Noumea

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Noumea (Port of entry)

Central Noumea
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An online cruising guide for yachts sailing to Noumea. Noumea is the capital of New Caledonia and the only city in this overseas French Territory. It has a population of around 90,000. The next largest settlement is Bourail with a population of about 5,000. Noumea offers the voyaging sailor a full range of services enabling a complete restock or major repairs as necessary. There are marinas in Port Moselle and Baie de L'Orphelinat and a comprehensive slipping facility at Nouville Plaisance in Petite Rade.


Cruising the Region

While Noumea is primarily a destination for restocking and a base for land exploration, there are many nearby anchorages within reach for day sailing. These tend to be very busy and crowded on the weekends as the locals love their water based activities, but during the week, most anchorages are deserted. For those keen on surfing or diving the outer reef is only about 10 nm away and within easy reach.


Charts

Submit the chart details that are required for safe navigation.

Chart Source
Chart Number

Weather

Sources for Weather forecasts:
Local forecasts are, of course, in French, but non-French speakers should find them relatively easy to understand. A very useful vocabulary can be found at How to Understand French Weather Forecasts for Sailors.

The main source of weather information for the area around New Caledonia is Meteo France Nouvelle-Calédonie. The marine section provides a 6 day forecast for the whole region, with details for each of the passes through the barrier reef.

Nouméa radio broadcasts the weather report in French on VHF 16, everyday at 6:30, 9:30, 15:15, 18:30.

There is a set of repeater channels allowing receipt of weather info anywhere in the country:

  • Nouméa area: VHF 26
  • Southern portion of the Grande Terre: VHF 28
  • Isle of Pines and the Southern Lagoon: VHF 25
  • Grande Terre North West coast: VHF 25
  • Northern portion of Grande Terre: VHF 24
  • Ouvea: VHF 23
  • Lifou: VHF 26
  • Maré: VHF 87

Passages

Popular passages/routes, timing, etc.

Islands

List Islands

Communication

Also see Cruiser's Nets

Navigation

Cap Ndoua. The leads for Havannah Pass are visible on the hillside.

There are two main approaches to Noumea, depending on whether you are arriving from the East or West. In either case, you are approaching a huge barrier reef that is up to 10 miles from land and great care should be taken. The reefs around New Caledonia are littered with the remnants of ships that missed Passes.

On arrival, vessels are expected to continue directly to Noumea for clearance, without stopping. If you arrive at night, you should anchor outside Port Moselle and arrange clearance through the Port Captain the next morning. You should not proceed into the marina at night.

Passe De La Havannah

Vessels arriving from the east, generally either from Vanuatu or Fiji usually enter at Passe De La Havannah. This Pass is approximately 2 nm wide, but is a very long way from the nearest land and is subject to strong and dangerous tidal flows that should be taken into account on approach. There are currently obvious wrecks on the reef that show what happens if you get it wrong.

Note should be taken of the relatively shallow Banc Du Coetlogon some 4 nm to seaward of Havannah. While adequately deep, it may produce difficult seas in unfavourable conditions.

Tide times at Havannah are one hour ahead of Noumea. The tide flow can reach 4 knots and, with unfavourable winds or swell, significant and dangerous overfalls can develop. It is very preferable to enter Havannah at slack water if at all possible.

Havannah Pass is well marked, but, because of the distances involved, the marks / lights may not be obvious to a navigator approaching from seaward in poor visibility. The main marks are the leads on Cap Ndoua, which provide 3 white lead makers defining the Havannah entrance. Note that, when you are in the Pass, you are still over 8 nm from the leads.

Goro Light. This marks the northern side of the Havannah Pass and also an entrance into Port De Goro.

The Goro light is on the northern side of the Pass. This light tower also marks an entrance into Port De Goro. This is only relevant if you have already cleared Customs.

Once through the Pass, there are clear navigation markers which allow you to round Cap Ndoua, traverse Canal Woodin and carry on north to Noumea. Note that the tide flows through Canal Woodin can be substantial and overfalls are possible in the vicinity of Pointe Noukouma at the western end.


Passe De Boulari

Amedee Light and its lead light at Passe De Boulari.

Arrival from the West is through Passe De Boulari. The Passe is narrow (1/3 nm) but well marked. The historic Amedee Light has a range of 20nm and forms part of the pair of lead lights for the entrance. Once inside the Pass, the track to Noumea is clearly marked


Entrance

Customs clearance is arranged through the Port Captain at Port Moselle. Contact on VHF 67. See New Caledonia for details.

Ports and Popular Stops

Ports

Anchorages

Anchoring is permitted in defined areas of Petite Rade and Baie de l'Orphelinat. These are:

  • North of Pointe Denouel, close to the shore.
  • Between Pointe de l'Artillerie and Port Moselle
  • In Baie de l'Orphelinat behind Pointe de l'Artillerie

See this Diagram of approved anchorages (.pdf) provided by the Port Moselle Port Captain in 2010.

Boats anchoring out in the Petite Rade have a couple of choices for getting ashore. For about 2700 cfp a week (in 2010) you can use the dinghy dock at the Port Moselle Marina and have access to the showers and toilets. This also gives you some security for your dinghy. Alternatively, there is a space to tie up dinghies in the NE corner of the Port Moselle area, just passed the Market. This is convenient, but there is no security or other facilities.

Marinas & Yacht Clubs

Port Moselle Marina This marina is likely to be your first stopping point in New Caledonia. The Port Captain arranges inward clearance here - follow the link above for notes.

Cercle Nautique Caledonien The CNC or Noumea Yacht Club has a substantial marina on the south side of the Baie de l'Orphelinat. This was the first marina facility in Noumea.

Port Brunelet This marina is on the south side of the Baie de l'Orphelinat, east of the CNC.

Port du Sud This is a new marina on the northern side of the Baie de l'Orphelinat.

Yacht Services and Repairs

Also see each Port

Marine Stores

Submit addresses and contact details of marine related businesses that are of interest to cruisers.

Yacht Services/Repairs/Yards

Fuel, Water, & Electricity

Fuel
See details listed under Port Moselle Marina
Water
See details listed under Port Moselle Marina
Electricity
See details listed under Port Moselle Marina

Tourism and Things to do Ashore

Tourism

The Tjibaou Cultural Centre.

Musee de Nouvelle Caledonie. The Museum of new Caledonia is a 5 minute walk from the Port Moselle marina. It is at 42 Avenue Du Marechal Foch. Hours are 9:00 - 11:30 and 12:15 - 16:30 ever day except Tuesday.

Centre Culturel Tjibaou is a stunning display of Kanak culture. It is on the Tinu peninsula about 8km from the centre of Noumea. Regular buses travel to the area. Alternatively, a taxi trip is relatively cheap. This centre is worth visiting just for its architecture, let alone the insight it provides into the people of New Caledonia. It is named after Jean-Marie Tjibaou, the Kanak leader who was assassinated in 1989.

The Cagou at the Botanical Gardens.

Parc Zoologique et Forestier (Zoological and Botanical Gardens) are best accessed by the Explorer bus or by taxi.

Place des Cocotiers is the heart of Noumea. Look for the regular concerts and markets here.

St Josephs Cathedral is an obvious landmark in the centre of Noumea.

Cathederale St Joseph is an obvious landmark when you arrive in Port Moselle. It dates back to 1888 and was built by convict labour.

La Baie des Citrons is a sheltered and popular swimming beach close to the centre of Noumea. It is particularly busy on the weekends.

L'Anse Vata is very much the tourist beach front in Noumea. The Trade Winds make it a wind and kite surfing paradise.

Grocery & Supply Stores

  • Casino Supermarket at 8 Rue Anatole France, opposite the Cruise Liner Terminal, is the largest supermaket in Noumea and has a huge range of local and imported food and goods.
  • Supermarché Champion is a smaller supermarket at 21 Rue De I'Alma
  • There area other suburban supermarkets, but these are out of easy walking distance.
  • There is a hardware store (Quincallerie) in Rue de la Republique (check this - might not be exactly right, but in this area), not far from the Champion supermarket.
  • Le Marche (the city market) is on the edge of Port Moselle, a 5 minute walk from the marina. It offers a huge range of fresh food.

Eateries

  • There is a wide range of eating places in Noumea, sufficient to suit all tastes and budgets.

Internet/WiFi

As well as the WiFi available to customers of Le Bout du Monde, a popular WiFi spot is the local McDonalds, a short distance from the Port Moselle Marina.

Laundry

Motorbike & Car Rentals

Garbage Disposal

See details listed under Port Moselle Marina

Transportation

Transportation (local and/or international)

Friends

Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.

Forums

List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)

Links

Links to relevant websites.

References & Publications

Publications, Guides, etc.

Comments

We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit. Personal experiences?

Last Visited & Details Checked (and updated here)

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