Formalities complete, we hot-footed it around the corner to an anchorage that Amanda and I have used a couple of times - Ile Uere. A nice spot with plenty of shelter from the wind, but some current flows through. We met the guy from a large powerboat and had a bit of a chat - we may well see him in Vanuatu or Fiji later on.
The debate was settled - we were going to the Ile of Pines. Next morning I got the boat moving at 6am, and we motorsailed towards Pass Nokoue on the southern end of Ile Ouen. The current was banging through there which made it a little exciting as we were swept towards the reefs!
We dropped hook at around 3pm in Kuto Bay and after a quick swim, headed ashore for a walk. We discussed plans for the next day and decided on a cycle ride rather than the hike up Pic N’ga (a 270m climb). I’ve done that hike before and its better with sun and blue skies - neither of which was on the cards for the next day. Cycling it was.
Next morning we put my bike in the dinghy and headed ashore. Slightly after the ferry had arrived, so we were a little concerned we may have mis-timed things. Fortunately not - and once we both had bikes, we set off towards Vao.
Vao was very small. We found the church next to the school but as school was just finishing, it was very busy. The shop was quite small too, but fortunately took cards as we had no francs on us (due to wanting to be rid of them as we were leaving)!
After Vao, and the pretty Bay of St Joseph, we headed out of the village and up the main road. Ania’s plan was an ambitious loop around the southern part of the island. I recall the receptionist at the hotel (where we hired Ania’s bike) said ‘monte monte monte’ for some of the route which worried me a bit! Gravity is not my friend when going uphill :)
We caught up with another couple, Cyril and Melanie from Brest, who had just finished some work-away in Australia and were now spending a few weeks on New Caledonia. We cycled alongside them for a while chatting, and stopped for them to look at sculptures whilst I had my sandwich. Soon after, we parted ways and we began our climb up and over the centre of the island. Truth is, it wasn’t too hard. We managed to cycle the whole way, then down the other side and back into Kuto. We think about 20kms, but my bum says more!
We had a coffee at the hotel, having checked they take card - only to discover they only take card for amounts of 10,000 francs. Great! Still, they accepted Ania’s card which was handy. I’d still be doing dishes otherwise.
Then back to Duplicat, as last rubbish run, then packing away the SUP, Ania’s surfboard etc ready for the next day departure for Fiji...
PS. Photos to follow, as underway with only satellite data for now...