New Caledonia | Secret itinerary tips
29 August 2016 – By Ocean Alliance
Captain Michael Gooding, of 39.6m Ocean Alliance charter yacht Silentworld, explores New Caledonia’s palm-fringed bays in the South Pacific.
The path between the tribal villages of Nord Pombeï and Tiwae is an extraordinary hike. It climbs through tropical forest, with only the babble of streams and the shriek of birds to interrupt the silence. Tiwae seems isolated but is only 5km from the road.
NORTH OF BALADE
Few people get the chance to explore this unnamed reef, off the northeast coast of the main island. Thick with pelagic fish and marine life, such as tuna and whaler sharks, it drops off and levels out onto a 5m plateau.
This prominent town lies on the eastern side of the main island. It is hardly under the radar but the river gets little mention. It’s a pleasure to travel the
waterway early in the morning when the mist is rising from the river and where the high verdant peaks of the spectacular mountains fall right to the sea.
On the fringing reef to the south of Koumac lies Ilot Kendec, an island with a white sandy beach and the solitude you are yearning for. If you have ever seen a movie featuring a little fantasy island, this will remind you of it.
PASSE DE DUMBÉA
Comprising canyons and chasms, this spot lies to the south west of the main island, on the fringing reef. The outside wall and the pass supports a trove of marine life including purple anthias (pictured). The incoming tide gives the best visibility.
You’ll find L’Aiguille de Prony (the Needle of Prony) rising to 6m below the surface, in 35m of water in Prony Bay, south of the main island.
It is a cathedral-like structure, with thermal vents that exude life. Look out for the sharks patrolling this incredible site.
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