Early morning found us approaching the south-east coast of New Caledonia. It was named thus by Captain James Cook, during his voyages of discovery because it reminded him of Scotland, at least the north-east coast did, (it doesn’t look much like Scotland here).
There are 2 ways of steaming to Noumea, one is to avoid the reefs and sail around them, or the other is go through them. I chose the latter, it is far shorter and thus save fuel. There are well-marked channels through the reef, added to which, we took a pilot, whose local knowledge assisted considerably. Below, there are 2 images from our electronic chart, they show our track, (red) and the reefs and channels.
Noumea wasn’t at all what I expected after our ‘island-hopping’. Here was a thriving and bustling town and very French. (There was a supermarket immediately opposite us and I managed to practice my Francais during the time I was there).
We were greeted on arrival by a troupe of local dancers, once more dressed to ‘kill’ and the port-side balconies and decks were packed with guests as Friso brought her in. (He leaves us in Sydney, so I’m giving him opportunities to notch up a few more ‘drives’)
At 6:15 in the morning, on the approach to the eastern end of the channel, it was a murky morning; low cloud and drizzle hung over the coast as we moved west, however the sun came out as we approached the entrance to Noumea harbour, as you can see from the photos. Later in the day though, it became dull and dreary once more, but the cloud kept the temperature down.
I must apologise for the lack of photos today, I just did not have the opportunity to venture out and photos of buildings are not exactly exciting. Possibly tomorrow, from the Iles des Pines, lying 100 miles away to our east and where we arrive tomorrow morning.