Vila bay yesterday. Temperatures a bit different with both Sea and air at 28°C. The Convective belt of clouds called the South Pacific Convergence zone has been close for the last few days giving overcast skies and rain. I’m sure your sympathies are with us! Its due to move away soon.

Yasur volcano on Tanna was awesome. We saw it on a quiet day still a dramatic firework display after dark with explosions and other worldly noises. The occasional wiff of sulphorous gas added to the atmosphere! [Read more →]

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