Category Archives: New Caledonia

Cruising New Caledonia Part 2

We left the tranquillity of the Iles of Pines and headed back towards Noumea as the owners had to leave the boat in a few days. All around the main island of New Caledonia lays a reef, it is apparantly the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world (Belize also claims to have the 2nd largest barrier reef !). Sometimes only a few hundred meters offshore it can extend to over 20 nautical miles off shore. Within the reef lays numerous sandy islands just waiting for people to go and become Robinson Crusoe  for a day or so, it was these islands that we would explore on the way back.

Wind in our sails we were off again –

cruising new caledonia

The first island we stopped at was Kauore, it was recommended as a good place to stop as the anchorage was mostly sheltered but unfortunately the wind had changed slightly meaning it could have blown us back onto a reef, not a good place to stop for the night. Sadly also a shark attack had happened a couple of weeks before hand, a Frenchman had been swimming when a bull shark had bitten him more than once, a very rare incident but another good reason to move on !!

No habitants on Kauore Island –

kauore island shark attack

We moved onto the Island of Ua which gave us better protection from the wind and therefore a better anchorage for the night. The owner went snorkelling and me and the skipper took the dingy to the beach to explore.

No inhabitants other than the birds and turtles who sometimes come here to hatch. As we were walking around something caught my eye in the water, a fin was sticking up out the water with a black tip on it – a black tipped reef shark was prowling in the shalliw waters !! White tipped and black tipped reef sharks are harmless creatures normally laying on the bottom but as dusk was falling it was probably time to get active. It cruised up and down, probably a meter long it wasn’t going to do anybody any damage but we told the owner who was still snorkelling of its presence.

The sun started to settle so it was time to return to the boat –

cruising new caledonia

The next day we moved to the Island of Amedee, a natural marine reserve and a day trip destination for some coming from Noumea.

amedee island cruising new caledonia

amedee island new caledonia

Exposed reef at low tide –

amedee lighthouse new caledonia

cruising new caledonia


Wilson found on the island –


The place had a small cafe to grab a snack and drink, fortunately we were there when they did the ‘climb a coconut tree’ display and the ‘how to wear a sarong in a variety of different ways’ display, both very educational. When the day trippers departed so did the staff so we returned to the boat for sundowners and dinner before night fell. One thing we had noticed was how many small black tipped reef sharks congregated around the back of the boat, clearly use to boats coming in for the night they were hopeful for a few scraps.

We set off the next morning for our last stop before Noumea, the Island of Maitre. This was one of the closest islands to Noumea and therefore in easy reach of the capital city, because of this an expensive resort had been built there and the villas overlooking the sea were a few hundred dollars a night. The were planty of moorings outside so they clearly welcomed boats on a regular occurrence.

ilot maitre cruising new caledonia


ilot maitre cruising new caledonia

We had lunch in the resort and as we thought it might be a bit pricey I ordered just a ham sandwich –


The resort was a nice place and we had a couple of drinks near the pool in the afternoon.


It was a good last few days going to some out of the way places, seeing turtles, fish, sharks at close quarters, having  whole islands to ourselves and generally enjoying life !!

We returned to Noumea and enjoyed a Number 1 !!

Number 1


Cruising New Caledonia Part 1

After our arrival in Noumea we stayed in the marina in Port Moselle to sort out the normal formalities – quarantine, customs, immigration, celebratory drinks, water/fuel top up, boat repairs, etc, etc. Quarantine was done quickly with an officer arriving and removing some food items from the boat, we were told that if Customs didn’t arrive in 2-3 hours they never will, they didn’t, and we had to go and find the immigration office in town the next day as they closed at 11.30 a.m. prompt. New Caledonia gets top marks for being very relaxed regarding the procedures for checking in, one of the easiest and simplest I’ve ever come across !!

Noel who had assisted us in getting the boat from Brisbane to Noumea left the boat whilst one of the owners had arrived for their vacation around the islands of New Caledonia. We left Port Mosselle heading south east towards the Iles of Pines with a couple of stop offs on the way in some quiet bays.

Me seeing if there were any big rocks in the way –


Heading out with the rugged New Caledonian hills in the background –
cruising new caledonia

The para-sailor came out for a brief moment due to light winds but the angle wasn’t quite right so it was packed away again, impressive when its out though –

cruising new caledonia

We stopped off in a couple of anchorages on our way to the Iles Of Pines. Very peaceful, only 2-3 boats at  most with various walks that could be done along the shoreline or around the coast.

We stopped here in Somme Bay near Du Prony village for one night, one of only two neighbours that night –


We headed off to the Isles of Pines but unfortunately the wind had picked up a bit and changed direction slightly,  we now had 20-25 knot winds right on the nose. We could only motor into the winds making it slow and uncomfortable progress at times, even though we were inside a reef the waves still managed to increase in size. It was a solid 9 hour passage and we were pleased to get down into Kuto Bay, it was protected from the south east winds and there was minimal swell coming into the bay.

The next morning brought better weather and we were safely anchored with a few other boats in the bay –


The waters were turquoise and there appeared to be a couple of local turtles who were always nearby. The turtles were actually protected so I’m sure they enjoyed their time swimming around not being harassed by fishermen, that is apart from the once a year ceremony in which the locals are given permission to catch and kill one turtle, your odds are still quite good though aren’t they ?!

We went off to explore the nearby beaches and to see what was around –



The reason why its called the Iles of Pines, the pines here grow tall but very  narrow, probably due to the winds –



We went for a quick tour around the island provided by one of the few resorts, unfortunately the tour guide drove us to places, pointed, and then read his paper until we returned to the bus !!

This was the ruins of the old prison were the bad boys were kept, in fact the island at one time housed 3000 political prisioners, so this is where the bad boys of the bad boys stayed.



More bays and islands around the coastline –WP_002709



The guide failed to tell us what this was all about but it was surrounded by some nice wood carvings –




One of the islands grottos –WP_002727

It was time to leave the Iles of Pines as we needed to be back in Noumea in a few days time. We were set to travel up inside the main reef stopping at some deserted islands along the way………..