Thursday, November 17, 2016

Chesterfield Reef and Cato Island

We have heard good reports about the Chesterfields, a collection of reefs west of New Caledonia. We were ready to leave Luganville on Monday November 7th, and the weather looked good for a dash to a stop on the reefs.


We got approval from the French officials. It wasn't easy to find who to ask. This address worked.

Julie-Anne KERANDEL
Service de la pêche et de l'environnement marin
Direction des affaires maritimes
Nouvelle-Calédonie
Tél:  24.24.92

We sailed more or less in convoy with friends on 'Entice', a 43' cat, arriving on Friday 11th. Sailing with another boat makes it possible to take photos of each other.




Nimrod enjoying a kite run near Chesterfield Reef

Chesterfield Reef is a stunning place, miles from both NewCal and Australia. A few sandy cays, and millions of birds.






Brown booby


Brown booby


Hermit crab



Masked boobies



Masked boobies


Awkward teenaged booby


White-capped noddy with chick


Young Great Frigatebird



Karen from 'Entice', with George


Sundowner on Chesterfield Reef

We had a weather window for the trip between the Chesterfields and Bundaberg, broken by a front coming through. We managed to email a friend who had waypoints to anchor at a small Australian island called Cato, to wait out the front. It was a bit dodgy, but we pulled it off, anchoring at 2 am under a full moon.

More amazing bird life.



Immature brown booby


Red-footed boobies


As a result of pausing at Cato Island, we got a fair wind the next day from the South-east. After a struggle to raise the anchor, which got caught by some coral, we made a fast passage to Bundaberg, averaging 7.5 knots over 26 hours.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. gouv.nc as in Gouvernment (French). I copied it from her email.

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