I’ve decided I need to win the lottery and buy an island, or at least sometime in the future have a holiday home in some place like this! Monday was spent wandering through suburban streets to find a boulangerie that I had seen good reviews about, only to find it closed when I eventually got there! Frustration didn’t last long however, as I walked around the corner to a group of shops and found a café where I ordered a “Continental”: café au choix, jus de fruits pressés, du pain, et des pâtisseries.
I’m constantly learning new things about this country, including that a lot of shops are closed on Mondays and it appears to be optional for cars to stop at zebra crossings… You basically just wait until someone decides to stop and let you cross, or until everyone has gone past.
Afterwards I walked back along the coast all the way back to the apartment to grab togs and a towel and head across the street to la plage. It was a stunning day and I sat on the beach people-watching and reading before eventually deciding to get in the water, which was cold at first but easy to get used to (unlike New Zealand’s waters at times!) and beautifully clear. Later, when I was talking to my AirBnB host about what I did that day, she asked if I had seen any snakes (les serpents – particularly the native Tricot Rayé, a venomous but mostly harmless striped sea snake). Thankfully, I hadn’t!
A Tricot Rayé at L’Aquarium des Lagons
On Tuesday I walked back to Anse Vata to get a taxi boat across to Île aux Canards – a little islet so close that you can see it’s bright red parasols from the mainland. This was probably the highlight of the trip so far! I decided to pay to use a transat (beach lounger) and parasol for the day as there isn’t much shade elsewhere and the beach was made up of a lot of dead coral which isn’t the most comfortable! They are quite pricey (about $20 NZD each for the day) but hey, I’m on holiday, gotta treat myself! I also wanted a coffee and forgot what I had been told multiple times in French class about coffee, so I mistakenly ordered a cappuccino, thinking “this will be as close to a flat white as I can get, right?”. Wrong. I was handed a cup of coffee with a mountain of chantilly cream on top! My mistake! I should have ordered a crème or a simple café au lait. Really, I should have just stuck to black coffee as I’ve found that milky coffees overseas never really match up to New Zealand standards… (All Blacks who? Coffee is what really bring my patriotism out!) (Okay, okay, Australia can do a decent flat white too I guess…)
Note the following photos are all from my trusty iPhone 6 as I didn’t want to bring my camera to the island. When I was actually there, I realised it would have been fine to take my camera but I was a bit nervous beforehand because of the taxi boat ride and I also didn’t think I’d take too many pictures!
Île aux Canards has a snorkelling “path” marked by numbered buoys that you swim between. It guides you around the reef, avoiding the more fragile coral and allowing you to get an amazing view of the stunning coloured coral and fascinating sea life. I was extremely stoked to see a sea turtle in the wild! It was just chilling at the bottom, very unfazed by the humans floating on the surface pointing at it in amazement. After I got out I heard an Australian guy telling his friends that he had seen a massive reef shark and to be honest, I’m not too sad that I missed out on seeing that one! I’m definitely going to have to invest in a GoPro or something similar before the next time I go snorkelling, there would have been some amazing shots out there (especially of the turtle).
Îlot Maître in the distance, where there’s a resort, more good snorkelling, but apparently a lot more sea snakes!
Île aux Canards is also home to a lot of sculpture artwork which is dotted around the island.
After returning to the mainland, I went and bought a fresh juice (orange, mangue, et ananas – delicieux!) and walked back to the apartment along Baie des Citrons.
Today, I didn’t end up taking many photos as I walked all the way into town to do some shopping but a combination of rain, a headache, and not really seeing much that interested me in the centre ville led me to catch a bus back to Anse Vata where I had a Croque Monsieur for lunch before returning to my room for a lie down. I did visit a chocolaterie called Tonton Jules in the centre ville which was quite nice, I was given a free chocolate to try and I then ordered a tea, which happened to come with three more chocolates on the side (not complaining…) and only cost the equivalent of about $5 NZD – definitely a bargain in this town!
I’m hoping the weather fines up tomorrow as it’s my last full day in Nouméa before I head towards the mountains to Dumbéa for the next three nights! My plan for tomorrow is to go to the Parc Zoologique et Forestier Michel Corbasson (Zoo & Botanical Gardens) to see some flora and fauna, and then to the Centre Cultural Tjibaou (Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre) to see some world-renowned architecture and learn more about the culture and traditions of the native Kanak people here.