New Caledonia

Stephen Bassett
Wed 19 Sep 2012 21:34
Captain Cook named this island New Caledonia after the Highlands of Scotland! And after the rain we have seen in the last few days we can see why. The mountains look Scottish, and the rain is constant. But despite the rain we took a tour around the island in a hire car and saw farmland, tribal villages, seaside villages and lots of trees and hills. We also passed huge opencast mines which are like huge scars on the landscape. They are mining for Nickel and they scrape away the tops of hills and hey presto nickel ore. It is then further processed in refineries before being exported.
AS a treat we also stayed in a hotel. It was lovely to relax, have a long shower, enjoy a dinner cooked by someone else, chase the ants around the bathroom – bliss.
WE are moving, reluctantly, from the marina today to an anchorage so back to the dinghy taxi. Did a big shop yesterday in a huge Carrefour (French supermarket) so apart from fresh bread and vegetables that will be the last until Australia. Quite a thought.  New Caledonia is a land of mixtures – there are french naturalised folk, Kanaks, and a variety of Vietnamese, Australian, New Zealand – and Noumea the capital in very french and a huge shock after all the islands we have visited so far.
Photos later – all well on board.