We pulled into port during the night as when I awoke I looked out the balcony window and saw shipping containers, smoke stacks and the nickle mill across the bay. When the ship pulls into port in Noumea it pulls into a commercial shipping yard, not a terminal or quay like in Sydney. They warn you on the ship that it isn’t going to be pretty, but I expected that from previous travels to Noumea. What I don’t understand is why they don’t go to Noumea first, get that city out of the way and the go on to the more prettier islands. If it were up to me I would go Noumea, Mare, Lifou and finish with the stunner of Isle of Pines.
We got up pretty early as we knew that Noumea was our only chance and cheap WiFi, had a quickish but big breakfast and then headed out as we didn’t need tender stickers that day. We caught a bus which took us 10 minutes down the road to the “Quay” where there were some small shops and cafes and lots of tours you could book. There looked like some fun buggy things and scooters you could hire for the day but we decided to take a hour and a half tour on a train thingy. There were two stops. The first was a abandoned youth centre whose roof was taken off during a cyclone a few years ago and whose exterior was now used for street art practice. I guess we went up there because of the view back down the hill and over Noumea. You could pretty much sea the whole city from there. After that stop we went for a long ride over to another look out where Americans had mounted cannons during WWII I think. Correct me if I’m wrong. The drive there was beautiful! We drove along the coast close to the water, you could see its purity and the beautiful colours. The sun was shining, the wind was pleasant and everyone was out for lunch. They smiled and waved as out tour train/car thingy drove by and both Dave and myself started to wonder if it was worth seeking jobs here. This look out was beautiful, you could see the end of the coral reef, Amede island, Isle de Canard, the hotel district, the roof tops of houses, a sports oval, and beautiful blue sea all around. What a paradise! After this stop we were taken past the hotel district where I spent a lot of my childhood holidays at “Club Med Noumea” which is now “Le Meridien Noumea”, past a restaurant which had a glass floor so you could see the coral under neath! Past some french Rivera inspired apartments and back the the Quay.
Here we found the free WiFi we were waiting for for so long. Dave bought a coffee and we spent at least 30 mins trying to log on. Once on we only had maybe 10 mins to check our emails, our bank accounts and update our status on Facebook to let all our friends know the wonderful news of our engagement. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay on long to get their reactions as we had to head back to the ship for lunch before our afternoon stand up paddle excursion.
What a treat that was! Well worth all the money we payed for it! Just a small group of young adults (some very young and immature) out on stand up paddle boards for 2 hours or so. The water was a little rocky but not that much. We were right over a coral reef at a resort which used to have bungalows extending out into the water (The wood was too rotten to have occupants reside in them any more 😦 ). It was some of the most amazing coral I have see yet, didn’t see any fishes until the water calmed right down and it was like looking through turquoise tinted glass, I saw lots of black and white angle fish at that point in time. I had never felt so blissful and content in all my life. Earlier in the session both David and I managed to see a sea turtle! It was swimming just a head of us under the water.
We went back to the ship after the session ended convinced that we would buy boards for ourselves when we got home. It was about 2 hours before the ship was set to sail when we got back. We had our showers and head out to the balcony, We did some reading and before long David gave up and went back inside for a nap. I was out there still reading when the tug boat came out and helped us pull away from port. We were on our way to Mare, our final destination on this holiday. The clouds were coming in by that point and I was a little disappointed as I had tickets to Yejele Beach for the next day.
That night there was a storm, which didn’t seem to increase the rocking of the boat at all. I don’t think we really noticed it until someone mentioned it. We decided to call it an early night after an eye opening dinner at Empire (it was Mexican night, David and I usually don’t eat Mexican but what the hell, we were on holiday).