As cruisers we tend to spend a lot of time searching out tiny islands surrounded by clear water and fantasyland (fantasysea?) colors. The downside of such tendencies is that we spend a fair amount of our time in lumpy anchorages. Every once in a while the bump gets to us, particularly in a long stretch of windy conditions, and we find ourselves retreating to bays (when available).
New Caledonia has a huge main island, riddled with bays with reasonable anchoring depths and great holding. We’ve spent most of our time here exploring the islets in New Caledonia’s lagoon and have visited only a few spots on the main island besides the capital city of Noumea. Two of those main island anchorages were recent stops in Maa and Uere. Both are wrap around anchorages, protected from most conditions and very well protected from trade wind conditions even allowing for the wind to slop about a bit in angle. They also are another visual and textural side of New Caledonia – big land mass, sometimes desert looking. It’s been lovely, tranquil and we are starting to regain our drive to explore lumpy anchorages again.
Since we arrived in Tonga/Fiji/New Caledonia it has been a balance for us between time in exposed fabulous anchorages and flat less gorgeous (to us) areas. In the flat we catch up on chores, cleaning, boat work, writing, long walks, etc.
I think this is why we love atolls so much. Even though they are exposed from many angles, you can have very strong trade winds and still be in flat, flat water. On the contrary, small islets get wrap around waves and the wind doesn’t have to change angle much for them to become more exposed.
Sometimes of course we get flat windless conditions in the more exposed anchorages. Those times are marked in my memories as some of the best cruising we have had. That windless day in Mopelia. Our recent time in Mato. Tauna in the Gambiers…