We cast off our lines at the Manly marina and were on our way to New Caledonia. Our previous trips have been restricted by time and we ended up fighting strong winds and large seas to the point where we joked that we never sailed with the wind - always against. This time we were waiting for the right weather window and after only a week’s delay set off in light south easterly winds. First though, we organised for Australian Border Patrol to come to the boat, go through our paperwork, stamp our passports and clear us out of Australia. After their visit we were allowed 24 hours to depart the country.
Geoff, our friend Steve Lock and I were finally on our way and the trip to Noumea was fabulous. After the first two days of perfect light weather sailing we awoke to glassy seas and no wind, motoring for a solid four and a half days until we arrived in Noumea. Before the trip Steve and I had made enough frozen meals for ten days in case of bad weather, but with the light wind, cooking was easy and we managed bacon and eggs on the barbeque one morning, roast chicken one night, sundowners with champagne one evening and sundowners with a lovely red wine (thanks Min) on another. On two days the water was so glassy we stopped the motor, took down the token sail and jumped into beautiful clear water two miles deep. Fearing the nightmare of the boat sailing off without us, we kept one person on the boat but there was no sign of it sailing off anyway.
We sailed past the Amadee lighthouse and into Noumea at 5pm on Thursday, leaving us time to check into Noumea on Friday before an unexpected three day long weekend. Checking into Noumea involved individual dinghy rides to complete the paperwork for Customs, Quarantine, Immigration and Port Control after which we celebrated with lunch at the Bout du Monde café at Port Moselle marina before going back to our anchorage for a night of uninterrupted sleep without the usual 2 hourly night watch system.