Sunday, November 22, 2015

Time for a Change of Scenery: Grande Terre

Sometimes he makes me nervous! I wonder if I could
actually get him back on the boat if he fell off?

After a relaxing time in the Loyalty Islands, especially Atol d’Ouvea, we all decided it was time to explore the eastern coast of Grande Terre. We had been advised that this probably would not be a pleasant way to go south due to the southeasterly winds, swells and current up the side of the main island.
However, the consensus was that the winds had shifted to the east and north east and it was a perfect time to head across to Passe De Toupeti and enter the barrier reef. We were sailing with S/V Chez Nous and S/Y Darramy again.

We would then day hop down inside the reef, exploring as we went. This turned out to be the right decision as the wind was supportive of our plan. It is so nice when Mother Nature agrees with us! It was a most enjoyable crossing over to the mainland and through the barrier reef pass.

This is quite a change from the Loyalty Islands.
Where's the beach!
We found a lovely anchorage at Ile Nemou (210 40.442’S, 1660 22.937’E). Obviously from the photo at the left, you can see that the terrain here is very different from the Loyalty Islands. We are on the east side of Grande Terre; in other words, on the windward side.

The earth on the mainland here is a rusty red and is mined for nickel. Unfortunately, it sticks to our shoes and makes a mess of the dinghy if we don't wash them off first. For now, it is okay because we are staying on a small islet with white sandy beaches.
The view of the landing from the boat.
This is a nature reserve area so you cannot fish or disturb anything, but you can go ashore to the beach. At first we thought it was someone’s private property. Eventually, we all decided to venture ashore to check it out as we had not seen any activity around the buildings or area. Once on shore, we read the signage about the reserve – in French, of course, but I could make out the meaning of most of it.

It was fine for us to be there. However, the surroundings looked like something else goes on here. I am not sure what it all means or if it is just a hoax to keep people away!
At first, we thought it was private and stayed off.
It looked like a place where black magic is alive and well. We were not sure about the “décor” of the area. The photos will tell the story and your imagination is free to enhance! We couldn’t figure it out.
Then we saw the sign!



A view of the beach. Since this is a ilot, there is no red dirt.
It is a lovely little sanctuary where everything is protected. However, I am not sure what goes on with the bonfire and the creatures hanging around it!

The swimming may have been fine here, but the temperature is a little too chilly. Spring is just beginning so the air has a little nip even though the sun is very warm. I stuck with wading in the water. Of course, shell collection is a no-no in a marine reserve.

A dinghy ride to Rocher Boise around the corner yielded itself to another adventure. It is a tiny island - the kind you want to see on the chart before you meet it in the dark!

We scoured the rocky and coral and shell covered land area for interesting specimen. Dennis found two dead starfish (although, I have been told that they are not fish and should be called sea stars) on the shore. They were well bleached and rigor mortise had set in so they were surely beyond saving.

After two nights here, we headed down the coast to find another interesting anchorage. We did not have any problems with the current or wind. In fact, the wind was so light that we motored and charged our batteries all the way to the next stop.
We took a pass on Baie de Kouakoue and continued on to Baie de Quinne. We were hoping to find a village and a store –for bread and more! At this point anything will do!
The beach (?) at Rocher Boise
It turned out to be a mining village and no activity. Of course, we arrived on a Saturday so it was probably closed for the weekend. That was probably a good thing since there is a huge buoy for the ore ships to come into collect their cargo. Their presence would not have been pleasant at all. Although a peaceful anchorage, it was not one worth spending another night. Other than the view of the mountains painted with red soil and green trees, it was a boring place.

Rocher Boise is not a place to stay.
Our friends on S/Y Celine from Gulf Harbour in New Zealand,  brought over some freshly caught tuna. Yachties frequently share fish since the critters are so big and yield a lot of flesh. If one has room in the freezer, some is frozen. Since it is so good fresh, it is nice to share.
At daylight, we all weighed anchor to move south again. The group plan was to go into Baie De Yate as there appears to be a village there. Although, the anchorage itself does not look keep enough for our comfort. It will be fine for the catamaran, but the monohulls need more water.
Rocher Boise looks better from afar! 
S/Y Darramy and S/V Chez Nous
Since we motor faster, we were in the lead. The wind was light and on the nose so motoring allowed us to charge the batteries at the same time. We pulled into Baie d’ Yates to check it out.

We did see the village, but there was a big swell and not much room on the leeward side so we did not want to leave the boat to go ashore. Our track shows we made a U-turn and came right back out pushing against the tide and trying to stay between the red and green markers at the edge of the narrow winding channel. Not a place for S/V Trillium!
Looking at the eastern shore of Grande Terre.
Having let the other two boats know we were moving on, we continued south to Cap Coronation and Baie de Tare. What a lovely find! It was tricky going in – another narrow and winding channel between huge reefs – but well worth it!

Most of the upper bay is uncharted so we stopped at the most interior anchorage suggested in the guide. This was a very comfortable location as the winds clocked around for a couple of days. We hardly felt the wind or the tidal flow. This was worth a couple of sleep-filled nights. Something one is always looking to have. We seem to wake up between 0530 -0630 every day and we tend to stay up relatively late. So a couple of good snoozes are wonderful!

This is the sport of fishing underway. A balancing act!
Time to move again. This time we are heading down to the southern end of Grand Terre to De Goro Port. Although not protected by any land on the east and south sides, we are inside a reef. In fact, we are several miles inside a reef that is marked by a lighthouse at the entrance. Again a narrow path between the reefs, but very comfortable once we got well in to the furthest anchorage.
A tricky passage between reefs to a good anchorage.  
You must stay right on the waypoints or be sorry!
There appears to be a village there, so Dennis took the dinghy ashore to check it out. In search of bread, of course! I think he is tired of rice cakes and crackers, tortilla wraps and wheat crackers. Toast with his eggs are probably the motivator. And he is now a fan of Vegemite! Some of you know what this is. It stinks! I think it is one of those “either you like it or you don’t” foods with no in between.

Unfortunately, there is no store there. He managed to communicate that he was looking for one and how could he get to one. But the answer was: Il n’y en a pas. And then the hand signal that it is a long way from here appeared again! No bread – again. So the search goes on… I think I am going to have to give in and learn to make bread.

It is a beautiful contrast of red and green everywhere you look.

There was a beautiful full rainbow. I couldn't get it all in one shot because it was so close! We have seen this a number of times. It happens on the water where no land hides one end or the other.
S/V Trillium
After we all took a dinghy ride to see the river and waterfall, we beached the dinghies and walked up someone’s driveway and across the road to take photos. It was a lovely waterfall and vantage point. 

Not the biggest we have seen, but lovely.
Another couple joined us and Brian began a conversation in French with them. Back out on the road, we continued the conversation with the man with whom they were traveling. He was delightful and had a long French conversation with Brian regarding the lack of stores anywhere near here. In fact, he told us we wouldn’t be finding any stores at the next few stops and it would be surprising if we find much in Ile des Pins! Of course, that is where we are heading and we all want some fresh fruits and vegetable – and bread!
Dennis was picking up trash at the waterfall.
No stores! Oui, Madame!
Our passage inside the barrier reef was pleasant.


No comments:

Post a Comment

We would love to hear from you here. You can see earlier posts at