Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Lord Howe to Noumea

After five days the weather had moderated enough of us to resume the journey.
Friday 5th June

We motored out of the lagoon at 0730 and spent the first 12 hours under motor.
The new lure finally caught our first fish, a 10 kg stripey tuna which we pan fried in soy, garlic and ginger - very tasty!

From here the wind picked up from the SE never less than 20 knots and peaking around 35 a at times.
With an apparent wind direction of 45 to 70 degrees it was basically hard on the wind all of the way to Noumea with lots of water flying around and frequent bangs as the boat fell into the troughs.
The boat handled it well (better than us!) with only a broken retrieval line necessitating a headsail change down to the No 4 and a conservative 3 reefs for 3 days.

We arrived at the entrance to the lagoon at 7.45pm on the 9th after a passage time of four and a half days feeling pretty tired and sick of the noise and motion of the journey.

Navigating inside the lagoon which surrounds the whole island is easy as the navigation marks are plentiful and in good order. We sailed up the lagoon under a triple reefed main nice ands lowly as we were very tired and were enjoying the calmness of being inside the reef. Dropping the main was a problem however, as the cotter pin had fallen out of the port side steering wheel and it took a while to work out why Di couldn't hold the boat into the wind as I tried to drop the main. This all happened at midnight of course, but when we realised we still had steering on the starboard side the mayhem subsided.

We then dropped the anchor in Baie De L'Orphelinat for our first continuous nights sleep in nearly a week.

The next morning we moved into Port Moselle marina and went through the clearance formalities which turned out to be very easy.
Quarantine came to the boat, sat in the cockpit and took away the forbidden items, ( raw meats, fruit, vegetables, and fresh dairy) that Di passed out to them.
Customs have a two hour time zone after the marina office faxes your paperwork through. If they don't turn up in two hours they aren't coming. Apparently they rarely do!
Immigration is a short walk into town. They shut at 11.30 so don't be late. I took both our passports up with a form filled out and they stamped both our passports even though Di wasn't present.

The rest of the day was spent cleaning up the boat and starting on the list of jobs to be done as a result of the passage. Fortunately the list was fairly small, new retrieval line and sail cover repairs due to chafe from the lazy jack webbing.

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