The next morning, I collected Ania and Anna from Prony Village, and after a second breakfast of pancakes onboard Duplicat (cooked by Ania - continuing the fine tradition of pancake cooking onboard the good ship Duplicat!), we opted for a hike around Ile Casy. Not before we saw the fleet of Hobbie Cats coming into the bay - which was very nice for Ania, as she used to race a Hobbie 16. Her former skipper is coming to stay with us once we reach Fiji - I will have to enforce the ‘no flying a hull’ rule!
Once ashore, we hiked up to the top of the island for some views. It was very similar terrain to the hike to the hot springs - red soil (which stains everything unbelievably well), and slippery under foot in places. The views were nice, but not spectacular. Las time I was here, I hiked up to Cap N’Dua which gave some spectacular views south.
We had lunch onboard, but as neither Ania or I were inspired by the pinnacle dive and it had got quite choppy, we opted to give the dive a miss. Instead, Anna was going to join us onboard for the night, and stay as we sailed around to Noumea. So we zipped over to Prony Village to get her stuff. It was a rather wet ride back to Duplicat in the chop!
After a bit of a relax, we headed off to Ile Ouen to anchor overnight. We had a very pleasant dinner of pumpkin and chickpea curry (inflicted on the girls by me!). Anna and Ania both tried to teach new card games, but the rules seemed to change all the time, so I was definitely struggling!
Next morning we headed towards Noumea, but ended up at Ile Maitre for the night. Anna stayed onboard a second night. We had a run ashore on the island which wasn’t very exciting - in fact it was nearly dead! Ania claimed that I only went places when there was no-one around. Amanda says the same thing about shops - but neither are true! Once back onboard, we had a very improvised, but tasty dinner.
This morning we headed into Noumea to do the formalities to leave New Caledonia. We had a brief walk around Noumea, and Anna bought us an early lunch which was very generous. She also helped me organising sail collection and the like as she had a local phone number. We hit the organic store (well, the girls did) and then the supermarket to provision for the crossing. Then we collected the repaired sail and said our goodbyes to Anna. She may be able to joins us on a leg in the future, which would be nice.
Next up was refuelling, now we had the all important ‘sans taxe’ certificate. We brimmed the tank and the jerry cans, and are ready to go.
The debate is about the weather. We could leave tomorrow and head direct to fiji with some motoring for the first day or so. Or we could head to the Isle of Pines for a day and leave on Thursday, still getting some SW winds for 12 hours or so, then southerly for another day before it goes SE (and possibly E as we reach Fiji). The later we leave, the bigger the swell bit it looks to be behind us, or at least some way aft - which is far more comfortable. We’ll decide later tonight - and you’ll see our decision based on where tomorrow’s pin drops on the map.....