Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Uncharted Territory

Lat 22 degrees 42.3 minutes S
Lon 167 degrees 48.7 minutes E

On Sunday morning, we left the peaceful Kuto Bay at Ile des Pins and sailed toward a waypoint in the Southern Lagoon. The waypoint was from our friends on Gypsea Heart. It was a clear, sunny day with a light breeze. We were able to sail most of the way with a little motor-sailing through some reefs. This area is marked"inadequately surveyed" on the charts, but there is plenty of info on them from the cruising guides of the area. We headed to a small island called " Ilot Ua" which is nestled in a reef strewn area. That means it is protected from the swells from most directions but the island is a low, white sand beached piece of land – not offering much protection from wind. The colors are magnificent when the sun is shining – white sandy beach, some green trees, and water of varying shades of blue depending on the depths. We anchored in about 10 meters of water on what seems like a nice sandy bottom though there are a fair amount of coral "bommies" around. We arrived to the anchorage at about 1530 and there were three boats here. Luckily, as we were dropping anchor for the second time (the first time we were to close to another boat), one of the boats left, so we had a good spot open up. We took their spot and settled in for the evening. It was a great sunset and Michael claims it was the best "green flash" we've ever seen in the Pacific. Barbara disagrees, but it was a mighty good one nonetheless.

This morning (Monday), we went ashore and Michael circum-ambulated the island. Barbara went as far as the trees would allow. The water was too deep for walking around and after seeing the sea snake move from the trees to the water, she "weannied" out and opted to go around the other way. Michael saw more sea snakes (good pictures will prove it next time we have internet), some hawks (his namesakes) along with lots and lots of small jellyfish known as "By-the-Wind Sailors" that were washing up on the beach. There are lots of sea birds nesting on the beach and they make quite a squawk when you go near the trees they call home.

It is a pretty spot and we learned from a catamaran anchored nearby that there is another "even better" island nearby which we may head to tomorrow...or not. The catamaran folks live in New Caledonia and pointed out some other good spots nearby.

It is pretty windy out and the noise gets tiresome, but it is comfortable and pretty. We are trying to go through much of our food supplies on board as we can't take much into New Zealand. It has also been fun and challenging to make meals from what's left in the cabinets. We left Noumea about a month ago and have only bought breads and a few vegetables since we've been out. We've eaten out once and scored several meals from that dining experience thanks to Jean Marc who gifted us with fish, lobster and lots of pumpkin (made a yummy pumpkin soup for lunch). We got four dinners and one lunch meal from the fish alone. We haven't had to resort to beans and rice yet (and we don't mind that!)

It will fun to hang out here for a few days and if we can get warm enough (and our wet suits on) we might even get in the water! The bottom of the boat needs some scrubbing and it looks like a few nice coral patches around. The water here is very clear.

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