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New Caledonia

New Caledonia

  • Date Posted: Feb 6, 2019

New Caledonia, starts in Vancouver.

My new position at work changed our schedule to a  ‘6-weeks on – 6-weeks off’ routine.  (How this is going to affect our cruising is anyone’s guess??).  I had been travelling back-and-forth from Brunei to Auckland, for the last 6 months, though this time we decided to rendezvous in Vancouver.

Our last week in North Van was spent tearing around, tidying up our affairs with business, family & friends.  We always look forward to going back to the boat, but this time we were even more excited because we were finally making the push out of NZ and into warmer climes of New Caledonia!

Julie scored some great Airline seats.  We were flying from Vancouver to Auckland, –direct– for $700 USD, with Air New Zealand.  👍

 

 

passing the time at Vancouver Airport (YVR)

 

 

Packing up all our bags, the taxi to YVR, checking-in, going through Customs & security, boarding the aircraft – it was all going so perfect.  The seats turned out to be better than expected and the flight was like 3/5ths full.  There was room to spare everywhere, for everyone!  Julie and I had the 3 starboard seats to ourselves, and they’re the ones which fold down to form a bed, called a Sky-Couch.  This ain’t our first Rodeo, so no sooner had the seatbelt sign gone off, we had those seats transformed into our palatial berth, shoes off, blankets pulled up, drinks in hand, movie on.  14 hours of this for $700 USD?, man-o-man I pinched myself.

DING DING!
“Ah, folks this is your Captain speaking,,, we’re encountering a problem up here on the flight deck. Absolutely nothing to worry about of course, just that I would rather not continue the Journey like this, so I’m making a landing to get things put right.  Nearest landfall is Honolulu”

Damn!  I knew I should have let things ride,,, should not have pinched myself back into reality.  Julie’s headset is off now, asking what’s going on.
“They’re landing the plane” I said.

“What? When now? Why? Where?”  I have to admit I was quite impressed, she only missed out the “who” and she’d have nailed every question possible in one sentence.
“Apparently the Captain is not happy to continue the flight because his Radar is goosed and he knows there’s weather up ahead”
And so our plane banks to port with one of those big sweeping, pinned-to-your-seat, turns.  In 30 minutes we were on the Tarmac of Honolulu Airport.  An hour after that we are back in the air.

We go through the whole transformer thing again with our bed.  Roll of eyes at each other, but we’re on our way…again. We were perhaps 45 minutes into our movie when ‘DING DING DING’ announces the beginning of another message over the intercom system.
“this is the Flight Deck speaking,,,ah,, we’re still having issues up here, and with that weather ahead of us, I sure would like to see it.” –long pause– “I’m turning around, we’re heading back to Honolulu. Fasten your seat-belts, ETA 53 mins.”
Even INFINITY has two radars for God’s sake!!  I’m not sure whether I should be angry or mildly amused. I looked at Jay for clues.  She had the corners of her her mouth raised, we’re all good!  As we descend towards Honolulu, we get more information, and the Captains’ calling it quits. We’ll all try again tomorrow.

So it looks like an impromptu ‘mini-break’ in Hawaii will be forced upon us!  Not to worry, we’ll survive. 😜

 

 

Not a bad view from our Hotel room. I could get used to this!

 

 

Despite humping around 4 hockey-bag sized hold-alls, full of boat spares, plus all our personal gear, we decided to treat this as a Holiday and go with the flow.  It was almost one year ago that we were last on Hawaiian soil, and I realized I missed it.  Felt like my soul was home.

 

 

We spent most of the day on the beach. Perfect.

 

 

We have this wall area on INFINITY in our Salon which has been bare since we moved aboard.  We have been on the look out for something to adorn the space, and we found it.  3 Honu’s (Hawaiian symbol for good luck) made out of Hawaiian Koa.  Julie has had this special association with the Honu since our time spent in Hawaii in 2014/2015.  It was a great opportunity to take advantage of the unique set of circumstances which brought us here again.  Purchase made.

 

 

 

It did not take us long to get settled back onboard INFINITY, since it feels more like Home than any place else.  We like to leave the boat super clean, so our time coming back can be as enjoyable as possible.  We were immediately rewarded with the new carpets we had installed last trip;  I had actually forgotten.  Jay had the Honu’s up in no time, and they looked great!

 

 

Honu’s on the wall. I smile every time I walk pass them.  New carpets through out the boat too!

 

 

Operation “New Caledonia” was in motion. It took us a week to pull it all together.  (To do all our last minute shopping, say our final ‘good-byes’ to all our NZ friends, refuel INFINITY, return our rented car, and receive our travel-pack of Nespresso pods). Finally, we were good-to-go!

 

 

Saying our final Good-bye’s

 

 

,,,and we’re off! New Caledonia, here we come.

 

 

I wrote a few notes during the transit, and copied them here below; as follows:

 

June 09, 2018
1600:   Got away from the dock, no issues. Commenced Journey at 1600.
1900:   Weather turned very cold, have to wear sailing jacket, with a sweatshirt underneath. Feels great to be underway again, like a huge achievement has been accomplished.

Status:  61.5 miles / 57.9 gals. @ 0001. June 10th.
Position:  35 41.9 S / 174 42.7 E

 

 

June 10, 2018
1000:   Adjusted (tightened) stuffing box gland.  Emptied Head-tank
1400:   Tx fuel from mid tank – 145 gals
1500:   First 24 hours completed. Status below. Daytank now reading 260.

Status:  178.2 miles / 160 gals. @ 1600
Position:  34 11.89 S / 173 15.68 E

 

 

June 11, 2018
0300:   ER Check. All ok. Daytank 190 gals
0330:   wx still up. Uncomfortable, short seas, jerky movements onboard.
0400:   moon very bright this morning. luminous
1400:   turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day.
1645:   Seas still up, but smoother.
2200:   TX 140 gals from MID tank. WX indications on radar

Status:  350.2 miles / 320.7 gals. @ 1645
Position:  31 38.08 S / 171 50.27 E

 

 

June 12, 2018
0245:   ER checks OK.
0300:   passing squall, winds 27kts, very loud, lot’s of rain.
0500:   wx actually pleasant now, smooth, calm seas, light winds.
1100:   tx fuel, 140 gals. Daytank was 110
1140:   wx gone to shit, as forecasted. With us for 24 hours.
1800:   noticed fwd bilge pump running constantly, motor warm 🤔
1815:   decided to isolate the fwd thru-hulls, in case of siphoning effect

 

 

June 13, 2018
0145:   Tx140 gals fuel from MID. ER checks ok
0200:   checked fwd space for water. Seemed same.
0205:   opened up bilge bulkhead manifold in ER. Flow activated pump, then stopped.
0300:   aft bilge now cycling frequently
0530:   wx still rough, 28kts heavy seas.
1300:   woke up to calmer seas. Thank God.
1345:   aft bilge seems ok, no real gain in level. Aft bilge pump still runs continuous on auto
tx 120 gals fuel from Port tank.
2000:  wx moderated as forecasted. Using the ECMWF forecast, bang on for this transit.
2300:   ER checks ok. First signs of Stab belt deteriorating. Threads found on floor. 260 Nmtg.
2305:  tx fuel – 70 gals from Port Tank.

Status:  666.6 miles / 632.9 gals. @ 1620
Position:  26 57.5 S 169 00.5 E

 

 

 

 

June 14, 2018
0035:   tx filter getting clogged, currently tx’ing 70 gals per fill.
0217:   beautiful clear star filled night, spiritual.
1015:   Stab belt failed. Changed out for new one. ME hours: 9626
1045:   tx fuel from Port tank,
1100:   during belt change, noticed the hyd oil cooler pump coupling is loose! Will adjust.
1105:   during belt change, noticed the wing engine raw water pump is leaking. Will change out.
2115:   tx fuel from Port tank.

 

 

June 15, 2018
0255:   running water maker, and emptied heads.
0830:   passing through Dumbea Passe – Hello New Caledonia!

DIESEL
FWD 450:  full
MID 580:   tx 145, 140, 140, 140
PORT 680:   tx 120, 70, 70, 70
STBD 580:  tx fuel 70 gals from Port tank

 

 

Google-Earth plays a significant role in my pre-transit planning. I copy a few images to my Mac, and review them as we make our approach.

 

 

Our Marina is the middle one. Note how many boats are at anchor! Also note the small clear path leading to the dock. That’s where we are going.

 

 

Heading into the Port du Sud Marina – the very first sighting of our new domicile.

 

 

INFINITY all secure at her new Berth. 

 

 

Once we arrived, I made a phone call to our Agent, that I had prearranged from New Zealand. Chloë Morin is a special young lady, and we were fortunate to work with her.  We first heard of Chloë when we were in Tahiti, and the seed was planted that using an Agent may be the best way to enter certain countries.  The first (and only other time) we used an Agent, was in Fiji.  Both times, expensive but worth it, especially when there is a language barrier.

 

 

You can see Infinity berthed at the end of the pier

 

 

So, established in our new spot, we hit the Market.    Fresh fish is always good.  Jay grills our white fish with fresh ground sea-salt, black pepper and lime.  Simple, succulent, and superb.  Tonight, it’s fresh Dorado!

 

 

My fish favourites list;   Salmon, Ahi Tuna, & Mahi Mahi.   In that order.  👍

 

 

the local Markets are always interesting, and can be fun too

 

 

our bounty for the afternoon. (maybe I’ve been cruising too long, but it looks so luxuriant, vibrant & healthy – my mouth is watering!)

 

 

Wanting to explore a bit further, we took the scooter off the boat, and headed out to see what we cold see.  Some of you long-time readers may notice that one of our scooters is now red.  Well, there’s a story to that – one which I’ll cover later in the INFINITY maintenance page.  The Ocean finally had it’s way with one of them, so we replaced it with this newer one in New Zealand.  It’s pretty zippy, and gets the job done.  👍

 

 

Out & about, exploring the Island.

 

 

The Groupama Yacht Race was in full swing while we were in Noumea. The race takes place every two years, and Noumea comes alive with sailboats and yachts of all shapes & sizes. It’s absolutely fantastic. I personally love seeing the Trimarans fly!

 

 

 

 

 

The Pastries in New Caledonia are world famous, and I can attest that the reputation is not unwarranted. 😜  To counter the calories, we’d often go for walks along the shoreline.  This particular day, Jay and I walked for 8 1/2  enjoyable miles.

 

 

Boulevard along the shoreline, connecting a few of the Hotels in the area.

 

 

NOUMEA – AUGUST 7, 2019 – LIVING THE DREAM

 

 

Hotel Coffee & Pastry stop. I sat here for an hour, sipping superb coffee, soaking up the morning sun, and discussing cruising in New Cal with our good friend Jane.  (from M/Y ESPIRITU SANTO)

 

 

No rush — enjoy the moment

 

 

After a few weeks of getting to know Noumea, we decided to slip the lines and head to the south of the Island, to Ile des Pins.  We overnighted in a secluded cove (Anse Majic) mid transit, and rendezvoused with a couple of cruisers who we had met at Port du Sud, Noumea.

 

 

the evening upon us.   John & Kat’s self-built WHARRAM bathed in the universal splendour we shared that night

 

 

early morning coffee,  thanks of Gratitude come easy.

 

 

Chantal & James Fine — yours truly — John & Kat  —  totally chilled  —  enjoying each others’ company.

 

 

And onwards we press on, finally dropping anchor in Ile des pins.

 

Anchor set. Flopper-stoppers out. We’re all set for a week of bliss.

 

 

Beach walks are often a time for reflection.   Sometimes, it all works out.

 

 

 

 

You have a moment.  when you jump off the dinghy and your bare feet land on soft, pure white, powdery sand.  In the exact same instance, you become aware of the afternoon sun warming your shoulders, and your body gliding through the crystal-clear water – and you realize that everything is perfect with the world at this moment in time – as God intended.

 

 

Welcome to our new back-yard.

 

 

 

 

 

The Perfect time to get out the MINICAT!

 

 

 

We actually bought the Minicat in New Zealand but didn’t really have the weather for it.  Cue in some sunshine at Isle de Pins et Voila!  Julie and I had some great fun together, and I got my sailing fix!  It has turned out to be a great activity for the both of us.  No doubt the Minicat coverage will increase as we move on.  You can read more about the model we bought here.

 

 

Check out that cloud overhead!  Who cares, we got minicat!!  Just building, so no sail up yet & sadly very few photos this time.

 

 

Sailing is part of the Culture in New Caledonia.  I love it.

 

 

Always on the look-out for INFINITY.   Accessorize, accessorize.  😉

 

 

 

Back in Noumea – Who mentioned Pastries??
We were told by the local boaters that there was this one place you gotta try in town. Would have been rude not to investigate.

 

 

We made it.   And no, those two bags are not stuffed with pastries,,, this time.

 

 

Heaven’s cafeteria.  (what I imagine it to look like)  I’ll have two,,, of everything please!   😜

 

 

On the way back to the boat, we’d often go past this shop.  Disappointingly, we never did try one of these.  Perhaps the next time in New Cal – you are mine!   (I’m hoping they are sweet )

 

 

that fresh crap only lasts a few days.   Better stock up on the real McCoy! 😜 😜

 

 

Our last night out, we enjoyed another pleasant evening with Greg & Jane from the 30m M/Y ESPIRITU SANTO

 

 

 

 

Time & Tide wait for no man.   Lines cast off, we are on our way to Vanuatu!

 

 

 

As we press-on to Vanuatu, this my personal lasting memory of New Caledonia,,, sigh

 

 

 

 

 

    26 Comments

  1. Brilliant, it all looks and sounds amazing. The pictures are beautiful xx love to you both xx

    • Thanks Jayne! Happy Anniversary next week!

  2. Great to see you both looking so well and happy!

    • Thanks Anne, we think of you and Jim often! Remember Barra de Navidad? Wasn’t that fun!? 😎

  3. Your adventure is amazing. Keep the stories and pictures coming!

    • Thanks Dick. Vanuatu next! And then Australia,,, and then you’ll have us in real time!

  4. Andy, it is great to see you underway again and living the dream. I have been going through your website for the umpteenth time and was reading about Harley. You mentioned you would revisit the dog ownership in New Zealand. I am curious if you had this discussion and what the outcome was.

    • Hi Jonathon, Great to hear from you! Once we hit New Zealand, and certainly after living in the region for a while, we both understood that while we were cruising overseas, we would not get another Dog. You have no idea the emotion I feel just typing those words. Canada, America and Mexico all welcome Dogs in our experience, and often break the ice with fellow cruisers and even Customs Agents. The infrastructure is established. Cruising North America with a Dog is one of the most rewarding experiences a man can have. I hope that doesn’t make me sound weird. But Harley connected with anyone she came in contact with, especially me, and I so miss a Dog’s energy.
      However, during our travels overseas, we have met a few cruisers who have persevered with a Canine onboard but it was never straight forward, and I would not recommend it. Distant countries do not have the same regard for your Dog and the Rules and Regulations are severe. Penalties and Fines are crippling. Often Quarantines are mandated, and that is not fair on you, your partner or your Dog. When our cruising is complete, I shall welcome another Dog into our lives with open arms, and a yearning heart.

  5. Almost 10,000 hours on your beautiful 62. Love reading your detailed adventures.

    Jealous of your strong stomachs.

    Thanks

    Tom & Deana Felt
    N52/74

    • Hi Tom. Yes, our next rip on INFINITY will pass the 10,000-hour mark on our Lugger 6125A – Komatsu block. I get an almost spiritual feeling when I refer to that engine, she has done us proud. Your Nordhavn engine will do the same for you, not a doubt in my mind. Our next trip, we’ll be heading down the Eastern Australian coast to Coomera, to pull INFINITY out of the water and give her a nice coat paint on her hull. Lots of core exercise doing that 😉.

  6. Hi Julie and Andy,
    As always it was fantastic hearing all about your voyages and where you are getting to. How come you skipped Australia and went right up the East coast ?
    Do you plan on going to Aussie at all ?
    Certainly New Caledonia looks divine, those pristine waters just are calling to be jumped into and I bet they are warm too !!
    What are you plans for the next year or have you got any.
    Have you got any family members coming out to visit you two guys.
    You certainly look happy and I am so pleased for you both
    Big hugs
    Linda xxxx

    • Hi Linda! We did not skip Australia – INFINITY is in Australia right now! However, right this second, I’m working in India, and Jay is in Vancouver – and INFINITY is being looked after in Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands. We officially arrived in Australia on our 30th Anniversary – September 9th, 2018. In a few weeks, we’ll be back onboard, and we’ll take the boat down the East Coast, just south of Brisbane, to pull her out of the water and give her some love (might do the same to the boat too! no, that never gets old 😜)
      Our plans are made in sand, at low tide. Roughly speaking though, we’ll cruise up North to the Kimberleys, then into Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, & Thailand. May take a breath there. Inshallah.
      No family out recently, actually that all stopped once we hit Tahiti. Just Jay and I. She’s good company!

  7. Great story! Keep em coming!
    -Nick

    • You & Becky will be writing your own someday Nick,,, if I have anything to do with it!! 😉

  8. Thanks for sharing your adventures. I am soo looking forward to when my Admiral & I can do some serious cruising. In the mean time we are living vicariously through you posts. Safe travels!

    • Happy to have you along for the ride Scott. 👍 If you ever have any questions, or need advice on a boat, I’d be happy to help.

  9. Hello Andy and Julie. Just read your latest post. Sounds and looks fabulous! Best wishes for 2019- as your wondrous journey continues.It’s currently snowing here in North Vancouver. The snowdrops were poking their heads up and might be okay but the daffodil buds aren’t going to like this! Be well.

    • Hi Jude! Great to hear from you. That snow you speak of,,, not really a fan these days. The poor snowdrops & Daff’s will have to fend for themselves. Warms my heart to think of you guys though. Please give John a big hug from us. (& you too!)

  10. Thanks for the latest update. Looking forward to following your adventures across the top of Australia and then into Asia. We will be two years behind you, evaluating options between South Pacific and Asia. Will very much value reading about your experiences.

    • Hello Peter & Jenny, you are certainly most welcome. I’m particularly looking forward to that journey too. This week, the updates on our site have hit a wall – just too exhausted after work. However, once able, our time in Vanuatu will be next to post up, perhaps next week. I’m actually looking forward to the time when we are up-to-date, and I can post straight to the Home page, as we go!
      You are my inspiration – thanks! 😉

  11. It’s such an amazing thing to watch you two live your best life!! What beautiful memories you are making. Exploring is such a gift. Love you both. Ox
    Andrea & Mike

    • HI ANDREA!! What a lovely surprise to see you here! Thank you for your kind words. I have to agree with you, Exploring is indeed such a gift. In fact, your contribution here is more important than you will ever know. It’s allowed me rethink what we are doing in a favourable light, and opened up that overpowering feeling of Gratitude again. Cruising in the manner in which we are doing it, is difficult at best, and literally overwhelming at times. Balancing work, finances, family commitments, boat chores, health & Government Customs formalities is taxing on you – yet,,, so rewarding. Onwards we go!!

  12. Hi Andy sounds all so incrediable.

    Looks like my charter futures are shaping up between Alaska and La Paz for winters

    Sure miss you guys and our stories.

    Greg

  13. What can we say – wish we were there 🤗

  14. Enjoy reading your journey – makes me realize life is more about the journey and not the destination. You are my hero’s – do you think you will return to Hawaii ? After seeing where you are now – I don’t think Hawaii is anywhere as beautiful as where you have since you left.

    • Hi Gail, Indeed, it’s always about the Journey,,, and always has been. The Destination is the cherry on top! We certainly miss you and Hawaii, and yes we do intend to come back to Hawaii in the future. We simply love it there! ❤️ Even though we have visited many other exotic regions, we will always think of Hawaii as our second home. 🙂

Reply here,,, what are your thoughts?