Arriving in New Caledonia was like coming home. Not because it is French (although, man, the French know how to pick them), but because it has everything we love about the South Pacific: insanely clear water, jaw dropping lagoon colors, shallow sandy anchorages floating in those colors, uninhabited islands, and great sailing conditions inside a lagoon with easily predictable wind and land effects.
In addition, because it is French there is a large community of water sports participants which include a strong contingent of women, people sailing their boats in every wind direction, very little restrictions on what you can do as a boater, and not a lot of fuss over what bits of your body are covered. Try telling a French woman (or man) that women have to cover up to be respectful of the locals and you will quickly learn why French colonies don’t play that way. We are not Francophiles by any means and we have been surrounded by French boaters for long enough to know the downsides to these upsides, but still, we love these upsides.
Too bad they only give us North Americans three months… Still, we are going to enjoy the crap out of what time we have here.