After a two-year refit of Wanderer III and a rough, nine-day passage from New Zealand to Nouvelle-Calédonie, we now had nothing but turquoise water on our minds. Kicki Ericson, my wife, and I planned to spend a few weeks of lazy indulgence on the island, then work to fill the kitty before continuing on to China. It was July 2003, and we were finally out voyaging again. As we approached our first landfall at Nouvelle-Calédonie, we saw the solid shape and the bright flashing light of the Amédée lighthouse. It's part of a leading light through Passe de Boulari, the main pass through the reef into Nouméa. Ten years before, I had entered here in daylight.
My chart had been old then, and since those days, time had been rough with the black-and-white copy of an original in too small a scale. I'd changed Wanderer's frames and floors and much else but not, unfortunately, this chart. My old pencil marks on the chart had remained sharp, but the print was fading.