It is hard to believe 3 weeks have drifted by. We are still at Isle des Pins at a beautiful beach called Baie Du Uameo half way down the western side of the island. It has been a lovely day with lots of sunshine. We were hoping to take the inside passage through the reef back to Kuto to catch up with Greg and Janie on Skedaddle and complete our circumnavigation of the island. However, the tide was wrong and sun was in the wrong position in relation to the tide, so we decided it was not worth the risk. This route has 29 waypoints over 7.5 Nm as it threads its way between the coral bommies and reefs back to Kuto. Not something we are prepared to tackle unless conditions are just right. We are very gratefull that we bought the official up to date cruising guide to New Caledonia at Port Moselle.

This guide has not only helped us with local navigation but enabled us to help our friends on Gypsy Lee who had a problem last evening when some locals came up to them just before dusk and in no uncertain terms required Gypsy Lee to move on from where they were anchored. This put Gypsy Lee in the stressful and dangerous situation of having to move through reef strewn waters with night approaching. From our guide I was able to give them accurate waypoints to guide them to a safe anchorage for the night.

This is the first problem we have encountered with the indigenous population. We believe it was just young people posturing with false authority, however, it was an intimidating experience for the master and crew of Gypsy Lee. On advice, a formal complaint will be registered with the local Gendarmes. Our experience to date with the native population has been very positive. They are friendly and obliging. We have hitch hiked to the Saturday market in Vao the last 2 weeks with no problem. Language is still an issue for us but we get by.

We have thoroughly enjoyed our cruising around Isle des Pins. After Lea's birthday we had a quiet day and I went over to Gypsy Lee to see if I could help to fix their generator. Tracked the problem down and all fixed. Next day we hitch hiked to the main town of the Island, Vao, to visit the Saturday market, hoping to restock with fresh vegies and fruit. Not much of a selection as we arrived late as we did not get a lift so walked the whole 7 km. I should say we were offered a lift early in the walk but the driver was off to Gadji in the north not Vao. The town was pretty and sported the usual church.

After doing our shopping and getting some local bananas ( look awful but taste great), corn (what we call maize and feed to cattle) we walked down to the waters edge and found this shrine

We got a ride back to Kuto and took the back road in under the avenue on covering trees
Kuto Bay was now glassy calm. Hard to believe we climbed that peak in the distance in a 2 hour round trip.

Off to spend a few days at Illot Brosse a few Nm away. Had a real Robinson Crusoe feel to have a deserted tropical Island to ourselves.

George and Ute on Miami came across the next afternoon to join us and came over for sundowners on GL.
GL sitting in a reef bound Lagoon just off Brosse.
South side of Island all reef, with little life other than crabs and sea snakes.
Afternoon BBQ on the beach with George and Ute.
As they say “its a tough life but someone has to do it”