Island Hopping

Published: April 16th 2018
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Island pines
Blog 28

Kuto, Ile des Pins, New Caledonia, April 16 ,2018 – Weather forecast: partly cloudy; temperature 26°C – 90% humidity, wind 17kts (5 Beaufort); passing rain shower in late afternoon

Today we dropped anchor in the bay off the town of Kuto, Ile des Pins, located in southern Melanesia. The island achieved its name after Captain James Cook mapped the island in 1774 and was impressed by the tall pine trees covering the hills which were clearly visible from his ship. It was reported to us that there is clear archaeological evidence that the islands were inhabited at least 4,000 years ago. In the later portion of the 1800’s the French government used the island as a penal colony. Today the island is home to 3,000 individuals and the primary industry is tourism.

Being at anchor means that we needed to use the ship’s tenders to ferry passengers ashore for the variety of scheduled excursions. Since our tour didn’t start until 1:00pm we grabbed a couple of sandwiches from the Lido and potato chips for a light picnic on the white sandy beach.

We opted for an overview

White sand beaches
tour that drove us around the island and which pointed out the local landmarks and essential historical points of interest. Included in the list were the Notre Dame de l’Assumption Church in Vao Village and the St. Maurice memorial. We also visited St. Joseph’s Bay, which is home to the traditional sailing outriggers made from the logs of the local pine known as kohu. Finally, we visited the natural Grotto of Queen Hortense where we walked through a wild tropical garden before reaching the limestone cave. The cave was once used as a place of refuge during past tribal conflicts.

Over the last two weeks both Brooke and I have suffered from air condition induced colds. My session is starting to clear but Brooke has had a relapse so after returning to the ship Brooke had a nap before we went out to the Lido for a light dinner.

Additional photos below
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Grotto entrance

Dark interior

Beached outrigger

Ready to sail


Notre Dame de l'Assumption

Local totem

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