May 23

This morning we woke after our first full night of sleep in a week. It was great. We went to bed before 10pm and slept till 7am! Last night we went out to dinner at a cute little restaurant with only 6 or 7 tables. The owner/host/waiter spoke very good English and even had an English version of the menu (as well as one in Japanese). His specialty de maison is a South African dish called Bobotie which we first had served to us 2 years ago in New Zealand by our friends Lucinda and Al who had lived in SA. This guys had 4 different kinds - beef, lamb, chicken and fish. I had the lamb seeing as the chicken version he admitted was for the more tame. It was amazing, of course. I can't describe it though and suggest the reader might look up a recipe on the web if you are curious. Jonah had yellowfin tuna and Kate had a pork chop with mustard sauce which was out of this world.

The strange thing is that it wasn't incredibly expensive as we had expected. The Pacific Franc (used in both French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna) is pegged to the French Franc (which doesn't really exist anymore) which is itself pegged to the Euro. In the end it works out to about 100 CFP to $1 US. I seem to recall 2 years ago in Fr. Pol. The CFP was 120 to the dollar. Anyway, the dinner was only about $40, though we did not have wine. In Tahiti I recall eating at a restaurant and spending at least $60. Everyone says New Cal is even more expensive than Tahiti, but I am beginning to think it is backwards.

After we put on the sail covers and wash down the decks (we had a resident seabird on board, unknown to us, for several days) we will go to town and walk around, probably find the supermarket and pick up a few things. We are, of course, well stocked having left Australia with a full larder, however, there was one specific item we did not stock up on in Australia. Butter. The French butter is so amazingly superior to anything we've ever found in any country, including the USA, that we decided to wait and stock up here.

Our plan has always been to spend as little time in Noumea as possible so as to maximize our time in the islands (Iles des Pins and Lotalties) but now that we are here the weather sucks and so why will wait. Hopefully things will clear in the next few days.