Day 174, Year 2: City Lights
Date: Monday, October 15, 2007
Weather: Overcast Early, Turning into a Sunny Day; Winds ESE 15
Latitude: S 22 degrees 18.844 minutes
Longitude: E 166 degrees 28.595 minutes
Location: Uere Island, New Caledonia

Just after sending the log last night, I went up into the cockpit and was surprised by all the city lights I could see. We were probably 12 miles from Noumea, but Noumea is a big city and her lights were shining brightly. I found that depressing, but by this morning, I had recovered from the setback of not being able to stay out in the islands. I was looking forward to coming to Uere Island and enjoying the last couple of days out here. Then Marie got on the radio and asked if anyone had looked
into going to Maitre Island. I had not, but once I did, I became excited again. This island is right across from the entrance to the Noumea harbor, but it has what is rated as excellent snorkeling in crystal clear water. So now we had two opportunities for snorkeling before heading into Noumea. That made me happy.

We took our dinghy to shore on Bailly Island this morning and walked and climbed around the island. There was a bit of a high spot with great views and we just enjoyed our morning walk with Ranger and Scot Free. As I was getting into the dinghy to go ashore, I took my glasses off and started to put them in my pocket to keep the salt spray off them. As I did that, I remembered a dream I had last night about putting my glasses in my pocket and getting a huge scratch across the lens. I shared the
dream with Mark, but went ahead an put the glasses in my pocket. When we got to shore, I pulled them out and found that the piece that attaches to the glasses on the left side had broken off. I couldn’t believe this really happened after the strange premonition. That along with my wishing for wind and getting it when there should have been none, and then Gerry asking me to wish for sun today and getting it is making me feel just a little strange. No more wishing and dreaming for me for now!

Around 10:30, we left Bailly and headed to Uere Island, still closer to Noumea. We had a short but great sail and anchored in full view of the back side of Noumea. We were the last to arrive and we just followed the pack and anchored, but I was so surprised that the anchorage looked nothing like the photograph on the New Caledonia CD we have. When I looked at our position on the computer screen, we were anchored way outside the designated anchorage, but then I thought the charts must be off.
Then Mark came back from dealing with the anchor and he said we were absolutely in the wrong place. We got in the dinghy to explore around the corner, and sure enough, there was the Uere anchorage as pictured on the CD. Paul had followed a German boat in, Scot Free had followed Paul, and we followed Scot Free. And all of us were wrong. So we pulled up anchor and moved around to the “real” Uere Island. We were settled in by 1:30, and then it was time to get to work cleaning the bottom. Mark did
this while I baked a key lime pie for dinner aboard Ranger. I have no limes, but I used bottled lime juice. Not as good as the real thing, but it worked.

Mark got most of the bottom cleaned today, but he will have to finish up tomorrow. We have decided to stay here tomorrow and explore snorkeling in the area. We were greeted by a poisonous water snake as soon as we got here, but I’m hoping that’s the last one I see. We will then move on to Maitre Island on Wednesday, and to Noumea on Thursday. We will be leaving Noumea with the Port to Port Rally headed to Bundaberg, Australia as soon as he weather permits. There are all sorts of festivities
in Bundaberg starting on November 1, so we hope to be there by then. We got a bit of a weather “zinger” last night when we received our weekly Weathergram from weather guru Bob McDavitt out of New Zealand. He is predicting a squash zone for October 20 to October 24 for those people leaving New Caledonia and Vanuatu for Australia. A squash zone means high seas, and McDavitt says it will be a “rodeo show.” Since we are not interested in riding any more bucking broncos, we might stay put in Noumea
area until the squash zone passes. That will give us a week to explore Noumea, a city where the new meets the old. According to the Lonely Planet, we will see “carefully groomed ladies in high heels trip smartly past gently strolling women in traditional brightly colored dresses.” I can see already from the profusion of city lights that we have reentered society as we know it. Are we ready for this?