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".

25 January 2007

Maré: A Long Walk Through the Forest

Have you ever read a guidebook, followed its instructions and wished you hadn't? On our second day in Maré, just after our half-day tour of the island, we decided to walk along the beach to a secluded cove: Pede Beach. It is reported to be the best on the island for snorkelling.

The guidebook mentioned that it was an easy and pleasant walk from our hotel - just along the beach. So off we went. I was sure from what I had read that it would be 20 minutes, maximum. Well, 17 verses of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" and 2 hours later, Sophie and I were convinced that we would be camping in the forest that night - along with all the other island folk. Mind you, this was not a camping ground we were traipsing through! Islanders had simply mounted temporary homes out of palm fronds (yes, palm fronds!) and scraped together whatever cooking utensils they could find.

City Sophie and Slightly Worried Mother Julie trailed slower and slower behind Laurent, the intrepid soldier. If you ever have to feature in "Survivor" or "Koh Lanta", Laurent is your man. He'll get you through!

After several hours we did find our little cove. Exhausted, we managed to thank our lucky stars, not for guidebooks or mobile phones, but for our determination and optimism, as waning as it sometimes was. Everyone plopped down (except Pablo of course) and swore never to trust a guidebook again.

How was the snorkelling? Well, okay. True, there was no wind - but as it was by then the end of the day, there was also little sun, and thus little visibility. Alas. We laughed.

And how did we get back to the hotel? We took the road back and hitched a ride!

Photos by Laurent Guaider, 2006.


Le Cagou said...

Bonjour a tous,
" Hit the road Jack and don't come back no more, no more "
This song title seems to recap your venture to this iddyllic cove Julie.
Our " Indiana Jones " could not have done any better.
But this lovely photograph of you three on that secluded beach is worth more than a thousand words.
A bientot. Marc

Le Cagou said...

Bonjour Elaine,
Merci beaucoup for your concern.
I will talk a little bit about myself in Julie's next Post.
And if I may, I will ask our writer to discover for us a special place " hidden " near Noumea. I will explain and describe it fully.
The plot thickens.
My reason for leaving la " Belle Nouvelle-Caledonie " was to improve my english. That year was january 1978.
I have not returned to this wonderful " Pays d'Outre-Mer " where I grew up yet.
A bientot everybody. Marc

Uncle Stevie said...

When is this family going to finally get it's own reality show? I would watch it!