Thursday, March 30, 2006

New Caledonia Photos part deux

On Lifou, in the Loyalty Islands. This is Le Grotte de la Joyeux Luengoni.

Below is the inside of the cave. A French nature TV show did an episode on the cave, and made the local tour guide, Noel Pia, something of a celebrity. They dived to the bottom of the underground lake, which went down 150 metres.

Here is the view from Chez Noel Pia. This is the place where I was abandoned at night by the owner. I think the French nature show could have done an episode on the insect life inside the bathrooms of the guesthouse. It was hands down the most squalid place I've ever stayed at.

Ma Famille Francais, with whom I did the cave tour with Noel (in the middle).

New Caledonia Photos

Now that I'm back to reality and proper internet connection, I'm going to start uploading some of my photos, beginning with New Cal.

Ouvea, in the Loyalty Islands. Thats right doggie, 25 km of beach, and not a single person on it. Not even another set of footprints to be found.

The southern tip of Ouvea, a protected lagoon where you can see dolphins, turtles, tunas the size of small whales, and occasional volcanic debris floating down from Vanuatu.

The one daily activity for Kanak (indigenous New Caledonians) men. I once asked them where all the woman were, and the guys patiently explained that the women all had to work, and thats why they could never play volleyball or sit on the beach until midnight, drinking wine out of boxes, as all the men do.

Some of my rasta friends on Ouvea. They were extremely friendly people, even though I didn't speak very good French and they didn't speak any English, we managed to have some laughs.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The (premature) end

I'm sad to inform you, Constant Reader, that this will be the last post of my trip. I've just been in Vanuatu for a week, and after spending 5 days on Tanna island, sleeping next to an active volcano and all sorts of fun stuff, I came back to "civilization"/Port Vila, the capital, and upon opening my email received some very sad news from home. So I'm heading back to Vancouver, as quick as possible, which will probably see me returning on Sunday. I'm going to make the most of my few days here, and get a couple more dives in, visit the Survivor beach here in Vanuatu, and maybe do some more surfing in Fiji. When I get home, I'll have all the time and bandwidth I need to post my photos here for all to see and (hopefully) enjoy.

So until I'm back in the Great White North,


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Sacré bleu! In New Caledonia

Within an hour of arriving in Noumea, I realised that this would be my worst encounter with the language barrier. Nobody here speaks english. Even in the tourist industry, they speak French first, then Japanese. But I feel pretty good now, having spent the past 10 days in the outer islands and speaking at most 2 hours worth of english in that time. When I arrived, I understood about 5% of what was said to me, and now its up to about 25%.
But its totally worth the hardship. This country is absolutely beautiful, and, I might add, the French Caledonians are the most beautiful girls I have ever seen in one place. It is quite lonely though. For all of those 10 days in the islands, I didn't once have any other guests at the same hostel or campsite. That was a streak of 5 different hotels, on 3 different islands, all totally deserted. At one place the owner even left at night, and I was completely by myself, excluding the local stray dogs. But it was all about the experiences: last night I sampled a local delicacy, le rousette, which is french for bat. And believe me, it was definitely a bat. They left all the skin on, the little claws on the wings, and all the innards intact. Surprisingly there's not a lot of meat on a bat, and so today, being back in the capital Noumea, I felt compelled to have a little comfort food at McDonalds.
I'll try to get some pictures up before i leave, but the internet, like everything else in this country, is very expensive. I'll be off to Vanuatu on Sunday.