Monday, 23 February 2009

The lighthouse visitors and their lunch

Phare Amedee (or Amedee lighthouse) is one of the most popular and pushed touristy day trips in Noumea.  We'd been a little bit reticent about going - our imagined images of a screaming, overheated toddler and a crowded boat full of hot, bothered tourists put us off.

We're way too cynical.  We had a fabulous day!  It was hot and Max had one little tantrum - but a quick spin around the island in his mountain buggy (how can this iconic company be going bust?) with a dummy to suck on had him sorted out in no time.  

The lighthouse is a 45 minute boat-ride away.  Max spent the whole trip saying 'bateau' and pointing at each and every part of the boat.  We arrived and were amused by the massive fish that circled and thrashed about as they were fed bread from the wharf.  The water is a breathtaking range of blues and so, so warm.  

Perhaps the most surprising part of the trip was the way the trip's organised.  We have been frustrated and often angered by the lack of customer service and generally non-tourist friendly attitude here.  But this was fabulously well organised.  The team were full of smiles, helpful and the whole day was slick.  We were entertained by tahitian dancing, fire dancers, well fed and wined - with delicious prawns, salads and yummy treats.

Best of all, Max slept for 2 hours in the afternoon.  He was tucked up in his buggy in the shade of a few coconut palms.  The only thing that broke Charlie and my bliss as we swam, read and chilled out was the interesting visit of a friendly tricot raye...a very pretty little sea snake!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Bugs and crawlers

The landscape in New Caledonia looks like Australia - it's red and scrubby.  So cos it looks so much like Australia (and probably broke off from the Ozzy continent) I thought there would be lots of snakes and bugs here.

BUT - there aren't any snakes.  There's a sleepy boa that lives out on the Loyalty Islands but that's it! There are some freaky centipedes and some big spiders but nothing too nasty.  Here's a pic of an impressive spider that we had a good look at on Mare.

Cruisin' in da love boats

At least twice a week we're graced with the presence of an exciting and new cruise boat here in Noumea.  Town fills up with Ozzy tourists - wandering around, loudly testing their high school french and making hilarious exclamations about the high prices.  It's a bit a of a giggle being in town on a cruise day.  The cruisers are easily identifiable by the brightly coloured tags around their neck. We've seen a few looking hot and bothered not far from here - looking for the beach, a bit lost but determined to walk.  Midday lost in the burbs of Noumea isn't the most pleasant experience! Best to head straight to the beach or out to an island I reckon.

The cruise ships are massive and loom over the town like a brand new hotel hitched up to a watering post.  It's great watching them come in first thing in the morning.  They swing by our place and then head into the port for the day.   They leave early in the evening and often go to the Loyalty Islands.  The view from the boat as they head around the bays must be spectacular.  

I've become a bit obsessed with the whole cruise ship thing while we've been here and now I'm trying to find out if we can wangle our way onto a cruiser and head over to Australia on one.  I'd never been even the slightest bit interested before - but now I think that a few days on one would be great fun!