“That plane looks familiar”, says Lyn as a yellow seaplane flies over our perfect lagoon island anchorage. “Maybe it’s the flying vet?” Brent from “Impi” had shown us his YouTube video where Guy the flying vet arrives at Casey Island in his yellow plane to give Moose the dog a checkover. Indeed it was the flying vet, and after we introduced ourselves we had a seaplane tied up behind JoliFou as we made new friends.
Perfect lagoon weather
From Friday the 16th September the forecasts were calling for light wind, sunny and settled weather. Perfect weather for exploring the beautiful remote Southern Lagoon. We headed into Noumea to stock up, anchoring in Orphelina Bay and taking the dinghy to drop Lyn at the cruise ship seawall opposite the Casino supermarket. We spotted “Shenanigans” in Port Mosselle marina at the charter cat area. “Impi” arrived in Orphelina and we caught up with Brent and Ana over sundowners, along with “Shenanigans”.
Next morning after a final shop at the fresh food market and dinghy fuel top-up we set off southwards, motoring over a smooth beautiful blue sea.
We spotted numerous large turtles and were delighted to have three dolphins come and play around the bow for a while, a fairly rare occurrence here.
Anchoring at the stunning Ua Island in the early afternoon, we paddled ashore on the SUPs and walked around the island.
For some unknown reason we awoke on the Sunday motivated to do some boat chores, with Lyn cleaning the oven and dive compressor locker (and I did something useful, can’t remember what). At midday the flying vet Guy and his partner Sonja arrived on his seaplane, planning to meet “Impi” for lunch. They had not yet arrived, so we invited them to have lunch with us.
They are a delightful couple and we soon made friends with them. Guy was actually born in the USA and is an interesting man, philanthropic vet, seaplane adventurer and kite-surfer on foils, amongst other things. Sonja is a super-keen horse-woman and competitive show jumper.
“Impi” arrived mid afternoon and we all went over for a coffee.
Unfortunately Guy had to fly back to Noumea before dark, despite invitation to spend the night.
Brent came over for a drink on JoliFou, regaling us with his stories of how he had come to own a diamond mine. It’s a long and interesting story which I am sure Ana has heard many times before.
Mates at Mato
Next day the wind was from the North East and we decided to sail North a bit to Mato Island. A fun sail including a close shave with the edge of a lee reef (Lyn was ready to start the engine if required).
Was great to see the “Shenanigans” there with their guests Tim and Sue. Lyn was doing some remote work as I went ashore with the “Shenanigans” crew, walking up to the top of this unusually high lagoon island. We enjoyed the stunning views of the surrounding islands and reefs and the pack of resident reef sharks.
In the afternoon we decided to snorkel the sheltered western reef drop-off area. It was pleasant, nice coral, medium fish but nothing too exciting. That night we had drinks and pot luck dinner on Shenanigans.
On Tuesday morning Lyn and I went for a snorkel at a nearby bommie, surprisingly pretty coral and small fishes. In the afternoon we went for a walk on the island, coming across a French couple from an Amel yacht who had a gorgeous little puppy with them.
Of course, Lyn was thrilled to get her doggy fix. That night we had a chicken dinner on “Shenanigans”, another fun night of hilarity.
By Wednesday the wind had come up a bit from the South West. We parted ways with “Shenanigans” as they headed off for Prony Bay and we set off eastward towards Gadji on the Isle of Pines.