Day 150, Year 2: Passage from Vanuatu to New Caledonia, Day 2
Date: Thursday, September 21, 2007
Weather: Beautiful Day; Totally Calm Seas; Variable Wind, Now Down to 3-5 Knots
Latitude: 19 degrees 30.600 minutes
Longitude: 166 degrees 34.626 minutes
Location: Passage from Efate, Vanuatu to New Caledonia
When on passage, I write the daily log and then go back and fill in the weather and lat and lon just before sending so it will be as up-to-date as possible. I guess this got me in trouble yesterday. I started the log talking about “gentlemen never sail to weather” and then in the weather line I said we were on a beam reach. Well, both were correct. When I started writing the log in late afternoon we had been bashing into the wind in confused seas all day, but by the time I finished the log and
was ready to send, we had changed course for our new destination which put us on a beautiful beam reach. So if you noticed the inconsistency, that is the explanation.
So, yes, we did change course and we are now headed to Hienghene (yen-ghen) on the northeast coast of the main island in New Caledonia, Grand Terre. Simon and Maree on Galaxie from New Zealand, Donna and Gerry on Scot Free II and Bruce and Jennine on Incognita of Canada, and Paul and Marie on Ranger also made the change. We are going to have plenty of company on arrival. Arriving in this new destination will mean that one or both of us will need to make the six and a half hour bus ride to Noumea
to do the Immigration check-in, or we will have to rent a car with others and drive. This will be an adventure all of its own, but however we do it, it will be a great chance to see the southern half of Grand Terre. This is a very long island, over two hundred and twenty-five miles long by my estimation. We will be north of the mid-line and Noumea is all the way south. Captain Cook was here in 1774 and he named it New Caledonia because the northeast coast where he landed (yes, we are following
him once again) reminded him of the highlands of Scotland. Scotland was called Caledonia by the Romans, thus the name New Caledonia. While in New Caledonia, we will meet Kanaks, once known as the indigenee by the French. These are the Melanesians. Then there are the Caldoches. These are white people who were born in New Caledonia, either the ancestors of French settlers or of those sent here by France when New Caledonia was a penal colony. Caldoches who live in urban areas evidently prefer
to be called Caledonians and those living in the bush are called Broussards. Metros or Zoreilles are French people not born in New Caledonia. Add to this mix Polynesian’s, some Asians, and a few ni-Vanuatu. During World War II, more than 40,000 American troops were stationed in New Caledonia, and I’m sure the Americans left their mark as well.
Our destination of Hienghene is a center of Kanak culture, so I hope to be able to visit a village nearby. As we approach, we will be greeted by the Linderalique Rocks. These are dramatic limestone rock formations starting about ten kilometers south of Hienghene. We should arrive by this time tomorrow, so hopefully the next log will come from Windbird sitting in the Baie de Hienghene anchored close to some beautiful rock formations.