New Caledonia is unfortunately just a pit stop on the way to Australia for Totem. We’ve stopped here to allow ourselves a shorter passage to Oz, and the best weather information before departure. With our SSB down, we won’t be actively participating in the nets- minimizing time and maximizing advance info will help keep the passage safe and comfortable.
When we first sketched out our path to Australia, we seriously considered skipping over New Caledonia altogether. In a way, then, being here is a gift- the chance to see one more place, one more country. Still, it’s a little frustrating to be here and not have the time to explore and get to know it better.
Old and new in Noumea
In truth, we feel that way about every place we’ve visited across the Pacific.
This past week, I traded email with a friend from Mexico- she and her family sailed south about a year ago. They’re considering changing their plans this coming year, from coastal cruising in the Americas to crossing the Pacific. The catch is that they’re going on a shorter timeframe: they would like to gt to get all the way to Australia, but need to be back (via jet airplane, not return sailing) in the US by August. I surprised myself with how negative my gut reaction was to their plans: it felt like such a rush.
Really, we don’t like rushing.
Why did I respond that way? Well, it wasn’t a rational reaction at all. Their plans are not so different than what we’ve done- we’ve had only one more month, which is easily shaved off with a higher ratio of passage-to-anchorage days, and a handful fewer places visited. I hope the WhatChaGonnaDo crew finds a way to make it work.
Yes, there is always more to see. No, there’s never enough time to see everything, or engage as deeply as we’d like. I definitely believe, after our experience, that one season in the tropical Pacific is criminally short. Two seasons MIGHT begin to get it right. Three would probably be perfect. But you can’t live with the “woulda, shoulda, coulda” regrets. We’ve had such an amazing experience, and I’m grateful EVERY DAY to be here, to be living this life with my family.
I’m just feeling a little rushed right now, and wishing we could linger.
IO, anchored off Lifou- one of New Caledonia’s Loyalty Islands