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".

16 May 2007

Moving to New Caledonia with a Pet

When we were thinking of moving to New Caledonia in 2005, I had two burning questions. Call me silly, but among the most important to me were:

1. How we were going to bring our cat to the island.

2. Did New Caledonia have high speed Internet access.

Never mind that we did not have a place to live up to about a week before we arrived - and so did not know where Sophie would be going to school (or where to have our mail forwarded) - these details eventually worked themselves out. Figuring out how to bring our cat and get Internet access up and running were other major priorities.

I started the process of exporting our cat to New Caledonia eight months in advance of our move. For animals from Europe, the process is pretty straightforward, though a bit long. There are vaccinations to update, tests to take and proof to provide. Then our cat was assigned her place on the one flight a month. Then she stayed 40 days in a quarantine.

Then while we were still in France, I receive an e-mail to come and pick her up. But we were still in France, arriving a few days later. They couldn't wait. Things got complicated. And then we found a way. An ex quarantine employee could take our cat and keep her until we arrived. It was fun organising this from 22 000 km away (and 10 hours' time difference), but we did. And everything worked out perfectly.

If you are looking for how to bring your pet with you to New Caledonia, I recommend this site: www.spanc.asso.nc/pratique_dossier_quarantaine.asp. The process is very clearly outlined. To translate the page from French, you can try an online translation site, such as http://babelfish.altavista.com/.

As for Internet access, yes, we got that set up too. But it took six weeks from the date we requested it for the phone company to switch it on (we were told this is a normal wait period in New Caledonia). The positive side? Nouméa does have Internet cafés, so with a little patience and a little flexibility we found that despite the obstacles, life in Nouméa was not as hard as we thought it might be.

2 comments:

Ruth said...

May I ask: What is the cat's name? (I LOVE cats.) And thank goodness that it all worked out. Is is as difficult to get him back to France?

Julie said...

Hi, Ruth - The cat pictured here is named Tjiba (after Tjibaou, a major Kanak leader). We actually got her some months after we arrived - as the kitty that we brought with us ("Bella") met with an accident and died here. The good news is that we will be able to bring Tjiba back with us to France without a problem. There is no quarantine procedure and there are four flights a week. So, easy peasy! - Julie