We left Noumea last week and sailed south back toward the reef pass we sailed through on our way from Fiji. Along the coast there are several deep bays and protected anchorages so we took a couple days to make the passage. The prevailing winds are E-SE this time of year so it was windward all the way, but Kate goes to weather well so it was comfortable sailing.
We’ve been exploring Baie de Prony, a large inlet on the south west corner of the mainland with 20 0r more anchorages to choose from. And although we’ve seen several boats sailing along the horizon we have yet to share our little corner of paradise with any of them.
The landscape here is dramatic and austere. Towering hillsides slope severely down into the ocean, sparsely covered with trees until the shore line. Then it is a mix of palm fronds and pine needles, both native but in visual opposition. The earth is rich in minerals and is soft and red and stains the bottoms of our feet when we wander ashore.
After the morning haze subsides the days have been mostly sunny and clear, although cool enough to be wearing long sleeves and occasionally a sweater. Not exactly what you’d expect in the South Pacific, but it is coming onto winter. The bright blue skies make the deep red earth seem even more intense.
We found a river and one morning, on a high tide, packed our tea and coffee and went exploring. We followed the wide but shallow water inland and discovered fresh water cascading over boulders and into clear pools.
A swimming hole if we ever saw one.
We finished our mugs in silence, letting the white noise of the rushing water fill our ears. We decided to go home, pack a picnic and return for lunch. There was still no sign of company.
It was a perfect afternoon.