On our cruise, our first port of call was Nouema. After sailing for 60 hours without seeing land, when we docked at Noumea harbour, I was really excited. The morning we reached Nouema, I opened our window and was so happy to be at the port. As fun as it was to go around the Carnival Spirit doing various things, being on a boat for a long time gives you a feeling as if you are always moving or swaying.
AS told me that is what being drunk feels like. I have never been drunk in my life so I don’t know how it feels but if that is what being drunk feels like I don’t want to be drunk ever.
On the morning we arrived in Noumea, there was an audible excitement around the cruise. We had arrived somewhere beautiful with blue water and lots of history.
There were heaps of things one could do while in Nouemea like taking a ‘Tchoo Tchoo Train’ tour, do a city tour, do a village tour and many more but we didn’t want to think much so we booked a whole day tour to Amedee Island.
We had heard that Amedee Island was really beautiful so I was looking forward to snorkeling and geared up for that. Our tour included the following things.
- Glass Bottom Boat ride
- Reef Exploration Cruise
- Lighthouse visit
- Sarong tying demonstration
- Coconut tree climbing demonstration
Island Lunch included:
- Welcome cocktail
- Buffet lunch with wine – during a South Pacific folkloric show
- Coffee and Tea
So after breakfast we went to the meeting point from where we were to catch a bus to a smaller boat and then to Amedee Island. The Amedee Island is a natural marine reserve, situated on the New Caledonian barrier reef, in the biggest lagoon in the world. And this ‘secret’ paradise was classified as a unique UNESCO heritage site in 2009.
As we exited the ship, we were greeted with a landscape of skyscrapers and yachts. We had reached the rather westernized capital city of the French territory of New Caledonia: Noumea. There was a photographer who was taking our photo with local people as we were getting off the ship.
There were buses from a company called Mary D which was taking us on a short bus trip to board the ferry. The boat was called, Mary D Princess which took 45 minutes to get to the Amedee Island. As we got closer to the Island, we saw the beauty blue water and white lighthouse. I knew that we were going to have a great day as the water was crystal clear.
When we got on the Island, I could see why they called it Paradise. The water was crystal clear and I could see fishes swimming near the shore but one has to be careful as there were sharp pieces of coral, dead leaves, and the odd piece of broken glass everywhere. I was glad that we packed our reef shoe so we didn’t have to worry about all that at all.
As there were many activates set for the day we decided to go and visit the light house first before getting into the water.
We climbed to the top of the 150 years old lighthouse – all 241 steps. The lighthouse was built in the 1860′s in France by Napoleon III and transported to the Island. It stands 56 metres tall and is the second highest lighthouse in the world.
By the time we made our way up the tight spiral staircase to the top, I was huffing and puffing but once I was on the balcony, I knew all the effort was worth it. Fighting against the wind we opened the solid iron door and we saw an amazing view of the lagoon, reef, and the little islands.
The water looked just amazing and people on the island very tiny.
We went around the tiny balcony of the lighthouse and once we rested and enjoyed the view, it was time to come down as there were many more things on our list before going back to our ship. Coming down was rather easy compared to climbing up.
Next, we decided to take a ferry ride to explore a part of the barrier reef where we were told we might see turtles, rays, or dolphins. There were not many people on board so we went outside to deck hoping for a better view. Once we were in the correct area, the boat stopped and the guide threw breads. Once the bread was in the water heaps of fish came.
Unfortunately we didn’t see any turtles since we can’t control what wildlife we would see. So we made our way back to the island.
By that time, it was almost time for lunch so went to the lunch area where there were served a huge array of salads, fruits, seafood, hot dishes and ice-cream, buffet style, while performers entertained us with local traditional music and dance.
As it was Christmas Eve so Santa came in a speed boat with lollies for kids.
After a scrumptious buffet lunch and a display of dancing, we decided to swim and snorkel as that was the real reason we choose the particular trip. The water was just beautiful, you didn’t have to swim far to see beautiful corals and colourful fishes.
We also saw lots of while/colourless fish which almost blended in with the water and of course the water snake. They told us that the snake doesn’t bite until we annoy them so I was very excited to swim with them. They were black and light brown in colour and I couldn’t keep up with them.
After swimming and snorkeling we were really tried so decided we should go on Glass bottom boat. I was a bit sceptical at this point, as our previous experience with a glass bottom boat in Thailand had not been very fruitful. When we got on the boat I was happy to see that they had a huge glass bottom, and already suckerfish had stuck themselves to the bottom of the boat enjoying the free ride.
As we went further out into the ocean, they fed food from tubes on the boat and heaps of fishes like black and white zebra fish, butterfly fish, and amazing multi-coloured fish, blue Nemo and many other fishes appeared, To our excitement we also saw turtles multiple times and it was just amazing.
Everyone one the boat were happy with the trip.
Back on the Island, there was coconut tree climbing and coconut cutting demonstration happening. I watched and tasted the freshly cut coconut. It was really yummy and definitely fresh. Then we went to the only souvenir shop in the island to see if we could buy anything.
Before long, our time on Amedee Lighthouse Island was over and it was time to return once more to our ferry for journey back to Noumea.
Because the tour was all day, we had left the ship at 8.30am and got back only 15 mins before sail away, we didn’t really have time to explore Noumea proper this time. I wished I had more time to get to know it a bit more, and understand its people. But both I and AS were satisfied with our day and couldn’t wait to have a hot shower and go to dinner as we were famished after an eventful day.
Take care everyone ,
M from nepaliaustralian