New Caledonians love getting out into the world's largest coral reef lagoon and having fun aboard their boats. Every Saturday morning it looks like the 7th fleet heading out into the lagoon and late Sunday afternoon they all come flocking back in droves.
But as everyone knows, boats of any description - from jet skies up to superyachts - require shore leave every year or so to get their pretty bottoms water blasted and repainted. So it's no surprise that Noumea boasts a large, modern, first class boat yard to handle those messy chores.
Hundreds of foreign cruising yachts pass through the South Pacific each cruising season and many of them also use the Nouville Plaisance slipway to fix problems they might have discovered on their voyage.
The men and women who operate the shipyard and it's facilities know what they are doing and make it all look easy. But it isn't actually easy to lift, move and cradle very expensive yachts weighing up to 50 tonnes. Our yacht, the Moira, is hiding in the thicket of masts behind the travel lift. Every time we have her lifted out of the sea and set on land the lifting and moving and cradeling is a frightening prospect - so the professionalism of the crew at Nouville Plaisance is very very welcome.
In this scene the slipway's travel lift is headed to to the lift-out area to pick up a sailboat and at the same time a crew is busy extracting a gigantic mast from a visiting catamaran. A big mast like that, with the radar dome and communication antennas is heavy, terribly unwieldy, and very delicate. The team accomplished it without even a scary thrill, much to the relief of the captain. For details on the sizes of yachts and services available at the slipway visit the Nautical Guide to New Caledonia.
Nouméa est la capital, et le centre de la Nouvelle Calédonie, comme pour le commerce et le tourisme. Une petite ville qui devient très vite une grande ville avec 91,000 habitants, Mélanésiens, Européens, Polynésiens, Vietnamiens, Chinois, Japonais, et la langue et la culture française. 60% de la population de la Nouvelle Calédonie habite le grand Nouméa.La ville de Nouméa est située dans le sud-ouest de Grande Terre avec un des meilleurs ports naturel du Pacifique Sud. Les baies de l'Anse Vata et Baie des Citrons avec leurs plages de sable blanc sont le centre touristique de Nouméa, avec hôtels, restaurants et bars. Il y a 23 hôtels dans Nouméa d'une étoile au 5 étoiles, et plus d'une centaines de restaurants.