Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Wednesday 3rd October

New Caledonia

22 17.173 S
166 26.266 E

Having made it through the early hours of the morning with only minimal sleep we arrived at the entrance to Orphelinat Bay harbour around 03.15hrs. Gerry went out on deck with the headset and I steered us into the harbour. We played dodge the boat at anchor, many of whom didn’t have a single light on. To make matters even harder there were a lot of mooring balls all over the place which weren’t marked very well until you were almost on top of them; the good thing is we managed to miss every one of them! Finally we found a spot to drop the anchor and by 03.30hrs we were set.
All that remained was to put a few things away, fill out the log and turn out the lights – our bed beckoned. We slept for a few hours then Gerry got up – the excitement of being here had over come him and he had to go and fiddle with something (the generator I think) I slept on until 08.00hrs. We had a coked breakfast to celebrate our arrival and patted ourselves on the back when we saw the amount of boats that we had dodged between on our way into the harbour – it looked far more frightening in daylight when you could actually see them all than it did at night when you could only make out the odd one or two. Gerry contacted one of the marinas and secured us a berth, he desperately wants to go alongside to give the boat a wash down – it’s filthy and looks a mess at present as we haven’t been able to get near a hose for a while. A short while later we upped anchor and motored around to the marina where we were met by a dock hand (imagine that!) and tied up in a berth. Customs and immigration formalities were going to be put off for at least an hour as they had all gone for early lunch or something. Gerry couldn’t wait to get busy and had the hoses out and began hosing down the salty decks at once whilst I typed the blog up to date. Once we had checked into the marina office we just had to sit and wait until customs etc. appeared at our boat. The first person to show up was the quarantine lady, Gerry went below with her and they began to stash things into plastic bags for disposal. We had expected them to take all the fresh fruit and vegetables along with some uncooked meat products however I was somewhat miffed to find that they took all the precooked meals I had prepared – 7 of them in total, I didn’t understand that as it was all cooked through and only needed to be reheated. They also took our eggs, honey and would have taken our cheese except for the fact that it was product of New Zealand and still in its wrapper. The other thing that got me was that we had 2 precooked pies that we were about to eat for lunch, the woman wouldn’t even let us keep them to eat in the next half hour! Thank goodness our freezer was pretty much empty but even so I am put out about the money and time I spent cooking up lasagna, curry, shepherds pie, beef stew etc. Still we know for next time (as if I’m ever going to do this again!) Whilst the quarantine lady was doing her thing the immigration police arrived and they were very quick and efficient with our paperwork and stamping our passports. Customs never showed up. Mid after noon we went ashore and walked to the town which is a short distance away, change our Kiwi dollars to CPF dollars and then went in search of a marine store. We found it and bought the elusive blower for the generator and at the same time booked our jib in for re stitching of the sacrificial edge which is coming undone – we have to take that in on Tuesday. As this store didn’t have a block that we required for the main they directed us to another marine store just a couple of blocks away, we walked there and were quite peeved to find that they also sold the blower but it was $30 cheaper in this store! We bought the block we needed and then made our way back to the marina; we were both still a little tired from the trip and thought we would have a nap before dinner. It didn’t happen, we found a couple of people that we had met in Panama were docked in the same dock as us and got chatting with them, ended up at the nearby bar had a few drinks and then dinner. We finally returned to the boat at around 21.30hrs, tired and ready for bed.



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