Friday, 28 April 2017

Cruise Ship Destination: Isle of Pines, New Caledonia

We have been busy since our cruise, and already have the next one booked to look forward too. We enjoy traveling and also being at home with family. Since we like to go away, it means that a lot of things need doing at home, so we have been concentrating of that the past few weeks, but.... we will be off again soon.

Day 9 of the cruise saw us visiting ISLE OF PINES. The island was named by Captain Cook, and although he never came ashore, he obviously noted the number of Norfolk Pine trees growing on island and the many smaller islands in the area. Isle of Pines only has one village and many beautiful swimming areas. So after breakfast we made our way to the tenders to explore.
The ship has three tours operating, ranging from $35.75US to $125.75US. If not doing a tour from the ship, the locals are situated along the beach selling 90min and 2 hour tours for $25AUS. Australian, American and French Pacific Francs are welcome at all the stalls. One can also purchase cooked lobsters, crabs, or fresh coconuts – if one is hungry! A beach dress here costs about $25-$35 AUS, depending on the stall.
 The island became a French penal colony in 1872, not of convicts, but French political refugees. The refugees were not forced to work, but worked for wages. It was the refugees who built most of the roads and buildings on the island. Prior to being declared a penal colony in 1872, the island was known as an island for exiles. In 1871 about 1000 Roman Catholics, fleeing from Mare, lived there, and in 1878 over 700 Kanak insurgents from La Foa were settled there. From 1887 it became a place of punishment with repeat offenders from France being banished there for life.
Walking up the first road from the jetty and following the boutique signs along a dirt road one comes to a colonial building which is now the Gendarmerie (Police Station). The boutique is a local souvenir shop, a little overpriced (compared with Mystery Island). The markets along the beach were a little cheaper – not much, just a little. We followed the dirt track back to the beach that was beside the jetty. 
There is a lot of evidence of the former penal colony with stone walls and barred windows still remaining.
We didn't do any tours, maybe next time. We did spend time on the beach. 
There is lovely beach to the left of the jetty, that most passengers set up and swam at, but there is another more beautiful beach further along on the calmer side. 
Both sides were calm, but the beach area further along was great for snorkeling. 
I did not stay for the snorkeling, instead opting to go back to the ship to enjoy the peace and quiet, while others were enjoying the island.
So this was day 9 of our cruise.

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