|Baie De L,Orphelinat Anchorage|
We arrived in the Baie De L’Orphelinat and dropped the anchor outside the other moored and anchored boats and as instructed by Customs stayed on board for the rest of the day. The relevant offices closed at 11.30am so we could not check in till Thursday. We didn’t mind as after our strenuous sail from Aus we needed some down time.
Next morning we set off to do the official business of checking in and dinghied to a marina on the south side of the bay where we were directed to Port Du Sud Marina to look for the Capitainerie (Harbourmaster, Marc) who would complete some of the process with us. We filled out forms for Customs, Immigration and Quarantine which took some time and cost $50 Aud. We also organised with Marc to rent space for docking the dinghy for two weeks (about $100 p/w) as there appeared to be nowhere to park her. The only dinghy docks are in Port Moselle and here, and both are pay docks. The waterfront around this harbour is lined with rock walls and we have been told to be very careful where we leave the dinghy. So, we paid up and it has been very convenient and also gives us a key for the showers and laundry.
After completing business with Mark, Peter had to meet the Quarantine official and take him out to inspect the boat. He took all our fresh food, not much, because we had eaten most of it. It was raining hard, but luckily the Quarantine man was young and didn’t appear to mind his journey in the rain. Meanwhile Audrey and I decided if we got a taxi we could make the Customs in the centre of town before they closed at 11.30 am. We must have just made it and finally all the official business was done.
The rain was still coming down steadily as we walked back to Port Du Sud. I started out with an umbrella, but soon discarded it as no-one here takes any notice of the rain and goes on as if the day is fine and sunny. I didn’t want to look out of place so the brolly went in the bag and I joined the locals in the rain. Aud and I found our way back to the marina without much effort and then joined Peter for lunch at the Le Bintz restaurant where we had curried prawns and fish. We had earned it!! Le Bintz is rated as one of the top 10 in Noumea. We go there every day for drinks or coffee and to make use of Alex’s Wi-Fi.
We are still anchored in Baie De L’Orphelinat because the weather for the first nine days ranged from windy to very windy, from the SE (trade winds), with intermittent rain showers. There was no reason to leave our cosy anchorage as we had Noumea to explore. We have walked around most of this city and explored the harbour, Port Moselle, the city centre, markets, the cathedral, war memorials and resort beaches in the Baie des Citrons. We even walked around to the north-west side of the Port Moselle Harbour to the chandleries. Lucky Aud and I. That was Peter’s choice.
Our organisation for communication with the outside world has not gone according to plan. Both Aud and Peter set up an international roaming day pass which they both thought included Noumea, but when we arrived discovered that it did not. Consequently we have been very careful with phone calls and emails etc. Peter arranged his with the help of Telstra in Albany and they will be getting a serve when we get back. Audrey has bought a local cheap phone and sim card and we have been using that to phone home.
After Aud purchased the phone we had to find a Post Office to buy the relevant sim card. We had some directions from the phone shop lady, but as it was in French we ended up a little confused. I decided to look on the tourist map which had little envelopes to designate where to find the PO. When we reached the envelope we thought was on our intended route – no PO. More directions from locals only served to confuse the issue further. Then someone said it was on Av du Mar Foch. Finally, an hour or so later we ended up almost where we began on Foch Av at the Foch’n Post Office.
Out comes the Sun
The weather changed for the better yesterday, after a rainy, gloomy start. We booked a ferry ticket for a ride to Ilot Maitre for the day and were disappointed when we awoke to heavy rain and gloomy skies. Just our luck we thought! The island is only 3.5m from the harbour and not long after we arrived, the sun came out and the day turned into a beautiful, picture post card, glorious day – our first here. All of a sudden the place lit up and we swam with the fish and ate our sandwiches on the beach in the sunshine. The anchorage here is very crowded and we did not want to lose our spot, hence the ferry trip.
|Liz and Aud enjoy the sun at Ilot Maitre|
We will never do that again! It seemed like a good idea. Hire a car for the day and drive down the coast and then inland to Lac de Late. The roads are narrow, everyone drives much faster than the limit and it is all on the wrong side of the road. We never made the lake, but did see some of the coast to the south as far as Plum. It is very scenic and mountainous. The whole back drop here is mountains, where dark, ominous clouds collect in the evening and send showers down most nights.
· When the sun comes out Noumea and surrounds are picture postcard perfect.
· The coffee is not to our taste, although Peter is getting used to it. We have resorted to Mac Donalds for coffee at times. Alex at the Le Bintz Restaurant makes a nice latte for us. At one patisserie Peter asked for a large coffee for each of us, complete with hand signs. The young lady served our coffee, which was in large paper cups, however the amount of coffee in there was the same and it was only half full!! We tried!
· We bought some almond croissants and will never do that again, so sweet and like over-dosing on marzipan. We all felt sick for the rest of the day.
· There is very little room to anchor in this bay or Moselle Bay due to boats on moorings and at anchor. The marinas are full. Every man and his dog must own a boat here.
|Peter at the old gaol|