Hiking, diving and sailing in New Caledonia

Sailing in New Caledonia, should be on everyones short-list. What’s there not to like? The water is pristine, crystal clear and has beautiful colors. You’re protected by a huge barrier reef, that shields you from the waves (the worst of them at least) and if you pick your timing and spots, you’ll have the anchorages all to your self.

We had a nice sail from Vanuatu, setting us up in great spirits for our stay in New Caledonia. New Cal being French, meant that we could enjoy the easy check in that you have in the Caribbean and French Polynesia. I had to do a quick walk-around to Customs and Immigration, after Quarantine had inspected the boat and confiscated some “dangerous” goods … like some Dolmio pasta … Very dangerous that stuff!

Maggie and I enjoyed a couple of relaxing days in Noumea, relishing in the superb supermarkets with free wi-fi, while exploring the down-town area. When some heavy wind was predicted, we headed north-west and hid in a small bay for a few days.

The rest of our stay in New Caledonia we got to share with two friends of Maggie: Mari and Elisabeth. They flew in and spent two excellent weeks with us, where we thoroughly enjoyed the southern lagoon and the Isle of Pines. The video below shows it all.

We started out in Noumea, sailed down to the southern lagoon, where the girls got to swim with dolphins … and got a little fright when an inquisitive bullshark wanted to take a closer look (and possible sample). Luckily we got them into the dinghy before any situation could arise … Having said that, another swimmer was not so lucky 2 years ago, because he got chomped by, possibly the same, bullshark, and died.

Facts about the critters of New Cal:

The three most common sharks in New Caledonia are:

  1. Great White
  2. Tiger
  3. Bull

So keep your eyes open and don’t clean the fish on your transom before going swimming.

After the southern lagoon, we sailed to magnificent Isle of Pines, where we dove, went hiking, played Splendor, had a great BBQ with Six Pack and a couple of other boats and maximised our time there. When the wind shifted we sailed to Baie de Prony, where we were taken for a great hike by Moose, the only inhabitant on Isle de Casey (Moose is a dog). We also went swimming in a thermal bath and went hiking in several great spots.

To sum up our experience of sailing in New Caledonia is simple: We loved it and will definitely return … though maybe with a sharkshield 😉

The last time I was sailing in New Caledonia, I didn’t spend nearly enough time there, but you can read more about that here.