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Saturday, October 15, 2016

New Caledonia: Oompa Loompa-ville & Bio-diveristy Paradise

Red sand of Anse de la Somme, which we walked to from Prony Village, Anse Sebert.  New Caledonia.
Exotic flower seen on the GR1 ("Grand Randomee")
trail which runs through the Prony area.  New Caledonia.
New Caledonia:  This splinter off the ancient and once great supercontinent Gondwanaland a hidden gem, an amazing lagoon surrounded ecosystem, the land, in the South known terre rouge (red earth) is rife with unique and beautiful native plants.  It's a biodiversity wonder and deserves its own spot right up there with Galapagos, only it doesn't offer Galapagos' bizarre fauna.  In fact, there's not much in the way of mammals, reptiles or amphibians, and their bird population pales in comparison to New Zealand's, though we do hope to spot New Caledonia's unofficial flightless aviary symbol, the cagou (aka kagu).

Much as we love New Caledonia, there's one niggling concern... becoming an Oompa Loompa.   What is an Oompa Loompa?

Orange Oompa Loompas doing a song and dance number in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Did they visit New Caledonia's Prony Bay for makeup?

Ok, I digress....

The point here is the much of Southern New Caledonia is very, very orange, in a dramatically striking way that rubs off on you - literally - whether you like it or not.

Our first inkling of this came about when our friends from Cyndi and Rich from Legacy and Bob and Linda from Bright Angel greeted us when we pulled into Ouen.  "Prony pedicure!" I exclaimed, giggling, pointing to their beautiful barefoot but quite orange toes.  Regrettably, I did not have my camera ready - my now orange toes make a far less attractive picture.

Note the orange Prony Bay mud on the tip of
our anchor?  That's after we dragged it
through the water for a while.  New Caledonia.
Frank, of Another Adventure did warn us before we left Vanuatu... "When you pull up your anchor in New Caledonia, make sure you wash it down right away.  That red-orange dirt stains!"  

Our little boat doesn't have a an anchor wash hose like Another Adventure, but we made sure to drag our anchor in the water before its final lift onto our bow anchor platform.  As well, followed immediately with a vigorous repeated raw water bucket wash while underway.

While we still have some Prony Bay deck stains to remove, fortunately for us the color of the mud is darned close to the Cetol ("varnish") on our rails and the color Wayne chose for our anchor platform.

We also placed one of our wash tubs on deck where we board, filled with water, prior to leaving for our hikes.  We added soap and a scrub brush, and a microfiber wipe towel, but now a week past our time in Prony, our toenails and cuticles are still tinged with orange.


Pale Kiwis (the humanoid variety) looking for more sunshine might consider a roll along Prony's shores if they prefer the fake-bake look better than their winter pallor.

Southern New Caledonia impregnated couture clothing could look like this.
Image pilfered from Red Dirt Shirts.
New Caledonia is missing out on another marketing bonanza -- capitalizing on its red and terra-cotta colored earth with walking human billboards.... New Caledonia needs its own Dirt Shirt!  It's every bit as or more worthy than Kauai and Maui Hawaii, Galveston Texas, Sedona and Tombstone Arizona and Moab Utah.

Wayne might've started the trend with his shorts, but tossed them (they were pretty worn and torn, too) before I was able to exploit their Prony-sploshed blotchy hue.  "I don't want you airing our dirty laundry," he objected.

Better still, maybe the first step in a red dirt shirt's creation could be a swish through the waters silted with erosion caused by New Caledonia's aggressive nickel-mining.  Then maybe Prony's supposedly awesome underwater life -- or at least the great white sharks -- could be more visible!

Location Location
We're currently hunkered in Noumea (S22.16.722 E166.25.662), relatively protected while the winds are howling.  This post was written about our time in the Prony area, from late September to early October 2016 at the following red-mud locations (mostly in sequential order of our stops)
  • Boise Baie near Havanna Pass (S22.21.113 E166.57.268)
  • Ouen, Koube Bay (S22.26.279 E166.48.179)
  • Prony, Ilot Casy's North side (S22.21.075 E166.50.647) - Ilot Casy's more popular West side is white sand (S22.21.075 E166.50.647)
  • Prony, Anse Sebert, Prony Village (S22.19.264 E166.50.647)*  
  • Prony, Baie du Carenage B (S22.18.267 E166.50.622)*
  • Prony, Baie du Carenage A (S22.18.149 E166.51.365)*
  • Prony, Abse Majic -aka Rade De L'Est G (S22.22.903 E166.54.816)*
  • Baie Ue (S22.20.666 E166.42.228) - short stay- too rolly when we were there! interesting high-tide mangrove dinghy ride
  • Baie Ngo (S22.18.898 E166.44.912) - now very industrial! also a bit rolly
*watch for more about this spot in upcoming posts

Cruising By the Numbers
  • Our September 2016 sail from Vanuatu to New Caledonia was 305 miles.
  • Our August 2016 sail from Fiji to Vanuatu was 525 miles.
  • We cruised just under 440 miles in Fiji, between late May and early August.  
  • Our May 2016 sail from New Zealand to Fiji was 1090 miles.
  • December 2015 - May 2016 if we weren't cruising New Zealand or hunkering, we were making massive road trips from New Zealand's tip to its tail.
  • From December 2014 - November 2015 we sailed from Northern Florida's Atlantic side to New Zealand, over 10,000 miles, with more than a few stops in between.
  • December 2013 - May 2014 we sailed 1792  miles from Jacksonville Florida to the Bahamas. and back.
  • March 2012 we bought Journey in St. Lucia.  September 2012 we moved aboard, did some boat work, then sailed her to Jacksonville Florida by June 2013, 3762 miles.
These cascades near Prony's Carenage A anchorage only made a slight dent
removing in the Oompa Loompa tinge on my shoes.  Will that "glow"
be gone by Australia?  New Caledonia.
Up Next
Our current plans are to cruise some more in New Caledonia and take some road trips before we set sail from to Australia.  We plan to catch a weather window around the beginning of November to Australia, about a 2-week 1,000+ mile passage.  There we'll cruise in Oz, travel and figure out where to go back to work somewhere in the world.