Last night’s dinner in the Silk Harvest was very nice indeed, the portions were very deceiving and we came away totally stuffed. It was great to catch up with our table mates and fellow back to backers and were totally surprised when we came to settle the bill that we had been there over 2½ hours. A lovely evening and thanks for your company Frank & Susan.
This morning we arrived at Noumea just before 8:00 and our first impressions were that it reminded us of the sail in to St. Johns in Antigua. We were greeted by locals doing a native dance on the dockside and it’s been a while since we have witnessed anything like that.
As we were docked in a commercial area of the port we were provided with a free shuttle into town and Celebrity again utilised their numbered ticket system which presumably is to reduce numbers on the dockside.
As we didn’t have a tour organised we fed my Bellini addiction and then proceeded ashore and then took the shuttle which dropped us off at a small visitor center. We picked up a local map and made a few enquires about which was the best beach and method of getting to it. The main language here is French and fortunately for us most of the people selling tours and bus tickets spoke good English so being able to communicate what we wanted wasn’t a problem.
Hoho bus was the recommended transport and either Anse Vata Beach or Lemon Beach, the latter being the smaller and more quieter. Lemon Beach it was and 20 minutes and 3 stops later we found ourselves on a nice quiet little beach.
Being a Saturday there were a few locals using it too and was very relaxing. The sand was quite coarse but not really an issue, it was just lovely to finally get into the sea. The temperature was really warm but there was quite a bit of cloud cover which occasionally produced some light drizzle and helped keep things nice a cool, all aided by a lovely coastal breeze.
We are not snorkellers but there seemed to be quite a few others partaking so can only assume that there was plenty to see under the water.
There were a lot of ships tours going to somewhere called Duck Island which is advertised as being an excellent snorkeling location and we could just about see it in the distance from our place on the beach along with the resort of Escapade Island which is a small coral atoll just off the coast. There were private tours available but opted to save our cash today.
Around 1:00 having accomplished our objective we rejoined the Hoho bus to complete the circuit and then returned to the ship for some lunch. Noumea is very picturesque but for me it didn’t seem to fulfil my preconceptions, if we ever come back then a trip to Escapade Island might be on the cards. I’m sure the island of Grande Terre has lots more to offer but I couldn’t find anything other than what the ship’s tours were selling. Considering what we were able to achieve in New Zealand then perhaps the locals should take some advice about making the most of what they have. It’s a large island and must have some gems somewhere. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed the visit but had anticipated much more.
The afternoon was spent relaxing in the sun until we were completely cooked and returned to the cabin to shower and get ready for the evenings events.