Five days on the Isle des Pins
04.10.2014 - 08.10.2014 23 °C
So we've done our first stretch of camping on the Isle of Pines. Named by Captain Cook for the tall Auraucaulis (Auraucalia columnaris) pines that grow along the shorelines. We felt at home in more than one way - a slow pace, everything within walking distance, and a luxury campsite at the Gite Nataiwatch that was tucked in a forested setting but five minutes from the beach.
As usual we didn't spend much time sitting around. We took an outrigger canoe ride to a nature reserve called the Piscine Naturelle. It was a bit chilly for snorkelling but the kids were thrilled to find brittle stars everywhere - I wasnt so thrilled with the poisonous cone shells everywhere. The next day we hiked to the top of the only mountain on the island. The rain came and we decided to rent a car and tour the rest of island - we toured caves, cultural sites (like the statue of Jesus surrounded by tribal totems - very fitting to sum up the native Kunie people that run this island), and poked around the tide pools and flats. We managed one afternoon of culural activities put on in honor of a giant cruise ship of tourists before taking thr ferry backmto Noumea.
After several dissappointing attempts to sample french cuisine in Noumea, we finally had some memorable meals. We were served the local delicacies of Bulime snails and unicorn fish. Still, we couldnt sample anymore because the effort involved in starving our children til 7:30 and then putting them to bed after 9:00 wasn't worth it. Here they are very rigid about the timing of meals and most daytime restaurants close at 5 pm and the dinner restaurants don't open until 7:30pm. On the island you had to order your food at least one hour before.
A great side trip and now we are off on three more weeks of camping around the Grande Terre. Life is good - our biggest worry is how to handle the stench of our sandals (if anyone has any tips let me know!)
This is what Neve wanted me to write:
I went to crab beach and found a ghost crab. It was very small, as small as my thumb nail. It was white.
I read five books today and I have made friends with three dogs. The big one is named Scratchy, the medium is called Smarty (because he is smart not for the candy), and the littlest one is called Dobby. They beg for food and play with us. Dobby is the best dog out of the three for listening.
We are playing with coolvines that look like wire but It was not wire.
I like camping!
Some pictures from the time we spent there: