We left the tranquillity of the Iles of Pines and headed back towards Noumea as the owners had to leave the boat in a few days. All around the main island of New Caledonia lays a reef, it is apparantly the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world (Belize also claims to have the 2nd largest barrier reef !). Sometimes only a few hundred meters offshore it can extend to over 20 nautical miles off shore. Within the reef lays numerous sandy islands just waiting for people to go and become Robinson Crusoe for a day or so, it was these islands that we would explore on the way back.
Wind in our sails we were off again –
The first island we stopped at was Kauore, it was recommended as a good place to stop as the anchorage was mostly sheltered but unfortunately the wind had changed slightly meaning it could have blown us back onto a reef, not a good place to stop for the night. Sadly also a shark attack had happened a couple of weeks before hand, a Frenchman had been swimming when a bull shark had bitten him more than once, a very rare incident but another good reason to move on !!
No habitants on Kauore Island –
We moved onto the Island of Ua which gave us better protection from the wind and therefore a better anchorage for the night. The owner went snorkelling and me and the skipper took the dingy to the beach to explore.
No inhabitants other than the birds and turtles who sometimes come here to hatch. As we were walking around something caught my eye in the water, a fin was sticking up out the water with a black tip on it – a black tipped reef shark was prowling in the shalliw waters !! White tipped and black tipped reef sharks are harmless creatures normally laying on the bottom but as dusk was falling it was probably time to get active. It cruised up and down, probably a meter long it wasn’t going to do anybody any damage but we told the owner who was still snorkelling of its presence.
The sun started to settle so it was time to return to the boat –
The next day we moved to the Island of Amedee, a natural marine reserve and a day trip destination for some coming from Noumea.
Exposed reef at low tide –
Wilson found on the island –
The place had a small cafe to grab a snack and drink, fortunately we were there when they did the ‘climb a coconut tree’ display and the ‘how to wear a sarong in a variety of different ways’ display, both very educational. When the day trippers departed so did the staff so we returned to the boat for sundowners and dinner before night fell. One thing we had noticed was how many small black tipped reef sharks congregated around the back of the boat, clearly use to boats coming in for the night they were hopeful for a few scraps.
We set off the next morning for our last stop before Noumea, the Island of Maitre. This was one of the closest islands to Noumea and therefore in easy reach of the capital city, because of this an expensive resort had been built there and the villas overlooking the sea were a few hundred dollars a night. The were planty of moorings outside so they clearly welcomed boats on a regular occurrence.
We had lunch in the resort and as we thought it might be a bit pricey I ordered just a ham sandwich –
The resort was a nice place and we had a couple of drinks near the pool in the afternoon.
It was a good last few days going to some out of the way places, seeing turtles, fish, sharks at close quarters, having whole islands to ourselves and generally enjoying life !!
We returned to Noumea and enjoyed a Number 1 !!