Saturday, October 12, 2013

New Caledonia



We made it to 'New Cal' in 5 days.  We were helped by 4 knots of current that was flowing in to the Havannah Pass.  The sun was setting and we still had 6 hours to go to Noumea so we picked up a mooring in quiet little Majic Bay and continued the next day.  Our friend Oscar, on ZENITUDE, was waiting for us when we came in to Marina Port Moselle.  He arranged for us to get a slip when all the other boats had to anchor out.  We hadn’t seen Oscar since Key West in Jan 2010 so it was a nice reunion.  He walked us through the clearing in process and we spent a lot of time with Oscar touring around, drinking great French red wine and eating smelly French cheeses.  The French really do know how to enjoy life.

New Caledonia was supposedly the setting for McHale’s Navy.  Not.  This place is nothing like what I expected because of that TV show.  It is a huge mountainous vegetated island.  Noumea has the feel of French St. Maarten only 10 times as big.  There is incredible wealth here because of the mining operations and the prices are just as incredible.  The lunch salad bar by the marina was $50 US for both of us.   The fruit and vegetable market was a convenient 100 meters from the marina.  Prices were like French Polynesia, expensive.

There is a large Melanesian population in New Cal but they seem to be living very much poverty level.  They don’t seem to have a cultural identity like the Fijians or Samoans so have gravitated toward Rastafarian.  Maybe the loss of culture was part of the French colonization process.  The French people here are the ones with the wealth and culture.  Just an observation.

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