Well we sailed or I should say we motored sailed our way south from Noumea. The plan was to sail to the south Island of Island of Pine but the wind was blow 30 knotes right on our nose making forward progress incredibly slow. We realized that we had no chance to make it to Island of Pine and should anchor in Prony Bay out of the swells and wind. We arrived at night and used our electronic charts and visual navigation to slowly work our way into the protected anchorage. We lucked out with a mooring waiting for us to tie too. The wind sure was hollowing that night on the mooring, our wind generator was making 20 plus amps all night.
We started out early in the morning and head out to sea around 7 am to make sure we had enough time to make the 40 nautical mile trip to Island of Pines. The wind once again was right on our nose but as we motor sailed further out to sea the swells grew to 2 meters with breaking waves. The wind was blowing a steady 32 knotes and to make things worse the current was against us. It took 2 hours to go 1.75 nautical miles and at that point I call the passage off. I figured at this speed of 2 knotes we would be getting to Island of Pine by mid night. That is a very dangerous situation because to get into the anchor you have to go through reefs and coral heads. Many boats have been lost trying to make night landings here and all over the pacific. So I used common sense and turned around. Now with a 30 plus tall wind, 2 meter swells and a postage stamp for a sail I was moving at an easy 8 knots. At one point I surfed down a wave hitting 14.5 knots and asked for the sail to be trim even more. Being over powered like we were I ran the chance of rounding up or pitch poling aka rolling the boat over down a wave. It was a fun filled 3 hours and the adrenaline was beginning to pour out my ears. We finally pulled in and tied up to the same mooring. We have been sitting here for two days now and the wind is still blowing 30 knots. We have been hiking around the area ashore discovering lighthouses and hiking trails having fun. But I am going nuts just sitting in one place but its better then smashing through waves all day to then heave too at sea till dawn in 2 meter swells. I guess its smart to take a step back then walk off the cliff in a hurry.
Well it’s time to leave the main city Noumea in New Caledonia and head to the island of Pines. It is south of the main island of NC but still a territory of New Calediona. The island is full of caves, birds, coral reef, and many local native that can take you out in outrigger conoe to see the wonders within. should be a good time and then we will travels to the Loyaute Island Mare to do some scuba diving. Then off to Vanuatu Island to see the activity valcanos. I will be out of wifi service but will post via SSB radio to share updates and events.
Well see you later!
Cary and I arrived from Nuome New Caledonia via my dad driving us with a rental car to the GR1 French hiking trail. We tried to take the bus the day before and waited three hours to find out that the bus was not coming today. So instead of waiting around a second day we had my dad drive us to the trail head on the south end of New Caledonia to a town called Prony. Prony is a very small town that once was a large logging operation. The logging supported by the labor of the french convicts.
We hiked 3km to the road and then began our 50km hike back to the Noumea city. After 2 hours of thumbing for a ride a nice man on a bus stopped and picked us up. It was a bus for the mine workers that was heading back to Nomea city. They drove us all the way to the port and we got off. I was happy and very tried, but it felt good to at least complete half the trip and put 60 pr 70 K’s under our belt.
Well the wind forecast for sailing is very weak. So instead of sitting around the boat fixing things as always Cary and I will go off on a 80km hike for 3 or 5 days. We will get to see the New Caledonia outback and hopefully get to see some cool things. That said I will not post on the blog for a few days.
We are also getting one of our winches re-machined so it will work better. I guess all the sailing and heavy weather bent the winch plate if you can believe that but we did. My dad and a nice French man is working it out.
The old maintanece company that maintain the boat had used 5200 glue on all the bolts so it took us two days to remove the winch. All I can say is that is stupid, stupid, stupid!
We ate fish for dinner, breakfast, lunch, and then repeated the same for four days but cooked different each time.
Apron our arrival at the outside reef that sits 6 nautical miles off the New Caledonia main land we approached the Petite Passé to the Port Noumea, Baie de la Moselle. As we approach so did the French Navy in a helicopter with a diver hanging for it.
At first I was a bit worried that we may have done something wrong but it was just the French being French, I love this place. So we made a great entrance off the Pacific to the marine and sat down to t #one beer! Oui, Oui!
Desending down to 84 feet to go through a old French navy ship 150 feet long. I saw no guns but did see the 50 cal. Shields. It was very cool to see the ship come into view as we desended down onto its deck.
This ship was sunk by the navy to make more habitats for reef fish. But all the same it was fun to dive on. On our way to the ship there was old canon shells on the bottom of the reef that had not exploded but were not dangerous to be near.
Ok lets go inside!
We entered the port side of the main deck where we went down inside to the dinning hall. DJ my dive master had me sit down for a picture. We then went toward the after of ship through a long hallway.
I looked right and left into the kitchen, watch stations, and berths and out onto the stern sub level deck.
Me Clowning around in the pilot house of the Navy Ship. Always the captain above or below, lol!
As I mentioned in my last blog I went on a deep dive to find the Gray and White tip sharks. The dive was short but to a new depth for me, 150 feet. I found out from this dive a lot about my limits and how to handle the effects of nitrogen narcosis and to make the dive more complex secondary regulator air leak. As you will watch in the film above you can see the white chum/food floating all around me and the other divers. Then from the dark blue sharks emerge all around us and circle chumping at the food. Some coming right at you like a rocket and then wave off. I was at 163 feet when the sharks appeared and I tried my best to keep them in the shot. After about 2 minutes my secondary regulator began exhausting mass amounts of air and when I looked at my air gauge it was bouncing. Towards the end of the clip you can hear screaming which I found out later was my dive master freaking out over the sharks and taking pictures. You can hear my breathing over his screams. So lets just say all hell was breaking lose for me. So I stopped, closed my eye and the world was spinning behind my eye lids, ok don’t close your eyes. I then focused on my dive watch “depth 154, 156, 157, 160, 163 feet” shit I am going down not up. At that depth I could feel the effects of nitrogen narcosis and new I had to go up slowly to stop the crushing feeling of the weight of water around me. My chest felt like it had a car on it. I knew I had lots of air and I just had to go up slowly and breath. I got a few odd looks from others as I began to rise up to 100 feet but it felt like a release of adrenaline into my blood stream. Everything stopped except my exhausting regulator which was just dumping my remaining air. O well looking at about 1000 psi left after 10 minutes of diving, wow new record on emptying my tank. Up I go and do my decompression stop and surface with a new respect for everything. But after this event I had a great time and big thanks to the dive team and Master!