05/11/2014 – Back in Noumea

We returned to Noumea and spent a useful week there. On the ‘boat’ side of things: we took a lot of laundry ashore (relatively cheap, friendly, efficient service); John went up the mast to change the anchor light bulb and do a rig check; I re-waterproofed the bimini and sprayhood; we had a lift out, block up and scrub in the boatyard (again, very efficient, friendly and a reasonable price); while ashore we scrubbed out all the through hull fittings, replaced some anodes and topped up with anti-fouling where the copper coat was damaged. We also did countless other small jobs to prepare for the trip to New Zealand. The damage to the Coppercoat was a bit of a surprise. We applied it in June 2012, were out of the water in March and April 2013 and topped up a couple of patches. In Spain in September 2013 a mariniero insisted on painting on some Coppercoat where it hadn’t adhered properly, we said ‘don’t bother, it has to dry for 4 days not 20 minutes’ but he insisted he knew what he was doing. Wrong, the patches washed straight off! In St Lucia we spent a couple of hours in slings, having the hull pressure washed, painting traditional anti-fouling on where necessary before being splashed. A month later our hull was deemed to be dirty by the Galapagos inspectors so had divers scrub off the bottom. Since then John has scrubbed the hull several times using dive gear and nothing more abrasive than a kitchen scrubbing sponge and a plastic scraper. Imagine our surprise to find the Coppercoat and gel coat scraped off in a few places with other marks done by a sharp pointed instrument. I am not blaming anyone, however in future, no unknown diver is going to ‘clean’ our hull. The ‘jobs list’ for New Zealand just got longer. On the ‘tourist’ front we visited three museums, WWII, The Museum of New Caledonia and the Maritime Museum, all within walking distance and all very interesting. We also took a bus ride to an excellent aquarium. All the entry prices were very reasonable and they didn’t want any proof of age to give us the discounted ‘seniors’ ticket’. Maybe that isn’t something to boast about, perhaps we look our age…. The social life has also been quite active. World ARC New Zealand contingent had a very sociable drinks evening at the bar in the marina, Le Bout du Monde. All nine boats were there to meet Hugh. The second event was a group dinner at La Chaumiere on Monday evening. The food there is excellent, nicely presented and not terribly expensive by New Caledonian standards! We all returned to the boats before about 10.00 p.m. ready for the start of the ‘short’ but potentially most daunting leg of our travels so far. Joyce

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