This blog on New Caledonia is for those of you who ever wondered what life on a tiny island in the South Pacific might be like. Tired of bracing winter winds, the stress of an inner city or simply dreaming of a life change? This is a blog about what happens when, in the words of Yogi Berra, "you come to a fork in the road, [and] take it".

26 December 2005

Ile des Pins: Sailing up the Baie d'Uto on a Pirogue

Boxing Day started early. We boarded our pirogue (an out-board rigger) along with nine other tourists and Alexandre (pictured left) around 8.00. It was hard to believe that such a simple structure would sail us up a bay safely. Here, you toss safety to the wind. No lifejackets, no water, no contact with the mainland. Luck had it that we ran aboard a reef about a half an hour in to our journey and all the menfolk had to get off and push. Then our little lawnmower motor drowned out. No worries. After about a half hour of advice from nearly every passenger and elbow grease on the part of our captain (he told me he was going to be giving this up soon - he'd been doing this for years, and it was time to move over to leave room for the younger folk to take on the job), we were off once again. After two and a half hours of drifting and motoring along, enjoying the calm and the blues of the lagoon and the sky, we landed around 10.30 further up the island. Off we went for a 45-minute walk through the forest. Merci, capitaine !

Photo by Laurent Guiader, 2005.

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