Afterward we walked for a few kilometers along the beach road, watching kite surfers and surf sailors. This is a haven for those sports and the masses were out! It was a pretty day, so we strolled over to the famous Aquarium for a visit. It was well worth the price for admission. Finally we caught another bus back to the marina. That night we had invited Tanja and Bernd from "Upps" over for dinner. I must say I fixed a superb fresh prawn curry dish that was a huge hit. I hope I can remember how I prepared it so I can do it again. The local prawns here are outstanding.
Most of our time in Noumea was spent getting the boat ready for departure , getting laundry sent out and having dinners with friends. Noumea houses a vast seafood market just a block from the marina, and then next to that is an even larger fresh foods (fruits, veggies, etc.) market and then next to that is another market for jewelry, clothing, shells, hand crafts - you name it. There were even several French pastry and coffee shops. We really liked Noumea and would have enjoyed spending more time here, and probably will next year if we pass this way again. I was able to refill some of my prescriptions and get other medications for far cheaper than back in the States, so we restocked some of our med supplies at the local pharmacy.
Wednesday night we all gathered at the yacht club for a passage briefing and steak dinner. This one is a "real" yacht club. The Port Captain and his wife were invited, and seated at the table with Frank and I, so we had to behave. The plan was set for our departure on Friday, when we were to check out of the country, after which we could receive our duty-free fuel, and then be on our way to NZ. Fortunately, Customs gave us a 36-hour departure window, because conditions were not good for a Friday departure, AND we do not generally leave port for any passage on a Friday (sailors superstition). So we fired off goodbye emails to friends and family and had an early night to bed. Saturday at 6 AM we left the dock. First stop was the fuel dock to top off the tanks. If all went well, we planned a stop mid-way to New Zealand at a small Australian territory called Norfolk Island, three ½ days out.
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