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World Tour


Exit Only sailed twice to New Caledonia during our voyage around the world. Once we sailed there from New Zealand, and the second time we sailed there from Australia.   One of our favorite anchorages in New Caledonia was at the Carenage in Prony Bay.

Prony Bay reeks with history.  It has miles of shoreline where you can explore the ruins of yesteryear.  You can visit the ghost towns and grave yards of mining operations where they stripped the hillsides of nickel and iron ore.  The small island of New Caledonia has more nickel ore for it's size than any other area on planet earth.  When it rains in Prony, the color of the water quickly changes to a reddish brown hue.  The clay hillsides and tailings from all the old mines wash down into the bay.

Prony bay is a Venus Fly Trap.  It looks inviting, and the anchorages appear protected.  But when a wind switch occurs, the hard bottom of the bay may prevent your anchor from resetting.  If that happens in middle of the night, it's time for an anchor drill that might last all night long.

We always picked our anchorages well when cruising the rim of Prony.  We dragged our 60 pound CQR anchor more than once there, and after those experiences I finally was convinced that I needed to switch over to a Beugel anchor so I could sleep soundly through the night in all weather conditions.

In this picture you can see Exit Only lying peacefully at anchor in the Carenage.  In the upper right corner of the picture there are mud flats that dry out  at low tide and cover at high tide.  One night in the Carenage, Exit Only dragged her 60 pound CQR anchor in fifty knots of wind, and we ended up temporarily on the mud flats at high tide.  We had both engines running in the gale force winds, and we watched the depth sounder go from twelve feet to zero as we dragged up on the flats.  I kept waiting for the CQR to dig in, but it never did.  In driving rain and high winds, we motored off the flats.  Since there were no waves, we never bumped on the bottom, but it was imperative that we get off the flats before the tide went out or we would be stranded high and dry.  We pulled in close to the rocky shore of the Carenage behind a headland, put down the anchor once again, and ran both engines all night long keeping the strain off the anchor.  That night, nine inches of rain fell in Prony, and later we heard that near hurricane force winds had swept over New Caledonia.

We weren't alone in Prony Bay that night.  There were other boats in our protected "hurricane hole", and they also dragged anchor during the night.

Although I am not a brave person, we went through our Prony Bay gale without fear springing up in our heart.  I think the reason was because we were in a catamaran, and we had two engines to back us up when trouble came our way.  The twenty-eight horsepower Yanmars purred on through the night and kept us safe during the worst of the storm.  If I had been in a monohull, I think I would have been really worried, because if I lost my single engine, I might have lost my boat.  Having two engines to back us up made a big difference.

Although I don't worship at the altar of security, I do everything possible to push the odds in my favor.  Two engines are a good insurance policy that helps guarantee a safe voyage around the world.

That night, when the storm maxed out in Prony Bay, we maxed out on Exit Only and came through a sleepless night with flying colors.

Thank you Exit Only.  You are a strong and trustworthy yacht.

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