We crawled out of bed around 7am and opened the curtains to find us sailing into Noumea, it was a bit strange seeing land again. The skies were a bit cloudy, but the storm of last night was nowhere to be seen.
After breakfast we all got off the ship around 9am and got a shuttle bus to the main Shipping Terminal. Our boat is so big it had to park at the Container wharf.
From the shipping terminal we got a hop-on hop-off bus for $5 each, great value and rode it around to Anse Vata, where we got a water taxi over to Ile aux Canards (Duck Island). The fare was 1200 francs each return (approx $12) for the water taxi. When you pay for the water taxi you also have to nominate a return time. We chose 12 noon, so we had time to look around town before we had to get back on board. Ben, Sarah and their kids all got off the bus to Anse Vata a few stops before ours, so they could get Tessa some swimming stuff, (she forgot to pack any). I guess we got onto the island a little after 10am and Ben and family arrived about 30mins later.
We had a great time on Duck Island. In hindsight we could have probably done with an extra hour, but such is life. I was the first in the water followed soon enough by Ella and Ethan. The beaches on the island are made entirely of coral, so reef shoes were the order of the day. I had lots of fun teaching Ella and Ethan how to use a snorkle. They both got the idea very quickly and we were out looking at the coral and fish in no time. I think Ella thought I was her peronal floatation device and spent a good deal of the time on my back. 🙂 Ethan loved snorkling. The poor kid was shivering so much, the water was a bit cool and the wind that was around made you cold fairly quickly, but he just stayed snorkling until I got out. Speaking of wind, we were told our research told us, to avoid Duck Island if it was windy, it is very exposed, but we went out anyway. The swimming area where the coral is was sheltered from the wind very nicely. You can tell this place gets a lot of strong winds by the number of sail boarders and kite surfers out on the water, they even have a kite surfing reserve.
At 12 we got our taxi back to the mainland and jumped back on the hop-on hop-off bus and rode it into town. We got off at the central square, which was a mix of gardens treees, statues and cafes. There seemed to be lots of locals just hanging around the park. They all seemed pretty chilled and in no hurry to be going anywhere.
Carly and Ella went off to get Ella some shoes while we just relaxed like the locals. When they got back we set off in search of Chocolate and Pastries. Deb’s research had highlighted these as a not to be missed thing to do in Noumea. First up was a Chocolate Shop, and yes the chocolate was fine 🙂 , and we must have been fairly good customers or they just really liked us, judging by the amount of “free” stuff we were given. We have been looking for some nice/quirky tea canisters for a while now, and I spotted some in the shop, so as well as chocolate we came away with some nice teas in good canisters.
Next, was a short walk around the block to the “Le Fournil Gourmand” a fine looking french patisserie. Needless to say, there were a few delicous, very french (interpret that as not particularly healthy and very indulgent) pastries were had.
From there we rolled back to the shipping terminal and onto a shuttle bus back to the ship.
Deb had a relaxing afternoon in our Suite and after a visit to the gym, I relaxed with her, watching all the goings on in the busy little working Port. We saw container ships come in, barges going to and fro and all the cranes running crazily around the docks. Funnily, neither of us felt guilty for taking amusement in watching all these people work. Someone has to do it!
It’s Caribbean Beach Party Night tonight, so it should be fairly colourful around the ship. It’s date night for Carly and Kieran, dinner for 2 in the Nouveau Restaurant, so Ben and Sarah are taking care of Ella and Ethan and dining with us. and maybe join us for the family singalong in the Shangai Piano Bar.
We got to the Shanghai Bar just before the family singalong started. Deb and I grabbed a booth while Ben and Sarah, and all the kids took a place at the bar in front of the piano. It was a fun hour, the kids had a great time joining, especially a twisted version of Doh Ray Me where they all got to be involved.
Tomorrow we have our first tender shore transfer to Mare (pronounced Mar Ray). More relaxation, such a hard life.Number of View :18011