Tag Archives: swimming with fishes

Noumea and Amedee Island – New Caledonia

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.

Activities included:

  • 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.

Amedee Island (1)

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.

Amedee Island (17)New Caledonia (10)

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.

Amedee Island (14)Amedee Island (3)

As there were many activates set for the day we decided to go and visit the light house first before getting into the water.

Amedee Island (13)

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.

Amedee Island (8)

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.

Amedee Island (11)

The water looked just amazing and people on the island very tiny.

Amedee Island (10)New Caledonia (11)

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.

Amedee Island (12)

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.

Amedee Island (9)

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.

Amedee Island (5)

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.

Amedee Island (16) Amedee Island (18) Amedee Island (19)

As it was Christmas Eve so Santa came in a speed boat with lollies for kids.

Amedee Island (20)

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.

Amedee Island (22) Amedee Island (21) Amedee Island (15)

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.

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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.

Amedee Island (7)

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.

Amedee Island (6)

Everyone one the boat were happy with the trip.

Amedee Island (4)New Caledonia (12)

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.

Amedee Island (2)

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

XOXO

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Our Trip to Vanuatu

This post is 2 weeks overdue but finally I managed to finish it 🙂

Finally when we landed in Vanuatu I felt really happy. As soon as we got out of the plane, I could feel the humid air against my face. I knew we were going to have a great holiday at this place.

The airport looked very rural. No big walls or modern equipments. Just open fields with a one story building. It was Christmas day but there were no decorations. We lined up to clear immigration and picked up our bags to go to our hotel.

We caught a taxi to our resort. We realised while in the taxi that we should have changed some money to Vatu as the taxi driver informed us that he won’t take Aussie dollars. When we had done our research we had found on the internet forums that Aussie dollar was good but it was different story there. We told the driver we would try to change our money at the resort.  So when we got to the resort a guy came to take our luggage and we asked him if we can change some money. He asked to give him the money and was backed in 5 minutes with the equivalent Vatu. The bad thing was the exchange rate seemed less than the official rate. We paid the taxi driver and checked in. It was when we were checking in that we were told the rate which made us realised that the guy who had seemed to help us change our money has cheated us a bit with a lower rate. Just 5 bucks in Aussie dollars but a lesson learned, never trust anyone easily. We later found he had exchanged the money in a nearby store and we got a better rate there.

When we reached our room I was really happy as it looked comfortable and clean. Lots of flowers were used to decorate the bed. Like any tropical place, it had tiled floor to help keep the room cool. We then relaxed, took a shower and went to explore the place. They seemed to have a nice restaurant, a bar and a beautiful pool. When we got back to our room we were hungry so we ordered room service. While we waited for our food, we watched TV. I was surprised to see many Australian channels available. I felt like I was still in Australia.

It took a while for room service to arrive but when it did it was really yummy. As it was already evening we decided to relax and plan our next few days. There were many brochures we had to go through to choose our activities but most of them seemed similar like island getaway with snorkelling and lunch. We thought it would be fun to start with a round island tour so we went to the reception to book our first tour.

Our tour, the Native round island tour, was supposed to be the next morning but due to a miscommunication between the reception and the tour organisers it was pushed to the next day so we went to the Hideaway Island instead. The place was only 20 minutes bus ride and 5 minutes ferry ride from our resort.

Once we were there I realised why everyone had advised us to take reef shoe with us. Thank god that we did. It was a beautiful island with beautiful blue water but the beach had very coarse rubbles washed out from sea along with death corals. It was near impossible to walk bare foot on the beach.  It was a warm day so I change and jumped into the water. It was just beautiful. This is the place where there is an underwater post office. We put our snorkelling gears on and swam with the fishes. We first started near the shore to get a hang of the waves and later were taken further in into the sea. It was really beautiful with so many colourful fishes.

Compared to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia I found that the corals were dead and brown but there were a high number of fishes and sea animals like sea cucumber starfish and sea-horse. I even got to hold a star fish in my own hands. Thanks to my waterproof camera we managed to take lots of beautiful underwater shots.

Our guide had a great trick to invite fishes. He had a bottle with fish food so when he dropped these food, the fishes came in large numbers to him giving us a great opportunity to take photos and allowing us to be so close to them.

Finally after having lunch at the island, we came back to our resort. We ordered room service again and enjoyed our dinner in front of the TV.

The next day we went for the Round Island tour  which goes around Port Villa to see different villages and their culture. It was a really informative tour as the guide was a native himself and was able to show us the real life in Vanuatu.

That evening we went to the town to have a wonderful dinner in a restaurant call Chill. I had lamb with some mashed potatoes while AS ordered chicken and vegetables. We finished off with a huge chocolate soufflé.

The next day was AS’s birthday which was really a good day for me. I surprised him with a cake in the morning during breakfast and then we went Abseiling. That evening we went and had a Melanesian dinner while the locals performed some traditional dances for us. It rained that night for the first time while we were there.

The day before we left, we went and did the helmet dive. It was a great experience to be with fish and sea creatures up close and personal. It was only for a couple of hours so the rest of the day we just relaxed, visited the local markets and had lots of fun.

Over all, this holiday was awesome. Will love to go back there one day 🙂

Click here for more photos.