Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bienvenue à Nouvelle Calédonie

Nous sommes arrivés à Nouméa. I'm suffering a little from post-passage, form-filling, official meeting and celebratory drinking fatigue, so apologies in advance if this even less coherent than normal.

As well as the usual round of customs and immigration, New Cal has, like NZ and Australia, strict rules governing importation of fresh veg, meat, honey etc. We decided to opt for an honesty policy and the quarantine officer duly whisked off our fresh offerings without a whiff of examining our lockers or sniff from a dog. I still can't believe I gave up some cherished extra strength garlic from the Whangarei Saturday morning market so easily - I'm sure a French quarantine officer of all people would understand the importance and attachment to quality garlic... However Charlotta's brussels sprouts (never firm favourites of mine), were also taken. The fridge and I are both relieved they are no longer contaminating the other contents.It appears that we've arrived in wet-season; soon after we'd tied up we were welcomed with an impressive electrical storm (glad we weren't out in that), followed by a short-lived tropical downpour - perfect for removing some of the salt crust on the boat. It definitely feels like we've arrived in the tropics once again - we've been gorging on mangoes Charlotta spotted under a laden tree, delicious.

Still coming to terms with people greeting you with a friendly bonjour/soir and trying to avoid being run-over by cars driving on the right.

Charlotta has admitted to feeling guilty about all the meals, washing up and general domestic duties I undertook during the passage while she suffered from mal de mer. I failed to mention that she wasn't in much of a position to appreciate my culinary offerings and am just making the most of her efforts to make up for it - hopefully no cooking or washing up for me for a while.

Veg market opens tomorrow at 5-9am, so we're planning an early start to replenish our quarantine diminished fresh stores.

Visitors' pontoon Nouméa: S22°16.6' E166°26.4'

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