|The archipelago of New Caledonia is located at
South-East of Australia and North of New Zealand; constituted by the Grande
Terre, the Isle of Pines, the Loyalty Islands and several other islands,
it is discovered in 1774 by James Cook. The British navigator names it New
Caledonia, in reference to Caledonia, i.e. Scotland.
|James Cook approaches the Grande Terre the
evening of 4 September 1774, during his second voyage, surrounded by
sixteen or eighteen dugouts. James Cook goes along then on the East side
and discovers on 23 September the Isle of Pines. The fleet comprises two
corvettes: HMS RESOLUTION
(462 tons, 112 men) and HMS ADVENTURE (336 tonsx, 81 men)
James Cookand his crew meet the Kanaks, inhabitants of the isles ; 16 or
18 Melanesian dugouts surround the British. Cook speaks in praise of the
inhabitants: “we found strong men, robust, active, well done, civil and
La Pérouse approaches the West coast on board ASTROLABE
and BOUSSOLE, before sailing to the Solomon Islands where his ships wreck
on the reef of Vanikoro.
On 17 June 1792, the French rear-admiral Antoine Bruny
d' Entrecasteaux, at the request of Louis XVI in search of La Pérouse,
arrived off the Isle of Pines, south of New Caledonia. From there,
d'Entrecasteaux sailed northward along the western coast of New Caledonia.
The Bruni d'Entrecasteaux reefs at the northwestern end of the New
Caledonia Barrier Reef are named for him.
Jules Dumont d'Urville is in 1827 the first to precisely locate on a map
the Loyalty Islands, during the search of missing La Pérouse.
After the discoverers, will come the catholic and Protestant missionaries, who will try to be installed on the territory.
|The brig CAMDEN is built in Falmouth in
1819 for the account of Tilly & Co, which uses her until 1837/38 for
Falmouth Packet service. London Missionary Society, answering the calls of
the rev. John Williams, acquires her. She visits the Pacific Islands where
she sails a few years before being sold in Europe and to disappear from
the register Lloyd in 1844.
|France of the second Empire, which wants to
reinforce its presence in the Pacific, decides to annex this unoccupied
territory left by the British. On 25 June 1854, the French soldiers found
in the south-west of the Large Earth famous Port-of-France renamed Noumea
on 2 June 1866.
|PHOQUE a 375 tons steam aviso, built at Nantes
in 1859 and retired on 9 July 1886, her commander is Lieutenant Edmond
Esprit de Bovis; PRONY is a steam corvette built at Brest between
1844 and 1847, under command of Jean Joseph de Brun. She wrecks off New
York in 1861. CATINA is a steam corvette built in Rochefort, under
command of Jacques Marc Antoine and scrapped in 1886.
Louis-François-Marie Tardy de Montravel (1811 - 1864) boards on the
corvette Constantine and joined New Caledonia from which the rear-admiral
Febvrier-Despointes comes to take possession. Montravel proceed to the territory coasts
survey and manages the new colony. he founds there
the town of Port-of-France, renamed Noumea in 1866, and built Fort
Constantine to protect it.CONSTANTINE is a wooden corvette,
launched in Rochefort on 10 October 1851, armed of 22 guns, measuring
1117 tons. On her board, off the coasts of China, Tardy de Montravel
receives the order to go to occupy New Caledonia in the name of France.
CONSTANTINE remains from January to October 1854; the corvette will sail then in the Pacific and will be
scrapped in 1894.
The Lieutenant commander Eugene du Bouzet, born in Paris on 19 December 1805, takes part, like Tardy de Montravel,
the expedition of Dumont d' Urville to the south pole (1837-1840).
Lieutenant commander, ordering la Brillante, he arrives at Balade
and Puebo to help the missionaries Marists in 1847. Captain in 1848, he is named governor of the Establishments of Oceania and returns to New
Caledonia on18 January 1855 with his ship and the steam sloop Duroc.
As governor, Bouzet organises the first
administrative structures of the territory. He is on board the Aventure
when she wrecks off the Isle of Pines, by one night of April 1855.
After having left the Pacific in 1858, he is promoted rear-admiral and
dies in Paris on 22 September 1867.
|Officially in charge of the
inspection of the French catholic missions and the national whalers in the
Pacific, corvette ALCMENE proceed to a thorough exploration of New
Caledonia (studies hydrographic, climatological and ethnographic - in
particular on the Isle of Pines and the diseases prevailing there) in
order to study the resources of the island and the possibility of
establishing a penal institution there.
Alcmène is a corvette built for the
French Navy in 1829. Long of 48m, broad of 11,20m, measuring 525
tons, its mainmast rises with 40m. It remains in New Caledonia waters between June 1850 and January 1851, visiting the Isle of
Pines and the east coast. Alcmène wrecks on3 June 1851 at Bayly' S Beach, on New Zealand
|On 28 November 1886 TAMARIS, used
on the Bordeaux-Papeete-Noumea line by the armament Bordes, leaves
Bordeaux for New Caledonia with supplies for the government. The ship runs
aground Crozet in the night of 8 March 1887. The shipwrecked men
leave a log book on the Pigs island but research will be vain.
| The regular sea traffic along the
coasts started little after 1865, date on which the first Europeans
settled. Small schooners started to convey goods and passengers to the
insolated villages. The first regular service by steamer around the coasts
of New Caledonia is installed in 1873, in correspondence with the mail of
Australia and that of Europe and the service will undergo several
modifications of which an alternate service on each coast instead of a
full rotation in 1890. In 1896, the Ballande company commissions the
Saint-Antoine steamer. Then is born the Union
Commerciale et de Navigation Calédonienne with 3 ships: Emu, then
Saint-Pierre and Saint-Antoine, purchased to Ballande. In 1923, the UCNC
gives way to the STC (Société du Tour de Côte).
|SAINT-ANTOINE is a cargo built in 1890
by Day Summer & Co., Southampton for Union Steamship Co. Ltd.as
NORSEMAN. Tonnage 807 gross, 504 net., dim. 72 x 9.5 x 4.45m. Steam engine
triple expansion 124 nhp. Purchased in 1896 by Ballande and renamed
SAINT-ANTOINE. She wrecked on 26 May 1928 loaded with copra and coffee, 30
miles NW off Noumea, on Tetembia.reef by 22 05 840S 165 59 540 E. .
The collier SAINT JOSEPH, built par Clyde Shipbuilding &
Eng. Co. Ltd., Port Glasgow for Bellambi Coal Co. Ltd., Sydney, steamed
from August 1908 as BELLAMBI.
Tonnage 1.162 gross, 705 net, dim. 244.0 x 31.4 x 14.6 ft. Steam
engine triple expansion
Bought in 1916 by Ballande and renamed SAINT JOSEPH. Sold in 1919to Cie Navale de l'Océanie,
Nouméa then in 1923 to Hauts Fourneaux de Nouméa,and in 1929 to Calédonickel, Nouméa.
Sold to local breakers in 1952 at Hong Kong.
SAINT-PIERRE sailsed from 1895 pour Behnke & Sieg,
Danzig as BALDER
Tonnage 731 gross, dim. 177.0 x 27.0 ft. Steam
engine triple expansion. Speed 8.5 knots.
in 1896 par Ballande and renamed SAINT PIERRE.
Sold in 1902 to Union Commerciale de Nav. Calédonienne, Nouméa.
First quarter of 1927 broken up.
In 1864 French engineer Jules Garnier discovers a rich nickel silicate
sample (garnierite). Nickel is a metal whose mechanical properties are
higher than those of iron; he has moreover the advantage of not oxidizing
with moisture. Associated with steel, nickel will thus make it possible to
reinforce the shielding of the battleships and to better defend the hulls
of the ships against corrosion. New Caledonia has approximately 30% of
nickel world reserves in front of Canada, Russia and Australia. In August
1995, the ton of nickel costed 45,000 francs. As comparison, at the same
date, tin was worth 35,000 francs the ton, copper 15,000, aluminium
10,000. To transport the ore, Edouard Corblet creates with Brown the Compagnie havraise de navigation à
voiles. This company will use four four-masts and
seven three-masted ships on the line of New Caledonia. Without being
specialized in this traffic, other armaments from of Le Havre,
benefitting from the New Caledonian manna, sail also occasionally for the
nickel, of which the Company of Société des voiliers français ( French sailing ships) and the
of the French long-distance carriers).
PRESIDENT FELIX FAURE, launched on 3 February 1896 in Le Havre is
the first of a series of 8 steel four-masted barques. 95 meters length,
broad 13.90 meters, the vessel has a net tonnage of 2650. Her surface of
sail is of 3500 m ². She was a good sailer and one of its best travel is
in 1903 a passage of Le Havre towards New Caledonia in 79 days. On 13
March 1908, loaded with nickel, the ship was totaly wrecked in the fog in
the south of New Zealand.
CHAMPIGNY, built for Société des
Longs-courriers Français in 1902, belonged to the series of PRESIDENT FELIX FAURE.
She achieves 13 travel without problem. Sold in 1913 to Société Générale d'Armement de Nantes,
she was laid up 5 years later. Bought by a Finnish organisation in 1923,
she becomes a cadet training vessel and is renamed FENNIA
|Second of the series, EMILE RENOUF, built
as a steel hulled vessel by Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée, in
Graville-Le Havre, is launched in 1897; she has almost the same
characteristics as PRESIDENT FÉLIX FAURE with however a lengthened poop
deck. On her maiden voyage, she sails between Le Havre and New Caledonia
in 97 days. On 2 February 1900, the four-masted barque leaves Thio, on on
the east side of New Caledonia, with its nickel loading and struck Durand
Reef off Loyalty Islands, on 6 February 1900. Her crew was rescued and
brought to Noumea. The wreck site was found and explored in September
Built 1911 as a 5-masted barque rigged steel hulled cargo vessel by
Chantiers de la Gironde, Bordeaux, France is delivered to Société des
Navires Mixtes (Prentout-Leblond-Leroux & Co.), Rouen, France., FRANCE
II, 8000 t, 146 m overall length, with 6350 m² of sail on 20 square sails
and 12 latin; with 45 crew, for her maiden voyage France II sails
from Clydbank with coke and coal to New Caledonia, in 92 days on the
outward journey and 102 on the return. Combining freight and cruisings,
ancestor of the cruise ships, she had seven vast rooms, a large living
room, a library reading-room and a darkroom for photography! On 21
February 1917, France II leaves Glasgow with a full coal loading bound
for Montevideo and starts a two year campaign, going from American
ports to Australian ones, to New Caledonia and finally in Dakar,
before returning to Bordeaux on 17 February 1919 and to go to be laid
up in Le Havre. Powered initially by two engines of 900 hp, they are
removed after being sold; it is failed in 1922 on the reefs of Teremba,
off Noumea. The ship, which had discharged a cargo from cement
to Thio, from where it had left on July 4th, went to Pouembout
to take an ore loading bound for Europe.
Underwater cables make it possible to connect the territory to the rest
of the world. In 1893 the Australia/New Caledonia cable is layed by
FRANÇOIS ARAGO; nearly one century and half later, the underwater network
of cables named Gondwana-1 is deployed by the cable-laying ship ILE de RE and connects Noumea to Sydney (2 000 km) from where it is
inter-connected with the global area networks towards Europe and the
the Societe des Telegraphes Sous-Marins chartered cable ship WESTMEATH,
built in 1882 by Sunderland Ship Building
Company,to lay cables in the Antilles. In 1892, La Societe
Industrielle des Téléphones named her FRANÇOIS ARAGO then sold
her in 1916, to Francaise de Commerce where she is named PERONNE. Torpedoed
by a German submarine,she sunks in the Channel.
In 1893, FRANÇOIS ARAGO lays the cable between Ouaco,close to Kaala-Gomen,
in New Caledonia and Bundaberg, Queensland, in Australia, connected to
North America by Canada. This cable stayed in service until 1923.
Length 320 ft (97,53 m). Breadth 42.4 ft (12,92 m) . Depth 28 ft
(8,53 m) Gross tonnage 3342 GRT
First ro-ro design built in East Germany, with a stern
door and ramp, and two 55 ton lifts, GLEICHBERG works as a ferry on
diferent names and for different companies from 1982 to 2000. She is then
bought by Alda Marine, a joint-venture ALCATEL / Louis Dreyfus Armateurs.
Leaving Remontowa yards in Gdansk as a cable-ship, ILE
DE RÉ owns six cable tanks providing storage for 4690 tonnes of cable
and carries submersible ROV for cable
Tonnage 14.358 grt, 4.307 net, dim. 142.94 x 23.3 x 14.6m.,
draught 7.37m., length bpp. 124.39m.
|To the surroundings of 1880, no regular line
connected the mother country to New Caledonia. Great transport of the
State, several times a year, ensured the routing of the mail, entrusted to
the English Companies and transhipped by sailing ships of Australia to
Noumea. The Messageries Maritimes establish the first regular line towards
Australia and New Caledonia with the NATAL steamer which arrives at Noumea
on 14 January 1883. The first units of the Messageries Maritimes assigned
to the service of New Caledonia are initially steamers taken on the fleet
of the Far East then replaced by new ships. An additional service
Sydney-Noumea-Sydney moreover is organized in correspondence with the
English steamers of Australia. In 1887, the Company reduces the duration
of the crossings by the suppression of the calls at La Réunion and
Maurice, and orders faster steamers. After 1918, the Company restores the
suspended maritime relations. EL KANTARA, at the start of 1919,
repatriates mobilized of New Caledonia via the way of Panama. The
departures are followed then through Suez until 1923.
Messageries Maritimes steamer NATAL, after delivery by the
yard of La Ciotat, inaugurates on 23 November 1882 the line of
Marseilles to Noumea via Port Said Mahe, Réunion, Mauritius, Adelaide,
Melbourne and Sydney.
Length: 130.75 meters width: 12.07 meters Gross tonnage: 4,002 grt
Passengers: 90 first, 38 seconds, 75 third
Powered by a steam engine compound heated by 8 coal-fired boilers of 3,400
hp at the speed of 15 knots, she is rigged as a barque and can carry
17,072 feet² of sail (approximately 1590 m²).
Between 1882 and 1917, she makes 138 trips towards ports of the
Middle and Far East. She is
also used as trooper (Dardanelles, Salonique). Her career
finishes after a collision with the steamer “Malgache”
off Marseilles on 30 August 1917.
EL KANTARA leaves the
yard of La Ciotat on 9 April 1904 and
is delivered to the Messageries Maritimes in March 1905. Used on the service
around the world, first French to cross Panama Canal, she is transferred in
1923 on the line Marseilles/Christobal/Papeete/Port Vila/Noumea. She
finishes her career in 1927 in Dunkirk.
Charactéristics: length: 141.35 m
width: 16 m Tonnage 6.888 gros, 4.427 net
Passengers: 40 first, 54 second, 1200 troops
Two triple expansion reciprocating steamengines 545 nhp., two screws,
speed 13 knots.
propulsion: 2 alternatives to triple expansion heated by two
coal-fired boilers power: 3800 CV, speed: 13 nodes 2 propellersLarge
tonnage 6,888, 4,427 Net, dim. 447.2 (pp) X 52.6 X 32.6ft.
||ERIDAN after Marseilles - Beirut via
Alexandrie and Jaffa in 1929, links Marseilles to Australia via Suez
then via Panama from 1935 to 1942, the line being extended to Papeete and
Noumea. Her carrier ends in 1956.
The geographical proximity of
Australia promoted the commercial exchanges with the island continent and
the islands of Melanesia.
|In the summer of 1910 Burns. Philp & Co. and the French Government
of New Caledonia closed a mail contract, and the MAKAMBO and MALAITA were
used for this contract in a monthly service.
MAKAMBO is called after a island in the Solomon Island
Group and was built Clyde
Shipbuilding and Engineering Co. Ltd. Port Glasgow, U.K for Burns, Philp
& Co. Ltd. in 1906. In service on the Pacific, she was refloated after
grounded off Ned’s beach, Lord Howe Island. She sprang
a leak and she is sold to Okada Gumi K.K of Osaka, Japan; under the name
of KAINAN MARU, she finishes torpedoed by a British submarine off Phuket
Tonnage 1.159 gross,
648 net., dim. 210.3 x 31.4 x 14.8ft. One triple expansion steam engine
146 nhp., speed 9 knots, one propeller. Two coal fired boilers. Passenger
accommodation for 36 first class, 18 second class passengers
Burns, Philp & Co. Ltd. acquires in 1905 the Bahamean
cargo ANTILIA of 1893 and names her after one of the main islands of the
Solomon group. MALAITA is used for various lines from Australia for
New Hebrides, Lord Howe Island, Papua New Guinea, Solomons and Gilbert
& Ellice Islands. She is scrapped in 1927.
Tonnage 14.358 grt, 4.307 net, dim. 142.94 x 23.3 x 14.6m.,
draught 7.37m., length bpp. 124.39m.
||ILE DE LUMIERE is a cargo
of Comptoir General de Transports in Marseilles, launched in 1962 under
the name of DANIELLE V. the Compagnie des Chargeurs Calédoniens (C.C.C.)
of Noumea purchases her and re-names her ILE DE LUMIERE using her from
1975 on the line Sydney-Lord Howe-Norfolk-Auckland-Noumea. In 1979,
the French organization Comite un Bateau Pour le Vietnam installs
110 beds there and use her in succoring Vietnamese boat people. The ship
will still sail several years in the Pacific before being scrapped in 1988
WASHINGTON, built at Bremen in 1929
for Compagnie Générale
Transatlantique, opened in 1919 the cargo service to the Pacific coast of
North America via the Panama Canal before being swapped in 1938 with INDOCHINOIS
of Messageries Maritimes. Renamed SAGITTAIRE with this flag, she
made in April 1939 her first sailing in the service from France to
She works in 1940 to the repatriation of troops from Syria. In 1941,she
goes to Far East by Capetown. From Oct 1942 to July 1943 she is laid up at
the French Antilles then she is requisitioned by the Free French
Government and used for war duties.She starts again her trips to Nouméa
from March 1946 in particular to bring back home Bataillion du Pacifique
to Tahiti and New Calédonia. She continues on this line until 1954, when
transformed in cargo,she makes some voyages to the far East before being broken
up in Japan in 1959.
Tonnage 8.253 GRT, 4.836 net ; dim. 150.5 x 18.7 m.
Two diesel engines 6.300 hp, speed 14.5 knots.
Passengers : 37 First, 45 Second, 37 Third and 360 Fourth class.
cruise ships have now replaced liners of Messageries Maritimes
OCEANIC DISCOVERER calling in Noumea : 25 crew may welcome for Coral
Princess Cruises up to 72 passengers.
|With PACIFIC PEARL, P&O Cruises proposes
cruisings towards Lifou and the island of the Pines.
Ordered to the French yards of Chantiers de l’Atlantique by Sitmar
Cruises, she leaves the yard on 28 May 1988 under the name of SITMAR
FAIRMAJESTY but sold on 1 September 1988 to P&O Cruises, which puts
her in the fleet of Princess Cruises under the name of STAR
Tonnage 69.845 grt, 6.261 dwt. Dim. 245.1 x 32.25 x 14.3 m.
Powered by four 8-cyl. MAN-B&W diesel engines, 24,000
kW., twin shafts, speed 19.5 knots.
1621 passengers and 634 crew.
Used for cruisings at the week in the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale,
summer cruisings goeing to San Francisco in Alaska. After several change
of name (ARCADIA, OCEAN VILLAGE) it is announced her transfer to P&O
Cruises Australia starting from 2010 and the name change in PACIFIC
PACIFIC JEWEL is used on regular cruises from Sydney towards the
Pacific Islands of which New Caledonia.
Built at the same time as PACIFIC PEARL, CROWN PRINCESS goes on her maiden
voyage from Piraeus in July 1990 before following his sister ship on the
cruises from Fort Lauderdale.
Tonnage 69.845 grt, 6.995 dwt., dim. 245.08 x 32.25 x 7.90m.
Powered by four MAN-B&W 8l58/64 diesel engine, 24.000 kw, two shafts,
speed 19.5 knots.
By 1992 she is transferred to Princess Cruises Lines Ltd.flag Bermuda;
various name changes and owners follow one another and in 2007 a yard
reduced capacity to 1748. On 12 December 2009, she is officially re-named
PACIFIC JEWEL by the Governor General Quentin Bryce.
Visitor of Noumea, PACIFIC DAWN belonged to the
Sitmar Cruises fleet, before the purchase of this company by P&O
Cruises, which owns her at Fincantieri yards in Monfalcone and names her REGAL
PRINCESS. She ensures same cruisings as CROWN PRINCESS (the Caribbean
departing from Fort Lauderdale, Alaska) before being transferred in
October 2007 to P&O Cruises Australia and her name change.
Tonnage 69.845 grt, 6.261 dwt. Dim. 245.1 x 32.25 x 14.3m.
Propelled by four 8-cyl. Diesel MAN-B&W, 24.000 kw., two propeller
shafts, speed 19.5 knots.
Accommodation for 1792 then 2050 passengers.
Commissioned in October 1990, ATALANTE is a
multi-purpose research ship intended for the marine geosciences, physical oceanography and
marine biology. L'Atalante can operate a manned submersible such as
Nautile (-6000m) and the remote operated vehicle Victor 6000. Launched in 1989, it embarks 17 to 30
crew according to the type of mission and 30 to 33 scientists.
Length 84.60 m Overall breadth 15.90 m Draught 5.1 m
Displacement 3,550 t
ATALANTE conducted in the Pacific several
campaigns and visited several times New Caledonia: exploration and
development of the natural resources, in order to determine the zones
which could present potential mineral resources from August 2nd to August
22nd, 1994: ZoNéCo countryside; study of the underlying structure and the
nature of the crust of the basins of Fairway and New Caledonia in 2004:
ZoNéCo; study lots of sub-surface and surface water: Pandora in 2012.
|In 2007, lifeboat station SNSM of
Noumea receives a most powerful 2nd class boat SNS 270, 10.50 meters
long, been driven by 2 IVECO engines of 330 CV enabling her to reach a
maximum speed of 28 knots. This boat coming from the Sibiril yard at
Carantec, in Brittany and equipped by the workshops with the SNSM in
Saint-Malo, has an appreciably increased range, which extends from the
island of the Pines until Foa by sea of force 6 and makes it possible to
perform rescue operations outside the lagoon. The boat with hull number
SNS 270 is called “CROIX DU SUD”.
Boardsports are present in the forms
most varied in New Caledonia: surfing, windsurfing, kitesurf and
|Since many years, New Caledonia organized the greatest nautical tests:
the World Championship of Olympic board takes place in 1999 at Sainte-Marie, followed by Hobie Cat 16
World Championship in 2002; the South Pacific Games (since 2011 simply
Pacific Games) and the Pacific Mini-Games were organized three times: in 1966, in 1987 and in
|The World Championship makes stage every year in
Noumea on the Point Magnin beach: Teri Kite Surf Pro, last stage of the
world circuit, crowns the world champions of the discipline at the end one
week of speed crossing, best tricks and freestyle.
||New Caledonia is a melting pot of windsurf with
the many international champions of the discipline born there- Robert
Teriitehau, Michel Quintin - New Caledonia accommodates each year
international competitions, like the “Trophée des Alizés" (Trophy
of the Trade winds).
|Hobie Cat 14 and Hobie Cat 16 have as main
features a very bent banana shaped hull., “punts”
outside and “convex” inside, which makes it possible these boats to
sail without drifts. Hobie 14 is a boat similar to the 16 but they are usually
sold without jib in their initial version. The 14 are the first model of
the range Hobie Cat and her sails are smaller even if they have the same
form. The 14 were conceived to be skipped by only one person using only a large
sail. Hobie 16 measures 5.05 meters (16.7 feet) length for 2.43
(7.11 feet) broad, has a mast of 7.92 m (26.6 feet) top but its weight
does not exceed 150 kg.Two Frenchwomen, Françoise Dettling and
Frédérique Pfeiffer, are world champions 2000 and 2002 in Hobie Cat 16
|Built in 1967 at Auckland, RAINBOW II
One Ton class yacht.
Boat of the third division in the 1967 Whangarei-Noumea race, she finishes eighth but beats all the boats of the second division. She gains
Sydney-Hobart the same year in compensated time, is engaged in the One Ton
race in Heligoland (2nd in 68, first in 69) then in Fastnet.
Founded in 1899 by the Cercle de la Voile de Paris, the One Ton Cup is
the oldest French trophy of sailing race, which rewarded in the
beginning the winner of the first regatta in real time for the boats
measuring a ton. The One Ton Cup designates since 1999 the World champion
of IC 45, (monotype of regatta of 14m length). It gathers approximately
twelve boats representing about ten countries and attracts the world elite
of the race as a crew.