After nearly two and a half years stuck in Tasmania,
SV No Soucy returns home to New Caledonia.
Coffs Harbour, Australia to Noumea, New Caledonia
Ken & I sailed No Soucy from George Town in Tasmania to Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. Details of our trip and how No Soucy became stuck in Tasmania for so long can be found in this blog post
No Soucy’s owner, Martin Chilloux, flew from Noumea to join us in Coffs Harbour, and the three of us sailed her home to New Caledonia.
We left Coffs Harbour in the early hours of Wednesday, 18th May, and arrived in Noumea on Friday, 27th May.
Usually, Ken and I do not have the luxury of satellite phone communications and rely on weather forecasts before we leave and closely monitor the barometer for weather changes.
Martin could communicate with his brother, Alex, on this trip via satellite phone. Alex is a very experienced yachtsman who has delivered yachts worldwide. He spoke to us twice a day from his home in France, advising the best route to take advantage of currents, wind direction and wave height.
On the way, we took shelter in Middleton Reef, an atoll about 150 nm north of Lord Howe Island, for a few days. When we dropped anchor there, we were greeted by a massive bull shark. We didn’t swim there, not that it was very inviting with the strong winds. We were all cautious not to fall overboard as it would have been almost impossible to get back on board, even with a safety harness.
After two days of sheltering at the reef, Alex advised us to ‘go now’ as a more significant storm cell was approaching. Martin and Ken exchanged worried looks, pulled up the anchor, and we set off into strong winds and a choppy sea.
We managed to keep ahead of the storm. However, It was an exhausting trip. Thank goodness there were three of us to share the watches.
We were pleased to sail into the protection of the coral reef around New Caledonia in the early morning hours on Friday, 27th May 2022.
Exploring New Caledonia
We spent an idyllic couple of months in and around their island home. Martin and Gwen’s hospitality was outstanding.
To thank us for delivering No Soucy home to New Caledonia, they kindly let us use No Soucy to explore the islands. They also lent us a car to drive around on land and explore their fantastic island.
We used Google Maps to travel on land. One of the routes Martin wished us to travel on, Google Maps would not acknowledge as a through road because it crossed the river on a barge.
We enjoyed camping at a place called Kejaon near Poingam
Walking trails & Beaches
We met some great people when eating in the dining area at Kejaon. One group of young engineers told us about walking up Col D’Arama and gave us instructions to get there. They explained that the beginning of the walk was overgrown and challenging but worth pushing through because once you were on top of the ridge, the track improved.
We followed the track we thought was the start, only to have it disappear entirely when we were about twenty metres from the ridge. We decided to press on and clambered up the hill on all fours. A man was waiting to greet us when we pulled ourselves onto the ridge. He said, ‘you have just climbed the most difficult way you possibly could have.’ and pointed out another pathway that he and his family had come on. Oh well, we sure enjoyed our climb and felt fantastic when we eventually got to the top.
We went on many wonderful walks up mountains, into valleys and along beaches whilst in New Caledonia. When we were in Noumea, our wonderful hosts took us to places we probably would never have seen otherwise.
Exploring by sea
New Caledonia has the second-largest coral reef in the world. It completely circles the island and has more reefs inside the lagoon.
We had a wonderful time exploring many of the islands. The fishing was great. Excellent walks, hot springs and good snorkelling on the reefs. Whilst we were there, the temperature was around 28 degrees C every day.
Our friend Ian flew over to join us for a few weeks while sailing around New Caledonia. It was nice to repay him for running around for us whenever we sailed past Eden. See our blog sailing No Soucy from Tasmania to Coffs Harbour. During Covid, Ian distracted himself by learning French on Duolingo. It was fun for us to watch him to practice his linguistic skill in Noumea.
New Caledonia is a fantastic place. It is difficult to encapsulate how varied and different places are in this small blog post. We would recommend everyone put a visit here on their bucket list.
Thank you, Martin and Gwen, for allowing us to explore and experience your country thoroughly.