Iles Loyaute (The Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia)

At the end of the last blog post Barry on his boat Twocan and I on Logic, had just arrived at Drueulu, on Lifou Island (the middle of the 3 Loyalty Island)We took Barry’s dingy ashore Coutume should be followed” which means we should go looking for the chief to give him a gift, to show our appreciation for the village letting us anchor off it. Unfortunately he was away in New Zealand.We were running low on fresh fruit and veg, there are no shops in Drueulu, the nearest ones was in We, on the other side of the island, 20miles was wedding season on the island, resulting in all the taxis and hire cars being fully booked, forcing Barry and I to have to hitchhike(going over, it was easy to get a ride, as most of the passing traffic was going that way, coming back was a different story, as few cars were going from We to Drueulu, resulting in an anxious, 15mins, until the youths we had asked directions from in Drueulu, earlier in the day, drove past and offered us a lift. The three guys in the back of the dual cab, vacated the back seats for the tray, for Barry and I).The weather forecast was light winds for the next week, ideal conditions to go to the upper Loyalty Island, Ouvea.

We left Drueulu at first light, to cover the 41 miles to Ouveathe wind complete disappeared for most of the journey until we came around the bottom of the islandOuvea is a 30mile long island of mostly sand, running along the eastern side of the Atoll D’Ouveawe anchored off a $500 a night, resortOn the way across the bay, I went past a feeding manta rayThe island was travel brochure “picture perfect”with the whitest, softest sandand a rustic restaurant, just in front of the anchorageA lovely Israeli couple , Amos and Anat, on another catermeran, joined Barry and my, alternating the evening meal cooking (which we have created a new work for, amalgamating our two names “a Frazza“)

Yacht repairs and maintenance, do not recognise amazing locations like this. Amos and I worked the winches as Barry, went up his mast.Barry and I hired a couple of bikes to explore the island

making the most of the photo opportunities

we went to church on Sunday

On a day of little wind we went to one of the small islands on the SWen edge of the Atoll, Ilse Gece (see the map above, for the locations)

The geography was spectacularideal for exploring the caves on a Stand Up Paddle board (SUP)or a kayak in Barry’s casethere will be probably be very few locations were I can frame an anchored Logic in the view from a caveWhen we were leaving Barry asked me, over the VHF, if I was reefing my mainsail, I said “no”, then noticed the rain squall, behind him, and changed my mind

We went back to Drueulu,.

On the way Barry caught a Frigate Mackerel (Little Tuna)A lovely red meat, that made for delicious sashimi and Barry cooked it to perfection on his BBQThe weather forecast was 1okt southerlies for a few days, so we decided to go around to Joking, on the northern side of Lifou (see the map at the start of the blog).

The cliff faces we sailed past were spectacular. The coral rock had big caves erosion carved into them, some with stalactites, hanging from their roofs, as the limestone had dissolved in the wet seasons and then crystalizes out.  

There was a lot of anchor entangling coral heads in the anchorage opposite the village, resulting in a lot of, motoring around, watching the depth sounder, for flat bottom, to drop the anchor. Downloading this google earth image, then, would have made it a lot easier. The chief’s hut was on top of cliff, accessed by a very steep ramp at the waters edgeBarry and I went ashore to do Coutume


 the cruising guide, wrote up the water clarity here as “unsurpassed

Barry and I got in a few snorkels, starting with the bombie, circled in the google earth

and some paddling along the cliffs

and boys being boys, we had to go into the grottos

and some more snorkeling

I sent some time snorkeling with a school of squidwhile Barry warmed his body in the sunmore paddlingand G&T sundownerstaking in the amazing anchorage scenery

But the cruising life “is not all beer and skittles“. Barry and I decided to add some expertise the other had, but we were deficient in, to our acquired knowledge.

Barry showed me how to reconditions the motor, salt water pumps…. on my 2 used, spare onesand I shared with him, my hard earned knowledge, on aligning his propeller shafts with the engines There was a blow forecast for the day after tomorrow, so we decided to leave The Loyalties for the Main Island, before it arrived.

Leaving at first light for the 63miles to Port BouquetIt was one of those magic sails, were we both were very happy, that we were Mumby catermeran owners.

10-15kts of wind, forward of the beam, in light seas had us doing 8-10kt of boat speed

the last time Barry and I had video of our boats under sail was our “Frazza” in Fiji last year

Here are a few more videos, of our Mumby Catermerans doing what Tim designed them to do

and then to cap off a very special day, I pulled in a nice size Spanish Mackerelbig enough for 7 decent size meals

the anchorage was of the high standard we have become use to in New Caledonia (and yet again deserted)a good yachty, friend told me, that I would eventually get sick of coconut palm fringed anchorages, but I feel that is still a few years away.

After paddling out a few hundred metres to dump the fish frame (so as not to attract any passing sharks to the anchorage), I paddled over to Baz’s boat for a beer

it is a full moonthe blow arrived the night after we arrived, the anchorage has good protection, but we were still getting gust of over 40kts. An ideal time to write up this blog, with the telco dongle, pulled up to the top of mast for reception.

Finally this blog is done and I can SUP ashore for a walk on the islandcrew update;- Brigitte is flying over from Oz, for August and Steve an Mena, have signed up for the passage out of the South Pacific in November.

So it you have the vacation time, September and October are still free, if you (or someone you know), will enhance my enjoyment of the cruising life, please get in contact,