Departing Lord Howe for Noumea

We departed Lord Howe Island, bound for Noumea, New Caledonia, at first light this morning. At this writing, our position was 30 degrees 58 minutes South by 159 degrees 37 minutes West, or about 45 miles northeast of Lord Howe, and 640 miles southwest of Noumea. It is a spectacular, warm and sunny, crystal clear day. The two peaks of Lord Howe are still visible off our stern.

We enjoyed five unbelievable days at Lord Howe. Lord Howe has all the ingredients of paradise-dramatic geography, lush vegetation, abundant wildlife, comfortable climate, crystal clear waters, white sand beaches, friendly people and just the right dose of civilization. Unlike many South Pacific Islands, it is not plagued with litter, pollution, crime, third-world beaurocracy, overdevelopment, lack of amenities, throngs of tourists or high prices. I would personally rate it “best so far” of all the remote islands we’ve visited, but don’t tell anyone. Lord Howe is a unique gem of a place-I’ll write more and send it off when I can collect a few thoughts and develop my photos.

Cate and I are both a bit sore from a long walk we took on Thursday. Tim, being the fit, young surfer stud he is, has taken it all in stride. Our walk was actually a 14 kilometer round trip to the top of 2700-foot Mt. Gower. It was actually more of a climb, as about 25% of the ascent/descent was done with ropes on near vertical terrain. It was quite a beautiful and memorable experience to be on top of such a spectacular peak.

The good news is that we have nice weather today. The bad news is that it is just a bit too nice. We have been motorsailing all day in five to ten knots of southerly breeze and meter to meter-and-a-half seas. It’s easy going, but would be nice to sail instead of burning up loads of dinosaur juice. We’re getting a nice bit of current push and have been averaging 8.5 knots over the ground, while making a bit of extra easting in anticipation of easterly trade winds filling in as we move into the tropics.

We’ve been passing the day by munching, reading and listening to lots of good ‘ol rock and roll on the sound system.


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