About Us

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We work as ecotourism guides (as well as biologist and boat captain) often on the BC Coast, but also as far ranging as the Arctic and Antarctic. We have an insatiable curiousity for the planet; all its hidden gems and what makes them tick. That and our love of sailing is what inspired us to sail around the Pacific in Narama, our tough and pretty little sailboat.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Noumea and Île des Pins

We’ve been in New Caledonia for over three weeks and the time has flown past.  We have explored the city of Noumea, with its lovely museums and world class aquarium.  We’ve enjoyed our daily dose of bagette and brie and practiced our français.  Our (Heidi’s) struggling high-school language skills are always met with friendly and helpful responses and we’re constantly surprised at how well we manage to communicate.  One evening we shared drinks on a local catamaran and chatted well into the evening.  Translation wasn’t always fast enough for the flow of conversation, so Stephen didn’t catch everything, but it was still a wonderful visit.
Golden Trevally in Noumea Aquarium

We visited a few small island anchorages not far from Noumea, including Îlot Signal and Kouen, where we snorkeled along stunning coral reefs and found the most exciting fish diversity that we’ve seen yet!  Unfortunately our underwater camera has died, this means I need to bump up the effort to record in my sketchbook (another New Year’s resolution with good intentions).  Aside from the amazing fish, we’ve also seen nesting Shearwaters, loads of sea turtles and our first Dugong!  The dugong was too elusive for a photo but we were so excited!

From the Sketchbook: Spiny Chiton

Eventually it was time to venture further away from Noumea and the weather cooperated.  We made a 2-day jump to the SE when the trade winds eased; the first day to Baie de Prony in the south of Grand Terre.  After an hour or so of motoring we worried that we wouldn’t get much sailing in, but then ended up tacking through Canal Woodin with the help of current.  By the end of the day we had a reef in, but the NE breeze meant no seas to contend with, so it was a kickin’ day of sailing.  The second day, when we made of the longer jump down to Île des Pins also ended up a stunning sail in a southerly.
View from Pic N'ga over lagoon

We’ve been here nearly a week.  Hiked up the highest bit of land, Pic N’ga, a couple times.  For those who know Stephen well, we managed a bit of off-trail bush-walking on our second descent.  We’ve also rented bikes and went sight-seeing around the whole island and seen heaps of great endemic bird species in our wanderings.
It’s quite idyllic here really.  The local kids play and swim on the beach after school and had a great laugh helping us launch the dinghy one day.  We have a few Sharksuckers (like a Remora, but bigger) now associated with Narama’s hull.  One hangs out on the starboard side, near the sink drain outlet, the other on port side near the heads outlet (hmmm…) They also seem to like eggshells and cucumber peels, but not coffee grounds.  They even went after the leftovers from a can of chipotle chiles from Mexico that I had in the fridge too long.  If that didn’t put them off, then they might be with us to stay!
From Stephen's Sketchbook: Full moon rise over Ile des Pins