On 16-Sep we sailed out of Noumea — planning to enjoy Isle des Pins for a few days, then counter-clockwise around the “big island” Grande Terre. It was a beautiful day but with the winds strengthening from the south we anchored for the evening in Baie Ire — on the north side of Ile Ouen (on the south side of Canal Woodin). We shared the anchorage with a French Navy ship, as well as a New Zealand mega motor yacht. Setting sun was golden on the hills, with birds singing in the trees on shore.
The next morning we set off at dawn for Isle des Pins. We ran into just the sort of short, sharp head seas that tend to discourage a lot of cruisers from visiting our favorite part of New Caledonia. We sailed past Pass de la Havanna, then when we reached Pass Sarcelle we decided it was time to start that circumnavigation right now!
When we turned to the east in the pass we immediately picked up a 2 knot favorable current. Flocks of thousands of black shearwaters all around ADAGIO as we sail up the east side of Grand Terre, towards our first anchorage at Yate. Within an hour we had shifted from making 3.5kn south to making 8kn to the north.
In four hours we dropped the hook in Yate Bay on the southeast corner of the island of Grande Terre. This is a popular anchorage for boats rounding the island, and we were the only boat there. Yate is well protected and peaceful.