Sunday, December 20, 2015

Truly Cruising in New Caledonia!

Sometimes he scares me to death: standing on the lifeline!
It seems that the passages between countries become the main focus of cruising. It is the hard work time. Passage making requires a lot of preparation: provisioning, making passage meals, weather routing, sail plan strategies, physical endurance, etc.

When sailing with the World ARC, we were more focused on passage making as there was a weather-driven schedule to reach the next scheduled stop. This is important on the World ARC as it is a 16-month sail around the world rally. And it is a wonderful event for those who want to do just that! I highly recommend it.

Lovely sunsets in Port Moselle Marina
We knew before leaving the USA that we wanted to spend more time in the South Pacific. It is work getting here so why not stay for a while? So we have and, in fact, we have stayed a year longer than planned as there is so much to see.

In fact, we should stay another year to really appreciate sailing and land cruising in Australia – but we aren’t going to do that. And then we could stay another year to see Indonesia … It is time to start moving toward home. And I am looking forward to having some time with the grandchildren who are all growing up so fast.
This year in Vanuatu, Tonga and New Caledonia we finally became real cruisers! By that I mean, just hanging out and enjoying wherever we were at the moment. With no sense of urgency to move on, it is easy to relax and appreciate the current location.

Anita at the Aquarium
It is easy to see why so many cruisers find themselves out here for years! Time means nothing and each day folds into the next. In fact, you never look at the calendar and frequently ask: what day is it?

We spent more time playing with friends, sharing sundowners or dinners on different boats, sightseeing, meeting the native people, etc. There is still much we will not see or do as you could stay out here for several years.

Of course, the Loyalty Islands of New Caledonia are my most favorite in the world so far and Ile des Pins is not far behind in the standings. And Noumea is one of my favorite cities. So New Caledonia ranks pretty high in my book.

Now add to that having fun people join you to crew! Anita and Glenn from Norway (although, he is Swedish) flew in to make the passage to New Caledonia with us. Since we had a few days in Noumea waiting for a package, we had time to play there.


Our visit to the Aquarium was terrific. The featured exhibit was coral so we saw beautiful coral in the tanks with the fish, sharks and turtles. This was one of the finest aquariums in the world.

We also had a lot of good laughs with Anita and Glenn. We decided we wanted pizza so we went to a pizza place a few blocks from the marina. It was Monday night. There was no pizza as they had just sold the last two to the table next to us! It was only 7 PM! What kind of a pizza place is that? So we left and went to the food trucks to pick up dinner.
However, before we left, the guys noticed a sign for fresh mussels and asked if they were available. No, not tonight as the sign (in French) apparently said “tomorrow.” Okay, we will go back for pizza and mussels on Tuesday.

Tuesday we went to the aquarium in another part of town and we saw an ad for a wood-fired pizza place. When we left the aquarium, we walked about a mile to find the place. It is now 4:45 PM and the place is not yet open. Okay, we can wait as they probably open at 5 or 6 PM. Then we ask someone who told us they don’t open until 7 PM!
Not your typical Italian pizza. This is France, remember?
No, we are not standing around here for two hours so we grabbed a cab back to the other place where we can have pizza and mussels! Well, the person who makes the pizza is not yet there so we order a cold drink to wait. And can we order mussels? Oh no, there were no mussels! But the sign says … Yes, it says tomorrow, but there are no mussels today – maybe tomorrow. Picture a French woman saying this!

Waiting for the pizza ...
The pizza lady showed up so we got our pizzas. They were okay, but I make better ones using tortillas on the stove! We had a good laugh about the whole pizza ordeal. In fact, the four of us did more laughing in our two weeks together than we have done in the last year. It was so much fun.

It made Lil' Caesars and Domino's look like gourmet pizzas!

And the funny thing is that we really did not know Anita and Glenn. We had met them on the World ARC where there were crewing on several other boats. Somehow I just knew we would make a good fit. It turned out to be the most fun passage yet and we miss them now that they have left Australia! I know we will be with them again somewhere in the world sometime.

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