The Captain and Crew
Having experienced a crewed catamaran in New Caledonia recently, the great thing about having a professional Skipper and Hostess, is that they take care of everything! When you arrive the yacht is ready, beds are made and all the provisioning done before you hop on board. All you have to do is unpack, have a welcome drink and meet the other guests and the crew. You can do as much or as little as you like when on a crewed yacht, whether it is sitting on the front of the yacht, watching the water slide between the hulls of the catamaran or taking the wheel and sailing the vessel; the choice is yours.
At the end of a day of sailing, our skipper put the anchor down and took us by dinghy to explore ashore on a deserted island. I chose to swim back from the beach to the yacht. It is one of the best stress eliminators I have ever experienced in my lifetime. Work and city living quickly drained away for me, and I arrived back at the yacht in no time, feeling refreshed from walking in the heat of the day.
On a crewed yacht the meals are prepared and served mostly on board. This experience gets better however if you are in a tropical destination like New Caledonia, where the crew have the option to create a special BBQ ashore. We sat back on soft sand as evening stars appeared above us, the gentle waves rippled at our feet as we enjoyed a beautiful meal prepared by our hostess. Just imagine the stories you can tell your friends about this moment. The sky has no city illumination and the stars soon glitter their reflection on the water around you like magic. This really has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
After the evening meal, a glass or two of French wine is offered and accepted of course! The guests on board swap stories, share jokes and play music as the evening progresses. But there is space on board for guests to follow different pursuits. Sit in wonder alone, swim from the vessel and discover the night phosphorescence or join the group and make new friends.
On our crewed holiday experience, the science of navigation was a topic of conversation and the exploits and achievements of famous navigators including Captain Cook and Captain Bligh. How did they find their way across the Pacific Ocean without our present day aids, mapping and discovering? It’s just amazing how they survived.
The thing to remember is that this is a real holiday and each day the skipper will plan the passage to a new destination, taking into account the weather conditions, the interests of the guests and the local knowledge of each area. In our case, we were shown to a locally known area where dugongs can be sighted and it was truly a highlight of our trip.
If you are ever considering this type of holiday, take advantage of this amazing opportunity to experience New Caledonia from the water – I highly recommend it. New Caledonia is just a few hours flight from Australia and flights are affordable. Catamaran sailing is an achievable dream here, even for those without any sailing experience.
Warning! Discovering the excitement of being driven by the wind has been known to become bewitching!