11 - New Zealand to Australia
About half-way to Coff's Harbour, our destination on Australia's east coast. Very pleasant sailing these last couple of days, broad reaching under largely blue skies in a 15kn breeze. Sailed a little dog-leg yesterday to get out of some adverse current, and so far the detour seems to have paid off. About 160nm to go until we expect to hit the outskirts of the south setting Eastern Australian Current at about 157 eastern longitude. We hope to make it into port by Saturday morning before a brisk southerly wind sets in behind a west moving low/troff and in front of a following high.
Originally we thought New Caledonia would only be a relatively short stop-over for us, assuming we would leave for Australia soon after Nana's mother's visit at the beginning of October. Well, the weather hasn't been cooperating in terms of a stable window for the 850nm passage to Coffs Harbour and - so far - we're mighty glad about it. We get to go to all those beautiful spots in New Caledonia's lagoon that we otherwise would have missed. And we keep telling ourselves: much better to swim with the turtles than with the crocodiles...
We're on a mooring off Ilot Amedee, about 12nm south of Noumea at the outer reef. Ilot Amedee has New Caledonia's tallest light house at 53 meters and we enjoy watching it's beam sweep over us while we hear the surf breaking on the reef under a starry sky. The Amedee light house features prominently in Jimmy Buffet's "A Salty Piece of Land", a book we read during our 2007/2008 trip in the Caribbean. Nice to finally see it "in person" ;-)
As a good German I like my beer - a commodity that we loath to run low on aboard Namani. I have a preference for "hoppier" tasting pilseners and IPAs - flavors that are hard to come by among the beer brands available and affordable in the tropics. One learns to adjust and gets used to the local lagers but still yearns for a stronger taste from time to time.
We visited Caroline and her girls on Topaze this evening to say good-bye (Christophe is away on a trip to in Francey). Always a sad occasion but sweetened in this case by Clementine from Eol also visiting with her kids Mathieu and Lea. We had met Eol in Galapagos and were sad to part ways back then, assuming that due to our different schedules and itineraries our paths wouldn't cross again. Nice to find out that we were wrong! Makes us hope that we'll be proved wrong again when saying good-bye to les Topazes and les Eols this time ;-)
A quick hello from Ilot Mbe Kouen, a little motu 12nm WNW of Noumea, just inside the main island's outer reef. We've come here after Nanas mother left last week and after a very nice dinner with Caroline, Christoph and their girls aboard Topaze. We've had a very nice two weeks while Nana's mother visited, with some in-land excursions and a day trip to the Isle des Pins (we just can't get enough of it...). More on those excursions later, when we have an internet connection again and can post some pictures.