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Off again


noelm

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Off on Holidays again Monday, cruising to Vanuatu, going to be good to get out of this damn rain…….All packed, got lots of fishing and diving stuff to give to the local kids. First stop Mystery Island, just a tiny island, good swimming, snorkelling and big Lobsters cooked on the beach by neighboring locals, then off to Port Vila, the cheapest duty free anywhere, especially alcohol, a litre of mid to good quality Vodka, Scotch or similar will cost about $12-$15, better quality (say Grey Goose Vodka) will be $20. Then back to Lifou Island, lots of Turtles, nice place to walk around, great (but very steep) walk up to an old church on the top of the cliffs that gives spectacular views, then to Noumea for a day, then back home to Sydney. Hope to do another fishing trip with the locals in their rough old boats, with no safety gear and old two stroke outboards, though lots are being replaced now I noticed by four strokes. Hope for good weather and see you all when I get back!

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I was considering hiding my fly rod in the luggage, I took it a couple of trips ago and caught some good fish, including a small Bonefish off the beach at Isle of Pines and lots of Trevally of various types. I met a guy a few cruises ago that had a travel spin rod and a bunch of small metal casting lures, he told me later he got all sorts of fish from the rocks right next to the jetty. Only going because it’s so cheap, off the Fiji in August and New Guinea again in November, but New Guinea is not cheap, but well worth it.

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My wife and I loved cruises. We would do our own thing most of the day and catch up several times a day for coffee and meals, then seek out the entertainment in the evening.

Enjoy yourselves Noel.

bn

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Funny, we often do similar, I do stuff all day, (theme trivia, water slides, early breakfast with new people, maybe see a show)  my wife does her thing (usually talking/making new friends) and we meet up again in the cabin at 4ish for a drink before dinner. Other days we might do something together (if it’s not a shore day) that’s what I like about cruising, unpack once, no one has to drive anywhere, don’t have to think about what/where to eat, the room made fresh every day, nice soft fresh towels, all cheap considering what you get.

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Enjoy, Noel. We visited Vanuatu and Lifou on a cruise and really enjoyed it. Have you done the leap of faith into the pool in the cave on Lifou?

I snorkeled in New Caledonia and had the biggest GT pass right in front of my face, just inches away. 😎

Have a great time!

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1 hour ago, Berleyguts said:

Enjoy, Noel. We visited Vanuatu and Lifou on a cruise and really enjoyed it. Have you done the leap of faith into the pool in the cave on Lifou?

I snorkeled in New Caledonia and had the biggest GT pass right in front of my face, just inches away. 😎

Have a great time!

Yep,  been to the caves lots of times, good diving at Lifou if you’re game enough to go out a bit deeper than a few metres, lots of big fish and great coral. There is a very nice beach too, you can take a bus to the other side of the island, it’s fantastic.

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Todays the day, packed and ready to head to the train station, might be a bit wet heading out of Sydney this afternoon, have a look at the 4PM news on ch7 and see me “sail away” in the background. See you all in a couple of weeks.

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15 hours ago, noelm said:

Todays the day, packed and ready to head to the train station, might be a bit wet heading out of Sydney this afternoon, have a look at the 4PM news on ch7 and see me “sail away” in the background. See you all in a couple of weeks.

Have fun you lucky bugger.   bn

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I’m home, seems some political stuff going on in Noumea, so both ports there were cancelled for safety reasons, but, we got an extra day at Mystery Island and an added “fun day at sea” which is the cruise lines way of say we are going home extra slow, but, we did get a cash refund, and a day of Prawns, Mussels, Sushi and other nice things to eat, so all in all, it was OK. Not too sure of the details of New Caledonia riots, but gossip is it revolves around locals having the right to vote, no idea if that’s true, just what we were told. Did lots of diving, some fishing, met some new friends and had a great time, great weather……bring on August 13th when we head to Fiji.

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3 hours ago, noelm said:

Well, I’m home, seems some political stuff going on in Noumea, so both ports there were cancelled for safety reasons, but, we got an extra day at Mystery Island and an added “fun day at sea” which is the cruise lines way of say we are going home extra slow, but, we did get a cash refund, and a day of Prawns, Mussels, Sushi and other nice things to eat, so all in all, it was OK. Not too sure of the details of New Caledonia riots, but gossip is it revolves around locals having the right to vote, no idea if that’s true, just what we were told. Did lots of diving, some fishing, met some new friends and had a great time, great weather……bring on August 13th when we head to Fiji.

Good that the cruise line tried to make up for the enforced changes which weren't their fault. Funny you mention the rickety boats, I went on them too and caught heaps of fish which were donated to the locals. Some rugged tackle though...rusty hooks, 9 inch by half inch bolts for sinkers and hand lines. Memorable times, especially hurtling through the outer reef to the fishing grounds.

Cheers, bn

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1 hour ago, big Neil said:

Good that the cruise line tried to make up for the enforced changes which weren't their fault. Funny you mention the rickety boats, I went on them too and caught heaps of fish which were donated to the locals. Some rugged tackle though...rusty hooks, 9 inch by half inch bolts for sinkers and hand lines. Memorable times, especially hurtling through the outer reef to the fishing grounds.

Cheers, bn

Yep, that about covers the tackle, but, this trip a couple of boats had some cheap rods and reels sticking out of rod holders, looks like technology is catching up…….I saw a couple of new boats unloaded off a barge they are about 20’ long, super narrow and just wooden planks for seats with a kind of windscreen cab combined setup, pull start 40hp motors. Most are used for food type fishing and basic transport, and taking tourists anywhere they want to go when a ship is in. There is no safety precautions or gear, you just pay and pray……

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We really had no idea what was going on, the captain made an announcement that we would be not going to New Caledonia (Lifou and Noumea) because of political unrest and concerns for safety. The only “facts” we got were vague news and people who had contact with relatives that told them what was happening. The cruise line were very good about it (as usual) if it was during summer it might have been different with all the other seasonal ships cruising, but, as it stands there is only 3 ships based here, so plenty of options, just had to fit them into the schedule.

The traffic in Port Vila is a hoot, battered old cars beeping horns huge pot holes and just driving anywhere, we got an old van with a couple of other people, it had a broken window, no seat belts, ripped seats and the driver said “as long as you stay near your side of the road, it’s all OK” he spied a couple walking back to the ship, and just drove up on the footpath to cut them off and said he would take them back for $2….. as it was hot and they still had a couple of Ks to go, they jumped in too. It’s common to see utes with a dozen people in the back, the back streets are pretty shady, reasonable safe during the day (I think) the van driver told us there was no dole or government “handouts” you either did some kind of work, or hoped to pick up tourists when a ship is in, and drive them around all day, he reckons some park there for a day before the ships come in, to get a good spot.

Lots of these places are beautiful if you just get out of the main port area, but you need to be aware of shonky scammers, and the streets are lined with seedy looking locals, we have never had and trouble, but, you can see it’s right there. The duty free shop is so cheap, a friend asked to get a bottle of “Gentleman Jack” I got him 1.5L for $40 which supposedly here is well over $150. A carton of Cigarettes are $37, being a non smoker it means nothing to me, but, that is very cheap.

On my fishing “charter” we got lots of common Sweetlip of various sizes (all kept) lots of other colourful reef species, one new tour I saw was hand feeding Giant Trevally which I will do next trip, there’s a bit of new huts and seats being built on Mystery Island, locals rent out plastic chairs, beach umbrellas, snorkeling gear, braid hair, offer massages, sell coconuts cut open, cans of cool (not cold) beer are $10….all to make a few dollars to survive.

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