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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.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lifou Island; we bid adieu to New Caledonia

Kids fishing at Tribu Drueulu, Lifou Island 
With no significant light pollution from the village (tribu) of Drueulu on Lifou Island and no moon, the display of stars was amazing.  Pulling out the Field Guide to Stars and Planets, we learnt that the dark spot near the Southern Cross was caused by cosmic dust blocking out the brighter Milky Way and is called the Coal Sack.  Armed with that piece of information we’ll be ready for more star gazing on the way to Vanuatu.
Crystal clear water at the anchorage in Lifou

The trip to Lifou had a quiet start as we motor sailed east from Noumea. We’d rather that than pounding into a strong SE trade wind that kicks up a nasty short chop in the lagoon.  In Woodin Canal a breaching humpback displayed for us. It must be one of the first up here from Antarctica this season. Havannah Pass was ebbing slowly when we thought it should be flooding so we were gently flushed out to sea. Some playful dolphins joined us for a while, some log rolling twice around in the air which was quite spectacular. The wind filled with a dousing of rain and we ran overnight up to Lifou. The water is very clear; Heidi started picking out the bottom at 20m on the way into Drueulu.  The anchorage is a mix of sand and hard flat coral with a few bommies and well protected from the SE trades. We paid our respects to the Petit Chiefs son as the Grande and Petit Chiefs were away. The son (a father of 5 and one day will be the Chief) welcomed us to the village and took our small gift to pass on.  All this was done semi-formerly in his round house. Heidi’s French was stretched a little, but it was a pleasant exchange followed by coffee in his house. The village itself was very neat and tidy. The thatched round houses were very common, usually along side another simple building which seemed to be the one lived in. We hitched across the island to Wé, walked around the many roads in the Drueulu area for some good birding, snorkeled off the white sand beaches and limestone cliffs and crags and watched a round house being re-thatched. We were surprised to hear only about 20 yachts a year come through. We added to both fish and bird species and turtles abound – a beautiful place.

Traditional Round House
Re-thatching underway

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