Thursday, July 11, 2013

Isle of Pines New Caledonia

The cruise ship Pacific Pearl is a comfortable ship for passengers with a large cabin and balcony, which is what we had.   I think I heard that there were around 2,000 passengers aboard, many of them school age kids on their holidays.
There are a number of eating places ranging from buffet meals to full A la carte dining.  There is one restaurant which charges for entry and meals which I figured was a private venture on board.   Other ‘services’ such as weight loss classes etc etc seemed to be private ventures.
Many of the activities on board did not interest us.  Things a such as Bingo and trivia competitions we gave a miss.  That being said there is plenty to keep oldies busy and interested.  They even had kid-minding activities.
                                           Brother Graham on Pacific Pearl

The main port of call in New Caledonia is Noumea.  It is not an unattractive place and there are some interesting French Colonial buildings and a very nice harbour.   Next year New Caledonia is to vote on independence from the French.  They have a complex voting system and there is considerable concern from  French citizens in New Caledonia that they will lose their little colony.

The ship spent a day at The Isle of Pines some distance from Noumea.  The ship dropped anchor about 5 kilometres off shore and five tenders took loads of around 100 passengers each run for an island visit.  They ran continuously to and from the ship all day.  

Captain James Cook discovered the island in 1774.   It was probably a lookout in the rigging who actually first discovered it and spent the rest of his life whingeing about Cooky taking the credit.  In reality the natives on the island first discovered it.  Cook didn’t land on it but realised it was inhabited when he saw smoke. 
The name comes from the native pine trees (Araucaria Conifer) all over the island.

                                            A flat islet showing the pines
                    Channel 10 regular, the Bondi Vet  doing a P&O TV promo

We became regulars at one of the dozen bars on the ship.  Two stewards looked after us with good 
                                                 humour and pleasant conversations.

                             Mary is from The Phillipines and Lan is from India

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