Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tuesday 9th October

New Caledonia

22 17.173 S
166 26.266 E

We took our time waking up and getting moving this morning – something to do with having drunk a fair bit last night! Once we were up and dressed we took the bimini off as it has a small tear in it where the boom has rubbed, it was going to the sail maker to have some reinforcing material put across the area. Gerry dragged out the fold away bike (which has up until now just been extra baggage that we didn’t need) prepared it for the short trip to the sail maker whilst I folded up the bimini and tucked it into the back pack. Gerry took off on the bike and I followed him ashore shortly afterwards. My destination was the park across the way from the dock where there was a totem pole and sculpture that I had read about and wanted to see. I found the totem pole – known as Mwa Ka here, it was 12 meters tall and intricately carved to represent the 8 customary regions of New Caledonia.
The Mwa Ka is part of the sculpture that I wanted to see – it has been erected as a mast on a concrete pirogue (a double hulled outrigger canoe) which has a carved wooden helmsman with an enormous oar. The carvings on both the Mwa Ka and the helmsman were intricate and fantastic; I took a few photos but trying to get all of the sculpture onto one frame doesn’t allow good visuals of the carving detail. After viewing the sculpture I walked a little further to where I had seen a memorial sculpture, on reaching it I found out that it was a memorial to the American forces who were present in New Caledonia between 1942 and 1946, it was quite a spectacular memorial in the center of a city park and even more surprising was that there was no graffiti on it. Again I took a few photos and then I made my way back to the boat, arriving at roughly the same time Gerry did. We took a stroll to the nearby market which sells fish, fruit and vegetables, a small amount of meat and a few art and craft items; it was our first visit here and we only just made it in time before it closed down for the day (at 11.30hrs). We bought satay sticks for lunch and made our way back to the boat to eat them, vowing to go back to the market for stocking up later in the week. Our afternoon was spent taking a walk along the docks, looking at the reef which is growing out from the dock wall. We saw all sorts of fish and a fair bit of coral which seems to be growing and living; we have a theory that it survives on the effluent which is being continuously poured into the dock – at times the smell here is quite unbearable and if the wind is in the wrong direction you can see toilet paper floating past – pretty nasty and it isn’t coming from the boats in the dock, it’s coming from huge drain outlets along the side of the wharf. Anyway we walked out to the fuel dock on the outer dock wall and looked back at the boats before returning to our own boat for the rest of the afternoon. We wandered up to the marina bar for a pre dinner drink and then walked across the road to the car park where the Roulottes ply their wares. It appeared that all of them sold mainly Chinese take away type food; we picked a couple of dishes and took them back to the boat for dinner, they were OK but needed to be reheated as they weren’t very hot. Next time we will try a different van.



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