Felix Aquamaris Pacifica

We have been cruising in company with Brian and Eva of sv Zofia, Juliana and Hugh of sv Sans Souci, and Sally and Forfor, their son Blake and his girlfriend Simona, on sv Squander. We went from Baie de Prony to Baie de Kuto on the Isle of Pines, then Oumaeo, then Gadji. Early in the piece, Ron was showing a few of these people, including Brian, some photos of particular merit. As is his wont, Ron takes a lot of shots of Cruising Kitty. There have been many jokes in the past about when Ron is talking of his true love, I often say he means his boat. So this particular day, the photo showing session ends with the audience all loudly exclaiming ‘and Cruising Kitty’ every time she comes up in the frame. We both take creative shots of her, peaking thru trees, with the sunset behind her, etc. This started a whole ‘thing’. We all communicate via VHF radio and lately the conversations have begun with, ‘I made sure I got a shot of CK as I went past’ or ‘Can somebody get the CK sunset photo’ etc. Brian and Eva even came past from their mono anchorage into the Cat anchorage (much shallower) to ask Ron to pose naturally for a photo and video – aboard CK. What devilment were they up to. These two are the funniest people. In the Baie de Prony we celebrated Amanda’s birthday (aboard sv Bossa Nova – yes we often sing the song), and Brian and Eva and their 2 guests came roaring past and around the boat in party hats singing happy birthday. Came aboard with a birthday cake even. So one day Brian invited all boats to a movie night aboard Zofia, with instructions to be there at 6.30 for the short feature and 7pm for the main which was to be the Aussie movie “getting square”. We knew he was up to something. Ron and I were a little late, so all other guests were aboard. They had laid out the red carpet for us and we posed for photos (sadly CK wasn’t to be seen behind us). We had a quick drink then down below Ron and I were given prime seats next to Brian who had his laptop open. He played a movie featuring CK of course and narrated a very funny story. I wish I’d recorded it. Had us all in hysterics. And so to the title of the piece – if you know any Latin, Felix means Cat, aquamaris, watery/blue sea perhaps and Pacifica just because – was the title of the movie. He also presented those aboard with a postcard with a pic of – you guessed it – CK with the words ‘The adventures of CK in Nouvelle Caledonie’. Then we got down to the serious business of the movie. It was quite old – 80s, 90s – had David Wenham playing a dumb junkie/robber, and several other notable Aussie actors. It was corny as only Aussie movies can be, but the acting in it was very very good and there were some very funny lines and scenes. So the following day after the movie our call sign was changed to Felix AP.

As we left the group this morning, we heard half a radio conversation. Hugh had called Eva and I could only hear Eva’s response – ‘o yes, the next instalment is currently in production, ‘CK in Prony’’.

Too funny. They may forget us but they’ll never forget CK.

Blake and Forfor love to dive and spear fish and catch lobsters. So we’ve had seafood paella onboard Squander, a beach bbq of seafood, and yesterday Blake, and Simona who loves to catch squid, gave us a squid. That will be tonight’s dinner, I’m thinking flash fried in garlic, tomato on pasta. About all I have left! We’ve been snorkelling out on the reef with them. They don’t ‘shoot’ anything while we snorkelers are there, but they are our protectors which is very comforting. After we get out of the water into our dinghies Blake and Forfor stay in and forage. Yesterday Ron and I were busy so didn’t go snorkelling. Eva went for only the second time in her life (she has an aversion to putting her face under) and she loved it. Blake pointed below and as she watched he dived down and gently ‘shook’ awake a leopard shark!!! Fabulous.

So today we left the group to head back towards Noumea, or more accurately to Ilot Signal, where on Tuesday, Leanne on Easy Tiger is celebrating her birthday. We will do 2 hops to get there. Leanne very kindly offered to get Ron some beer and also some chicken so we can contribute to the party! Otherwise it would have been spam. I think Ron is secretly looking forward to spam on toast. Yuck. On Wednesday we will head into the port (Port Moselle) of Noumea and spend a few days stocking up on food and grog. We can’t decide whether to hire a car or taxi hop. But whatever we do I’m not doing two trips to the supermarket – one for food, the other beer – plus we have to drive to the wine shop. The supermarket does sell wine but it’s a better range and service at the wine shop. It is also Bastille Day on Friday. There is to be a parade thru the town on Thursday night plus entertainment etc then Friday is a public holiday so there will be stuff going on in the centre of town. The centre of town is Place de Concotiers (must look that up) an oblong (rather than a square!) surrounded by low rise shops and cafes. It does not look French! We have been shown where the two best patisserie/boulangeries are. Apart from the baguettes though, we have not found much to excite the palate in the bread department. I was so looking forward to that but it has disappointed. I am looking forward to eating out.

So as we were heading up to Ilot Signal I happened to check my iridium messages. Very fortuitous as Leanne, birthday girl, had messaged to say that anchorage was very rolly so they were moving party to Baie Uere just south of Noumea. Serendipitously we were approaching that very spot and were there within half an hour. Would have been annoyed if we’d gone past it already! Ron had had the trolling line out and forgot about it when we turned into the wind to pull down the sails. I only noticed when I went to the loo and could see the fishing line going past the window. Oh oh. We pulled it in but it snapped of course, yep wrapped around the propellers. So as soon as we got anchored (twice – we were a bit too far out the first time to avoid the swell coming thru the pass) he donned the diving gear, set up the hookah unit and under he went. The hookah conked out after 10 minutes. So he spent the next hour fixing that before spending over half an hour underwater extricating all the fishing line. Good grief. He was frozen – must get a thicker wetsuit. Life is like that on a boat. You go to do a 15 minute job and 3 hours later you get to it. It’s like shift the kingswood, to move the torana, to get to the cortina …… etc.

Yesterday was a difficult day. There were words spoken. And then we were up at 3.30am cos the boat had swung right around, unusual here, and we always get nervous when the boat doesn’t behave as we expect. At least this way if we’d dragged it would have been on to a sandy beach! The wind had died down and it was calm, obviously just the current pushing us around so it was a shame we didn’t sleep well. And it’s lucky we have a party today so there will be good spirits all round. Hopefully we will sleep tonight.

It’s funny how when talking of our friends, we refer to their boat names rather than people names. So Leanne and Steve came over for sundowners last evening and we were asking who was coming to the party – so Aqualibrium, Bossa Nova, Zofia (how far do we have to go to get away from them?!!!), and a couple of other boats whom they’ve met since being here. Neville of Bossa is the guitar player so we should have a rousing afternoon. I saved my last bottle of red for the party!

And tomorrow we go into Noumea for the fun (not) part of provisioning. At least I can drop off the washing to the laundry and pay someone to do that! Otherwise it would be an all-day job on the boat. It’s exhausting!

We each have a list of things to buy when we get home to Melbourne. It’s amazing how that list grows! Very much looking forward to going home for a breather and of course to see the kids and grandies. Little Hayley is now 3 months old.

In order to load pics on here, I have to transfer from cameras (3) to pc, not mine, doesn’t take an sd card, then transfer from that pc to mind in order to upload. So will do another batch soon.

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