Monday, March 20, 2017

Isle of Pines, New Caledonia

Isle of Pines instantly became my favorite the instant they put a crown on my head when we got off the boat!  Such a welcoming gesture, we all loved it!

 We spent most of the day on this beautiful beach, and you could snorkel around this isolated rock island.  Unfortunately the water clarity was terrible so we didn't snorkel very long there.  
 Before the crowds showed up. Paradise.






 My little fish! Calm warm water made for perfect swimming for the kiddos. 
Michael prefers a pool in an ocean style. 

 I blame Grandma for this. 100%







 Again sweet Jason ended up taking the boys back to the boat and my mom and I and even Aunt Janene this time looked for a better snorkeling spot.  We found a man with a van who said he would take us to The Natural Aquarium.  Seemed legit, and away we went.  We pulled up to this shack paid $10 and they pointed us in the direction to start walking.  We followed some crude signs about 15 minutes, trudging through a river, past biting flies and sand banks with 1000's of crabs but we made it! 


Low tide at the Natural Aquarium exposes this beautiful rock formation.  Its small but amazing.  Who knows how much longer it will stand.



My favorite giant clams with the most gorgeous colors.
 Like snorkeling in a salt water pool filled with coral and fish!

 Still shot of the beautiful Lion fish i swam with. Watch the video for much better footage of him.




  A very small section of the little crabs that were everywhere!!!
 beautiful!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Mystery Island, Vanuatu


Ok now for the positive.  Like I said the ports were really lovely.  If your wondering what we did it was pretty much 100% snorkeling.  We wanted to do some cultural and city tours but when we can see that gorgeous clear water with reef in it, its all we can think about.  So the first port we were able to make it to was Mystery Island in Vanuatu.  If I ever did get a chance to go back to Mystery Island I would ask one of the locals if I could pay them to take me to their village on the main island.  The main island is called Aneityum, and Mystery Island is a tiny Island off of it.  The villagers dingy over when cruise ships come to sell trinkets, and take small snorkeling tours. 
On Aneityum there is no electricity or cars.  They live off of what they can farm, sell and trade with each other.  The tourism the cruise ships bring in is their main source of income.  I really would have loved to go see and where they lived.  They told us there used to be more than 12,000 people living on the island before Europeans arrived bringing disease and kidnapping for slave trade.  In 1930 there were one 200 villagers.  In 2009 they had at least 915. (This is according to what our snorkel guides told us and me also just reading on Wikipedia.)
That's the hard part of a cruise is you only have a day, so we snorkeled for hours.  Jason and Janene eventually took the kids back, and my Mom and I said we were just going to go out one more time.  When we were walking back to the dingies we asked some locals about a snorkel tour and we had just enough time before the ship left so we snorkeled for another hour and a half.  No one else signed up so we had our own private guides.  It was Amazing.