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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sept 25 - 29, Ouvea, New Caledonia

The passage from Pt Vila, Vanuatu to Ouvea, New Caledonia was one of the best yet. Winds were high and close to the beam and seas were fairly tame. We flew! So did all of the other boats - 35 in all participated in the rally. It was exciting seeing them all around us, competing for those few extra knots of speed. The one night we spent at sea was just beautiful; not only were the skies brilliantly lit with stars, the nav lights from nearby yachts added that extra colorful sparkle of greens, whites and reds and then the phosphorescent plankton contributed the fairy dust element among the waves and the wakes to the show. We felt energized during the entire short passage. We had planned to make the trip in roughly 36 hours and actually arrived in just under 30. As is normally the case on these short and quick passages we were exhausted by the time we dropped the hook and so after a wash down of the boat and a hearty breakfast we took a nice long rest.

Early Monday morning the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine officials arrived. Captains were called to shore for the clearance process while mates and crew were asked to stay aboard to await quarantine inspection. Coming with the ICA Rally was a good decision on several levels. The best part was getting to clear in at Ouvea instead of going all the way into Noumea on the big island, and second to that was the exemption given to rally boats for bringing in meats and other foods which would normally have been confiscated during the clearance process. Ouvea is just lovely. It is the ideal postcard view for a south Pacific advertisement. Frank and I had planned to spend a few days there, snorkeling, diving and enjoying the white sand beaches but I'm afraid I put a damper on things. The pressure inside the left side of my head was beginning to develop into sharp, knifelike pains that were shooting into my temple. The vision in my left eye was getting blurrier and the area around my left eye was swelling - making me look as though my eye was half -closed. The OTC medications I'd been taking weren't doing the trick. I had no idea whether this was a result of the hit I'd taken or if it was a separate issue, and had been hoping it would just go away. Frank suspected I'd developed some infection in my sinuses. We decided to take it easy for a day or so and just see what happened. So on Tuesday, we read our books and played cards with friends. Some of our friends had wanted us to go diving, but I knew it would not be an option for me. I tried to encourage Frank to go, but by Wednesday, I was not getting better and needed some medical attention, therefore, we made a decision to head for the mainland and make our way to Noumea where we knew there were decent medical facilities.

So we made an all day trip over to a quaint anchorage at Nemou. It is a preserve, as is much of the coastline in New Cal, giving us a feeling of utter privacy and safety. We would loved to have stuck around to explore the little islands but rose early Thursday for another day-long motor-sail into yet another pristine and well-protected bay called Yate. By Friday we realized we would not make it into Noumea before the weekend approached and weren't even sure if I'd be able to get into a doctor if we did put the peddle to the metal. We decided to duck into Baie de Prony for the weekend.

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1 comment:

Jen said...

I hope your nose is doin better mom! Ya'll need to update your position tracker... I think it was last done in March! Your Grandson cant track you on the big map! Love you and hope all goes well on your crossing :)