Ile des Pins 22:39.5S, 167:26.5E
As promised in the last blog a couple of pictures of our trip here.
Baie Nga where we sheltered from 40+knots of wind, The shelf at the top of the picture is an open cast Nickel mine, at the bottom is the loading jetty.
Our anchorage at Baie de la mine Anglais, the water was deep red in colour from the mud washed down with rain.
Ile des pins was a bit of a contrast! This is Baie de Kanumera where we first anchored to shelter from the westerly winds overnight.
Having arrived in Ile des Pins at last we anchored overnight in Baie de Kanumera, one of the two allowed anchorages on the island. Anchoring here is only allowed in westerly winds and space is limited by reefs. The next day we moved around the corner to the main anchorage in Baie de Kuto where we were to spend the rest of our time here. There is a hotel, landing stages for large and small boats and within walking distance a general store and a bakery. We tried to hire a car from the hotel but were told that although they had cars available there was no fuel on the island, the supply ship failed to arrive in the previous week and there was also a dispute with the refinery.
Serenity anchored in Baie de Kuto
There is a walk from here to the summit of Pic de N’ge and having been on board with no exercise for a week we had to do it. At 252m not exactly a high peak.
The start of the track was well signed from the road, a vehicle width track as far as a shrine like garden, then it became a bit less obvious, follow the stream or fight through bush The stream won and in dry weather was probably a reasonable footpath but after a few days of rain it was knee deep in places. Soon we came out into the open and then it was a steady climb to the ridge.
Shrine like garden with the footpath to the left.
A shallow part of the footpath
Peak N’ge summit ridge, the cross had coins inserted in cracks. There were views all round the island from the summit, the stand of Araucaria pines, but you had to move around to find suitable view points.
Looking down on Presqu’il de Kuto from the peak. To the left is Baie du Kanumera and to the right is Kuto. You can see the pines lining the shore which caused Captain Cook to give the island its name
Bernd on Rebell arrived late in the afternoon and on Sunday joined us to walk around Presqu’il de Kuto a small peninsula that houses the remains of the prison administration buildings from when Ile des Pins was a penitentiary.
Ruins in the bush.
Carvings on the quay, Baie de Kuto
To see the rest of the Island, in the absence of available hire cars, we hired a couple of mountain bikes for a day and cycled round. In company with Bernd. The bikes were not in good condition and we chose the only two that had tread on the tyres. We planned to visit one of the two grottos on the island, but the turn off for the first wasn’t marked and when we rode down a side road to the second (where Queen Hortense is reputed to have hidden from attackers) we found it closed due to flooding.
The prisoners cemetery, most of the prisoners were political from the Paris Commune uprising 1871. At Gadji, the northern most end of the island. The dog followed us for miles back to the main road and round the island until we came across some other dogs. Then it turned back.
As on Niue there are graves on private land, this one surrounded by a typical local fence.
Piroques on the beach at Vao.
The church at Vao, the main village on the island. We went to the café in Vao for a much needed cup of tea, but it was also closed!
It was noticeable that gardens on the island are well tended with lots of trees for shade and ‘found’ items like old fishing floats used as decoration
After about a 30 mile ride we handed the bikes back, luckily Sarah’s bike lasted out until almost the end when her back brake disintegrated, we were glad that the ride was fairly flat as the gears had been a bit difficult and chains had come off regularly. I don’t think they had seen any oil ever.
Over the next couple of days we rested our sore parts and swam locally.
Having looked for the most settled and sunny day we booked a boat trip to a couple of smaller islands to snorkel on the reefs, more of that in the next blog.