Saturday, October 13, 2007

Friday 12th October

New Caledonia

22 17.173 S
166 26.266 E

“Lets go to McDonalds for breakfast” was Gerry’s suggestion of the day. We then sat for the next hour until the generator had done its thing and the freezer was at a reasonable temperature. Whilst waiting I gathered up all the dirty laundry and bagged it up ready to take ashore with us, this would be the last chance we would have to do any washing before leaving here. We took off with the laundry and headed across the main road towards McDonalds, dropping the laundry off just up the road from the golden arches. Surprisingly McDonalds was fairly empty and we were served immediately with fresh off the grill food, I have to say that their hotcakes aren’t the same as the states – they are a sort of half crepe/ half pancake and uneven in size and texture and that their coffee sucks here too! After eating we walked outside to find it had started to rain, we hurried back to the boat to make sure that the hatches we closed and to dry off. Gerry waited for a while until the rain let up and then took off on the bike to Customs and immigration to check us out as we intend to leave over the weekend. I did boring stuff like make the bed, wash the dishes and put away the junk that was sitting out on the side seat. It was close to lunch time when Gerry re appeared, we were now officially allowed to leave the country on Sunday. I wasn’t hungry so Gerry has lunch by himself and then straight after wards we walked across the road to the bus stop where we caught the local bus to the Aquarium which was 2 bays over from where we are docked. We had heard that it was worth a visit and decided to spend the afternoon there. As we paid our entry fee we noticed a group of what looked to be preschoolers waiting in the entry way; we made our way to the beginning of the tanks and were followed by this group of kids. They were rowdy and badly supervised but they seemed to enjoy themselves. The aquarium was a fairly new place and the tanks were lovely filled with all sorts of sea life that is native to the waters around New Caledonia. We were particularly impressed with the coral displays, they were just beautiful; they even had a “night vision room” which was pitch black apart from the glow being given off by the coral in the tanks – I have never seen anything quite like it before and was surprised by the array of fluorescent colours that exist in coral. The largest tank in the place had an absolutely enormous hump head wrasse that the aquarium has brought up from a baby; he was just incredible, as I watched him I thought how much like a soft sculpture he looked but apparently he holds his territory against the shark predators in the same tank. I couldn’t resist trying to get a picture of him. After going all the way around the place we headed back out into the sunshine and walked a short way to a nearby group of cafes where we indulged in a coffee and sat watching the world go by for a while. We walked a couple of bus stops and finally caught the bus back to the city, getting off in the center of town so that I could get a couple of photos of the Place des Cocotiers (where the Thursday night markets are held) and the Cathedral. It was stinking hot walking back to the dock and we were glad when we finally reached the boat. After showering and changing we went ashore for a pre dinner drink and then walked to a restaurant that we had passed on the way home in the afternoon. As always we were amongst the first to dine but the restaurant filled up very quickly – it was a very popular place for good reason, the food was excellent. Once we had finished dinner we at least had the chance to walk some of it off as we had to walk back to the dock for the night.



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