Monday, 18 May 2009

Making the most of the space

We live on the third floor of this apartment building and I had a chuckle as I walked down the street the other day and turned around to see this. 

Max's swing seems pretty tame when you're on the balcony but I think this shot explains some of the amused expressions I've noticed on the neighbours faces during swinging sessions of late!

A weekend in Yate

A few months after we arrived in Noumea, we made our first trip to check out the Southern coast.  We drove down to a little place called Yate and stayed at the Gite Iya.  There's not much in Yate - a petrol station with a shop and a cafe (which is shut at the moment because of a dispute over the recent change of ownership) and a few little gites.  It's beautiful though - with a river running out to the sea and a coastline that runs from high hills straight into the sea.  It's pretty different to the much tamer west coast.

The Gite Iya has a little restaurant, a camp site with basic facilities and a few bungalows.  We had a little bathroom off the side of our bungalow but no hot water and the electricity seemed pretty intermittent.  It was all we needed though as the sea breeze kept us cool and the sea was gorgeous.  The campsite is right on a sheltered cove that had some good snorkelling.  The reef drops off at the end so you can be quite close in and still see some impressive critters.

We drove home the long way, taking our recently bought car over the mining roads.  That was a bit of a mistake...the map we had didn't show that the road was only packed down red dirt!  Actually - the road was fine, aside from a few scrapes to the bottom of the low-sitting Renault... We were treated to some magnificent views of the Pacific, the old mine at Goro that's now rusting into the sea and a few glimpses of the new, mega modern mine at Goro.  It still hasn't started production but will be mining and processing nickel on site.  A first apparently - and pretty controversial!  A while ago there was a sulfuric acid leak that apparently wiped out a river...I almost feel sorry for New Caledonia where the people will forever be weighing up the pros and cons of sucking out the minerals from their land.  Moolah vs nature...

Sunday, 3 May 2009

A trip to Ilot Tenia

This was a long weekend and we made the most of it by heading up the coast on Friday and jumping in a boat to go out to Ilot Tenia.  We started the day reasonably early and were on the road soon after 7am.  After heading up to Bout d' Brousse at Bourake (about 1.5 hours from Noumea) we got into a fast zodiac out to the island.  

Although Max and his good friend Murphy both had a bit of a squeal on the way out there - they soon chilled a bit and by the end they were both telling us stories about how the boat went WHEEEEEeeeee!

The island's a marine reserve and the snorkeling was great.  Lots of big fish and a beautiful coral reef.  I think the array of coral really showed what a healthy, living reef looks like.  We were pampered by Bout d'Brousse, with a great covered area to picnic in - they'll even turn the bbq and cook up a steak for you if you bring it up. 

Next time we'll bring our gear and camp up there.  It would be a spectacular place to wake up!