2000 Nov 7-21: Isle of Pines, back to Noumea

November 7, 2000

We are joined in our anchorage at Oro by the sailing vessels Chimere from Melbourne, sailed by Steve and Carolyn and Quest from Auckland. Bill and Maryann Twidale did not arrive on their scheduled early evening flight from Noumea. Our friend the taxi driver Etienne patiently waited with Dorothy then returned her to the anchorage, promising to collect her the next morning to meet the 1100 flight.

November 8, 2000

Very happy to have arrived, Bill and Maryann were ready to come aboard Adagio and learn the ropes. After many years of cruising on their yacht Pelagic II, they will be excellent crew and friends for our passage to Australia. But first we were ready for more good times in NewCal.

Two Great Frigatebirds flew over the anchorage before dinner.

November 10, 2000

Steve had gone to Noumea for some parts. After a rainy day yesterday, Bill, Maryann and I were eager to get off the boat for some exploring ashore. Our prime destination was La Piscine Naturelle (the natural pool), about an hourπs walk from le Meridien hotel. We followed the dry sandy meandering stream bed to a large saltwater pool, surrounded by sandy beach on one side and rocky cliffs covered in magnificent tropical trees on the other side. A cluster of rocks not far from the beach had attracted a number of bathers, who were watching tropical fish swimming between the rocks in the shallows. Maryann led us along the shore, where anemones and their associated clown fish were practically under foot, close to shore. We slowly made our way to a large area of tidepools between the pool and the rocky shore exposed to the ocean. We had been fortunate to arrive at low tide, when access to the tidepools was best. At high tide, water flows from the open sea, through the tidepools into the pool. We spent several hours examining the colors and variety of the corals and anemones in the amazing tidepools.

November 11, 2000

To day we were eager to return to the piscine naturelle and show Steve what we had found the previous day. Tonight will be the full moon, and we arrived at the piscine as the tide was rising, so the tidepools were not quite as accessible as yesterday, but still beautiful, and it was interesting to see the water flowing in from the sea. We snorkeled in the piscine to see the many tropical reef fish which allowed us to approach them. The water was pleasantly warmer than in the open bay.

During the afternoon, Steve drove us in the dinghy through the channel between the several islands to the west of our anchorage. Bill and Maryanne who have visited most of the South Pacific Islands, said that this was the most pristine area they had ever visited. No houses, no trash, no pollution. Crystal clear water and white sandy bottom. Beautiful tropical fishes hovering above each coral head and patch of reef.

November 12, 2000

Cirrostratus clouds heralded a change in the weather so we departed Baie de Oro at 0900. We required sunshine to navigate the reef-strewn channel to make our way out of the bay. Yesterday Bill, Maryanne and Dorothy used the dinghy to explore the channel on the far side of the mushroom shaped island. We had watched several charter boats use this channel, and it seemed safer than the way we had come in. The view of the reefs for our morning departure was excellent. Our previous dayπs reconnaissance paid off in giving us the confidence that comes with knowing the locations of the deep water as well as the big coral heads.

The southeast tradewinds carried us quickly under cloudy skies to Prony Bay where we anchored in Rade du Nord-Est.

November 13, 2000

After an early departure and a 1000 arrival into Noumea, we anchored outside Port Moselle. After contacting the port captain, we were given a berth at the marina for a few days.

November 14, 2000

Steveπs birthday party guests included Bill and Claudie Sellers and Ed and Lynn Kerwin. Chockie muffies and kiwi ice accompanied our spirited conversations. Bill filled us in on the details of the Section 21 legal battles in New Zealand.

November 15, 200

Ed and Lynn aboard Constance departed Noumea this morning for Brisbane, Australia.

November 16, 2000

A tsunami alert was announced, but nothing unusual occurred.

November 17, 2000

The Cultural Centre in Noumea was another hilight of our visit. Built by the French to appease the local Kanak peoples, the architecture is stunning, soaring into the sky like bird wings or seashells. Displays of sculptures and artifacts filled the rooms. Several traditional Kanak ceremonial buildings were open for viewing on the grounds of the Centre.

November 18, 2000

At 1000 hours we departed Noumea for Baie de Prony. We entered the Woodin Canal from the west and set our anchor at 1700 hours in Baie de Ire on the north coast of Ile Ouen.

November 20, 2000

At 1000 hours we departed Baie de Ire and sailed under full main and reacher for Noumea, where we set our anchor in the Baie de LÏ€Orphelinat at 1400 hours. Bill and Maryanne are learning the ropes really quickly.

November 21, 200

Ed and Fran from Aka joined us for dinner. Ed had been invaluable to our boatbuilder in completing the construction of Adagio. He presented us with a wooden whaleπs tail that he had carved from some laminated timber from Adagioπs interior joinery.

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