Quick Fix: 22° 16.6 S / 166° 26.4 E
February 29th, 2016 (day 3,196)
Conditions:  Wind: 12/ESE  Sky: Mostly Clear.

Cool Kanak Carvings
After almost two weeks of touring the South Pacific, cyclone Winston has finally fizzled out. We were very lucky in New Caledonia but areas of Tonga, and especially Fiji, which received a direct hit during the
storm's most ferocious phase, were leveled by winds that reached 200 mph. The heat is back again (yes, Catherine is hydrating) and with it the humidity. Dream Time is a steamroom so for just 200 Pacific Franc ($2) we visited the Musée de Nouvelle-Calédonie to learn more about the Kanak culture - the Melanesians who settled here around 1500 BC. Impressive carvings from traditional ceremonial huts (Grande Case) and a waft of cool air greeted us as we entered. We'd pay $2 again just for the air conditioning, the museum experience, is worth far more.


Day 3,183 - New Caledonia (22° 16S 166° 26E)
18:42hrs - February 16th 2016
It's Hot!

I know it's the summer here, and it's the tropics so naturally it's hot, but unusually even New Caledonians are expressing surprise at the hotness of this year's hot. It's not the actual high temperature that's the problem, but rather the lack of regular tradewinds that makes 80 to 90 degrees feel like 100's. Normally summer winds blow at a steady 20-25 knots and that provides a very welcome cooling system. But this year for the first time in10 apparently, there have only been light winds and quite often no wind at all, and the resulting 3 cyclones passing within 200 miles of us has been attention getting.

The light wind made it hot but it has been great for getting to southern anchorages that would normally be challenging to get to bashing into regular tradewinds, so we've been happily pottering about in the wind free southern lagoon and going for long hikes in the bay's and surrounding hills.

But I eventually ended up really appreciating the light wind when late one night I needed to be spirited back to Noumea, a 6 hour motor sail away, on a flat calm night, because I had managed to get heat stroke.   After what turned out to be two very unhappy days and nights of feeling awful and getting worse, I had become ill enough to warrant an all night motor back to medical help, something that we would never normally choose to do as reefs and nightime are not a good combination on a boat, but Neville is my hero and expertly navigated the lagoon at night by himself to get me there.

Of course, and with great relief, once we got there the worst had passed and by the next day I started to recover enough to be able to finally keep water down, and then to actually sleep which was heaven. So now the joke is that we only go back to the marina for cyclones and medical emergencies, with the finger crossing hope that neither will be life threatening. So far we have been very lucky with cyclones and the lack of medical emergencies, and while we can't do much about the cyclones I will now be more careful in the New Caledonia hot summer sun to avoid that particular medical emergency again!




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Quick Fix: 22° 16.6 S / 166° 26.4 E
February 13th, 2016 (day 3,180)
Conditions:  Wind: 20/SE  Sky: Mostly Clear.

Shady Security
Tatiana and Winston are barreling past New Caledonia, one to the east another to the west, both close enough to warrant a local cyclone alert. The Orange, it's-almost-time-to-panic, flag has been raised and according to the official emergency handbook, now is the time for boats in the marina to double-up on dock lines and remove all covers, biminis and awnings. But it's a tent city here in Port Moselle, with all manner, color, shape and size awnings rigged over boats and snapping in a stiff southeasterly breeze. It seems boaties (including Dream Time) are more concerned about protecting themselves from the immediate, relentless and suffocating heat than the cyclones. The heat is here, right now, (it's 111 degrees under our dodger), the cyclones, they're still miles away.



Feb 7th, 2016   |   Prony, New Caledonia    Something brewing? The mercury is rising, the ocean feels like a warm bath, even the GRIB files look ominous...