UA-31290512-1

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

New Caledonia’s Tiny Wonder – Ilot Casy, Prony’s Best Stop

Ridge overlooking West side of Ilot Casy, Prony Bay, New Caledonia.
Banyan tree with a human-sized gap between its
trunk-roots.  Ilot Casy, New Caledonia. 
Ilot Casy, Prony Bay, New Caledonia.  Gargantuan Prony Bay is less than 30 miles from New Caledonia's capital, metropolis and primary check-in point and a reasonable day-sail.  

Maybe it's not ok to declare Ilot Casy is best among Prony's many anchorages without seeing all Prony's anchorages.  However, we did visit about half of Prony's anchorages and simply put, it's hard to imagine a better anchorage there.  

Beautiful?  Yes.   A riot of color -- aqua and green waters, vibrant sandy white beaches, intense orange soil, brilliant green foliage, dark shoreline rocks.... There’s a little something for everyone, as long as you're self-sufficient as there is no water, restrooms and the only inhabitant has 4 legs.….







An ironwood tree provides dappled shade over this pocket beach on Ilot Casy's South Eastern side.  New Caledonia.
Beaches.  Yes, albeit more at low tide, and more “pocket” than long or broad, some are white sand, which for the Prony area is unusual.  More on that in a future post.
These cycads boast an ancient lineage.  They looked a bit like sago palms on steroids.  Ilot Casy.

Flora.  Ilot Casy is rife with endemic species.  The cycads, a prehistoric cross between ferns and flowering plants were particularly fascinating and my favorites on an island full of a wide spectrum of vines, trees, flowering plants and shrubs.

Fauna.  Birdsong with a periodic fluttering of wings and the howling of occasional Moose fills the air.  
Sand dollar, Ilot Casy, Prony Bay, New Caledonia.

Snorkeling.  Without leaving the boat you'll see some pleasant albeit not spectacular coral and the usual common reef fish.  Venturing to the South side of the island there's bigger bommies, though not that dense or varied fish in my exploration.  Given how shallow the area is, recommend going at high tide, ideally earlier in the day when the water's usually calmer.







This fiery-colored plateau offers views of Ilot Casy's North and East sides.  Prony Bay, New Caledonia.
Hiking.  Yes , the trails are plentiful, varied, relatively well-marked and easy to walk (walking around the island will take about an hour and a half; we did it 3 times, to cover all the routes), well marked and the come with best island guide ever!  He'd appreciate a dog food tip.
Yep, Ilot Casy's colors really are this pretty - not Photo-shopped.  East side, Prony Bay, New Caledonia.
Kayaking.  If you poke around a lot (like I do), it still only takes an hour to kayak around the entire island.  Kayaking's a great way to scope out the snorkeling options, though like the snorkeling recommend going early, before the adiabatic winds kick in.

Camping.  There's several flat areas with fire rings, mostly near the water's edge that look like they're great for camping or at least a campfire ashore.  
Ilot Casy's North side at high tide (good for Westerlies).  There are two mooring balls here.  Prony Bay, N ew Caledonia.
Protected.  Moderately. There’s a West and a North anchorage.  Odds are at least one of the two will do, depending on the conditions.


Lovely shade tree on Ilot Casy's North shore.
Anchoring.  Mooring balls, which appear robust and recently maintained.  There's 10 west-side moorings and on a clear, calm morning, you'd swear you're suspended in the air looking down on a reef aquarium.  The North side has two moorings and is pleasant, and places you alongside some small pocket beaches.  For boats a bit too heavy for mooring balls, anchoring along the North West tip of the island is viable.

A tiny wonder, Ilot Casy is worth at least an afternoon.  We spent three entranced day there, beguiled by Moose and the island's charm, and enjoying the sensation of traveling through another the ecosystem era from long ago and far, far away.








Location Location
Red pinpoint marks Ilot Casy within New Caledonia's Prony Bay.
Ilot Casy is a small island within Prony Bay, less than 30 miles South of Noumea.  We stopped at Ilot Casy on September 28, 2016 (S22.21.074 E166.50.647) overnight, and again October 3-5, 2016 (S22.21.450 E166.50.554).

We are currently back in Noumea (S22.16.722 E166.25.662provisioning, catching up with friends and looking into getting our visa set up for entry to Australia. 
Calm morning on Ilot Casy's popular West side anchorage.  Prony Bay, New Caledonia.
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.
Seagull flies by as we gaze past our bow across Prony Bay from Ilot Casy on a mirror-calm morning.  New Caledonia.
Up Next
Our current plans are to catch a weather window around the beginning of November to Australia, about a 2-week 1,000+ mile passage.  There we'll cruise, travel then figure out where to go back to work somewhere.

This little oasis was North East of Ilot Casy's North anchorage.  If we return, next time I'll check it out in my kayak.  New Caledonia.