The adventure continues on Ouvéa Isand with a dive in Kanak country's legendary lagoon. It's sheer magic: the colours, traditions, sharks, cliffs, beaches...
Things got off to an early start at the Hilton Noumea La Promenade Residences and our Caledodreamers' interest was sparked by the 'bring your passport with you request'! Despite their insistence, New Cal Outdoors, who took the group to Magenta Airport, remained tight-lipped about their destination..
It turned out to be Ouvéa, one of the most beautiful atolls in the Pacific and the only one of the Loyalty Islands to have its own closed lagoon. Our 6 travellers eagerly stepped off the plane, to be met with a bright sun, clear skies and the lagoon's stunning turquoise blue water.
They found Cedric and Pierre, their guides from the tourist office and Destination Iles Loyauté, waiting to show them around. They immediately headed to the south of the island along the magnificent Fayoué Beach, the longest in New Caledonia. Once they arrived at the Moague gite, the host, Charly Aema, and our adventurers conducted a ceremony - a traditional welcoming custom in Kanak culture.
The group then boarded his boat for an incredible trip to the South Pleiade Islands, which encircle the Ouvéa lagoon. Their arrival at Gee Island was nothing short of magic! The Caledodreamers had the entire island to themselves and found a delicious meal waiting for them on the beach. They toasted their meal with fresh coconut before tucking into a tasty fish dish that had been cooked in smouldering embers.
It was then time to get kitted out and explore the plunging reef. Armed with flippers/mask/snorkel, they were enthralled by the view of the reef, which looks like a cliff collapsing into the marine depths. The coral's close to the beach and is teeming with life while the darker waters have an intriguing air of mystery. Then, on the way back, at the foot of the cliffs that line Gece Island, a school of 2m-ish sharks swam up to the boat for a majestic if not slightly scary encounter!
Later in the afternoon, they headed in the other direction, towards the airport, to explore some exceptional and easily-accessible sites. The famous Mouli Bridge has a jaw-dropping view of the ocean's blue hues. The high, grey Lekiny Cliffs are dotted with caves and loom over the bay where Marion and Ethan enjoyed some cast net fishing with the locals. Finally, it was off to the Hanawa Blue Hole, which is hidden by the forest and home to a wealth of marine life that was busy at work under the setting sun.
Even though they snapped away, the blue lagoon's pure, intense colours were deeply etched in our Caledodreamers' memories!