Sunday, November 8, 2015

Exploring Lifou, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia

I am completely overwhelmed visually! The color of the water here in the Loyalty Islands of New Caledonia is the most beautiful cerulean blue I have ever seen in nature. Words and photographs can not begin to describe it. I have used my water color cerulean blue when painting, but that doesn't even come close to the real thing. I am in awe!
If only you could see the real thing!
 The photo above is a shot taken straight down from the side of the boat. I think you can even see my shadow on the bottom on the white sand. That is about 30 feet below the surface! That is how clear it is here. I think the Loyalties have just moved to the top of my list of favorite places we have  been. It used to be the Tuamotu Archipelago in French Polynesia. Interesting: my two favorite places are French!

And look at that white sand beach. We have truly found the picture perfect South Pacific islands! Many times we have been somewhat disappointed in the beaches or lack of them. Many of the islands are just mountains of volcanic rock so they really don't look like the tourist information brochures! And the black volcanic sand is not that appealing to me.
I would come back here in a heartbeat! There is not much to do here. There are not many villages or resorts that we can see from here, but this is a very large island. The nearest town to our anchorage is a bus ride across the narrow part of the island. That is where we went shopping for provisions and phone SIM cards.

We walked through the village here at Baie Du Santal looking for the store that sold baguettes. It seems we are always in search of fresh bread. And it doesn't get any better than baguettes in the French islands throughout the world!

The streets are narrow but paved. There is no signage so we just followed the road as directed and made the first left turn up ahead. Passing along this road, we saw some traditional round houses with the tall peaked roof. In this blog last year, I posted a number of photos of the Kanak houses and discussed their culture.

At the far end of the street stood a little shack - that was the store. At first we were not sure since there was no signage. Once we peeked in, we knew we had arrived! There were loaves of baguettes stacked on a shelf. Finally - bread!

We bought our baguettes and of course, carried them in hand as they do! No plastic bags! That makes it soft and tough. Although, I do like a long plastic baguette bag when transporting it in the dinghy to keep it dry.

Most people just walk holding their baguettes or have them sticking out of a backpack. After a while, you just don't work about dirty hands and germs!

We found a couple of places where the ladies where holding markets and bought a few items from them. One enterprising lady had fresh kumala and brioche for sale. And an artist had his carvings for sale. There were also preparing brochette for lunch if we came back. But we didn't. Once you get everything into the dinghy and get back to the boat, you just want to stay put for a while!

The capital of the territory is Noumea where we spent several weeks last year. They have a number of great museums, a cultural center with outstanding architecture and a botanical and zoological park. All worth a visit. We visited them last year and may repeat several this year. I also want to go to their aquarium as it is supposed to be a good one.

The following is some information from Wikipedia to give you a feel for New Caledonia:
"New Caledonia (French: Nouvelle-Calédonie)[nb 1] is a special collectivity of France located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, 1,210 km (750 mi) east of Australia and 16,136 km (10,026 mi) east of Metropolitan France.[4] The archipelago, part of the Melanesia subregion, includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Chesterfield Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of Pines, and a few remote islets.[5] The Chesterfield Islands are in the Coral Sea. Locals refer to Grande Terre as Le Caillou ("the pebble").[6]
New Caledonia has a land area of 18,576 km2 (7,172 sq mi). Its population of 268,767 (Aug. 2014 census)[2] consists of a mix of Kanak people (the original inhabitants of New Caledonia), people of European descent (Caldoches and Metropolitan French), Polynesian people (mostly Wallisians), and Southeast Asian people, as well as a few people of Pied-Noir and Maghreban descent.

The Kanak society has several layers of customary authority, from the 4,000-5,000 family-based clans to the eight customary areas (aires coutumières) that make up the territory.[23] Clans are led by clan chiefs and constitute 341 tribes, each headed by a tribal chief. The tribes are further grouped into 57 customary chiefdoms (chefferies), each headed by a head chief, and forming the administrative subdivisions of the customary areas.[23]
The Customary Senate is the assembly of the various traditional councils of the Kanaks, and has jurisdiction over the law proposals concerning the Kanak identity.[24]
Under the Noumea Accord, signed in 1998 following a period of secessionist unrest in the 1980s and approved in a referendum, New Caledonia is to hold a second referendum on independence between 2014 and 2018.[27]
The official name of the territory, Nouvelle-Calédonie, could be changed in the near future due to the accord, which stated that "a name, a flag, an anthem, a motto, and the design of banknotes will have to be sought by all parties together, to express the Kanak identity and the future shared by all parties."[28] To date, however, there has been no consensus on a new name for the territory.[29] New Caledonia has increasingly adopted its own symbols, choosing an anthem, a motto, and a new design for its banknotes.[30] In July 2010, New Caledonia adopted the Kanak flag, alongside the existing French tricolor, as dual official flags of the territory.[31] The adoption made New Caledonia one of the few countries or territories in the world with two official national flags.[31] The decision to use two flags has been a constant battleground between the two sides and led the coalition government to collapse in February 2011.[27

Of course, the chocolate cake was a hit with us!

The kids just hung around the beach to check out these
white people who invaded on the yachts!

Can it get any better than this!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you added comments to the blog. I'm having a great time keeping up with your adventures and living vicariously through you. we finally found the other email that was tucked in a different list and was able to purge it. Yea! you shouldn't get any more marketing messages.
    Thanks for sharing the beautiful water - it is completely amazing and the bread looks fabulous too. Guess I'm hungry.


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