We said a sad farewell to Impala when they headed back to Noumea and we continued on to Doueoulou in Baie de Santal. Two boats were anchored here, tiny little Emma (I’m guessing 21 ft) and Al Fresco. We spent a couple days here checking out the village (to satisfy our baguette cravings) and snorkeling the lackluster reefs. The cruise ship was docked at the far end of this enormous bay and the village was crawling with friendly tourists. We re-anchored over in Chepenche where the water was unbelievably clear – maybe 50 ft as we could clearly see our anchor and chain laying on the sea floor at 31 ft.
The next day we arranged with s/v Al Fresco to share local transportation in to We for the Wednesday open market. We both wanted to visit the post office and replenish fruits and veges. When we got back to the dock our dinghy motor refused to start so Al Fresco gave us a tow. The wind was changing directions so we re-anchored back at Doueoulou before nightfall. It got a little rolly with large swells hitting the bow and it turned overcast and cool.
Over the next couple days the winds continued to build and alter direction so we decided to head up to Ouvea, the next island up in the group of Loyalties. We started with a full main in 15kt of wind at 5:45am and fringing overcast skies. By 7am we had 2 reefs in the main, wind was 20-30kt, and we were doing 8-9kt in 2+mt short period choppy breaking waves. We got soaked by a huge wave that hit the cockpit. By 9:30am the wind was down to 20kt with calmer seas. By 12:45pm we dropped the anchor in Ile Mouli, Ouvea.