Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Lighthouse Island

Everyday since we arrived in New Caledonia, the locals and the tourists have been telling us, “wait until you go to La Phare AmedeeIsland. That will be your best day.”

Well, yesterday was that day. We were all very excited about it, and the weather looked to be promising.

Down at the docks, there were a couple of other school groups waiting. Looked like it was going to be a busy day over on the island.

It took about 45 minutes to get there, and we all jumped off and walked down the long, beautiful jetty.

How do you explain the beauty that is La Pharre Amedee? It is not easy because it is so incredibly beautiful it takes your breath away.

Right in the middle of the island is a huge white lighthouse. Unfortunately we were not able to climb it as they are renovating it.

We found a nice little spot under an umbrella, right on the water. Everyone went off to change, and came back to excitedly report that the toilets were nice and there was toilet paper in them! But not to look up!

Why? Because right above our heads in the girls toilets was the most enormous spider.

 So much to do on the island. The glass bottom  boat, the boat trip out to the reef, the luncheon, the coconut-tree climbing and shredding demonstration, as well as an island dance performance, not to mention swimming and snorkelling and paddle-boarding.

 Most of us went on the glass bottomed boat first, and were treated to reef sharks who liked playing with the boat. They somehow attache the top of their heads to the glass and suction them on there and go for a ride.The guide called them “the lazy sharks.” And we saw some of the beautiful coral, fish and the highlight – a turtle. The colours of the water out at the reef were like jewels. Incredibly beautiful.

Of course, one of the things that we all were fascintated with was the Tricot Raye – the sea snakes. Brown and black or blue and black stripes, they were everywhere on the island. Some were even mating under the porch outside the little souvenir shops.

 We were told they were afraid of humans and that even though they are among the most venomous snakes in the world, that they wouldn’t bother us if we didn’t bother them, and that their mouths are too small anyway to bite human flesh. But, we had a couple of close encounters, in spite of their fear of humans. Mrs. Rust, sunbathing on the beach had one crawl right along side her, so quickly in fact, that we didn’t have enough time to call out and warn her until it was very close. We also saw them cruising through our towels and clothes towards the end of the day. One of the workers on the island warned us to check our bags before we headed back to the mainland!

Spot the snake in this photo. Actually, there were two (but you might only be able to see one)! Crawling through out things. You can see all of us lined up at the edges, staying well away until the snakes slithered off into the water.

 What a fantastic day it has been. At lunchtime we were treated to a smorgasbord lunch of all kinds of food. Salads and roast meat, prawns and crab and mussels,  followed by desert of cake, fruit and icecream. Then while we were eating the staff put of a wonderful pacific island dance for us – with live music of drums and ukeleles. They even chose some of our girls to join in the fun.

The rest of the afternoon we just lazed aorund on the beach, browsed in the little shop, swam and snorkelled and suntanned.

The locals were right. La Pharre Amedee is  unforgettable.

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