November 5, 2017

Back in the land of columnar pines!

Well not really cool, but certainly not as hot as it got in Vanuatu a few days before we sailed here to New Caledonia. Just before we left Vanuatu, we were having trouble sleeping because it was too warm. Last night, Cyndi got out the blanket! What a difference.

The 295 mile trip took us just over 2 days. Conditions were great, and while we mostly motored in light wind, we did get some nice periods where we were able to sail. The last four hours were a bit of a different story.

New Caledonia can be a difficult country to get into: not because of the customs paperwork or quarantine inspections, but because of the Havannah Pass. The huge lagoon fills and drains partly through this pass. We had almost five knots of current, reaching out to sea four miles.

We tried to time our arrival at the pass for slack water at low tide. We thought we’d have to kill about four hours to get the timing right. It turns out that we just kept motoring towards the pass and the current took care of the time we needed to kill. We got to the pass right at low tide but the current was still flowing out at three knots.

Anyway, it was worth all the effort to get through the pass and we’re really glad to be back in New Cal (though sad to have left Vanuatu). We’ll hang out here for a couple of weeks, get a little cruising in, and then sail to New Zealand for cyclone season. -Rich

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