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