We have inside information from some French friends who gave us an annotated chart before we left Whangarei and so far are sticking religiously to the anchorages highlighted by their chart: "Hi Nuance, we'd be lost without you - literally." So last night we anchored between some coral banks (Les Quatre Bancs De L'Ouest - 'x' marks the position on the Nuance chart), unfortunately we started later than intended from Nouméa and made slowish progress sailing against a pleasant 15 knot SE trade wind, which meant we arrived at the anchorage just before sunset, making it tricky to pick our way through the coral. We ended up anchoring further out than ideal, resulting in a roly first night at anchor. At least we'd finally escaped the marina and the engine appeared to be humming happily away again.
This morning we had the first swim since we arrived in New Caledonia, followed by a leisurely sail to Ile Amedee the island with the Lighthouse transit marking the entrance to the outer-reef.
I'm enjoying the contrast with NZ, there's a different range of food in the supermarket, especially the spectacular meats and cheeses and a definite elegance in the way people dress. Could it be the warmer climate or simply French chic? The lagoon weather forecast starts on a philosophical/scientific note: "Quel rôle le sel de l'océan joue-t-il dans le climat de la Terre?" (What role does the salt of the ocean play in the climate of the Earth?). Answers on a postcard. I'm afraid my somewhat literal translation program helped me with that and provides some entertaining results for the rest of the forecast:
"After dissipation of the early clouds, the sun imposes itself again. Wind is rather weak this morning and submitted to the regime of the inshore breezes."
Or how about:
"On the lagoons, the trade wind of southeast to south south-easterly breath around 10 knots."
Is 10 knots of "breath" stronger than 10 knots of wind? We need to know.