position S20 47.200 E167 07.600

Ocean Rival Journey Log
Adam Power Diana Power
Mon 27 May 2019 10:19
Monday 27th
We rowed the dinghy slowly over coral to the nearest beach and walked  though a deserted group of traditional round thatched Gites. The only activity from the construction workers on the new pontoon. A sign indicated that the pontoon would be for the benefit of tourism and it does look as if the tourist industry needs a bit of a boost.  Walked up to what we thought was the cathedral on the cliff but is actually a nice little chapel with seating for 4 and a slightly rusty cast iron Virgin Mary on the roof.  Lovely views of the bay and across to the next emerald and turquoise bay (Baie du Jinek) just around the head. Beautiful flowers and butterflys that we didn't recognise.  Following the road down to the  Baie du Jinek there was a set of steps for easy access to the water and a snorkle route marked out with bouys. We decided to return with the dinghy so Diana could admire the coral and fish in the dry while I snorkled.

These chaps came with us on our walk. The younger was playful and the older battle scarred fellow rather more surly. Diana was unimpressed and took a kick at the younger which gave her a playful nip on her bum.  I managed not to laugh too loudly.
When they chased this cat up a tree they lost interest in us for a while.

After a coffee break we motored round to Ginek passing over more amazing coral. The bouyed route is set out in an stunning coral garden. More variety of Coral and fish than I think we have seen anywhere, and in such clear water. The bouys were keyed 1-12 on a sign on the shore offering sights such as giant clam, fluted coral, even types of fish. Unsurprisingly none of the sights were as marked but the tour no less fascinating  for it. A young french couple were picnicking on the shore and chatted. They were on a pacific tour having done New Zealand and Australia before New Caledonia. They were staying in We, the capital of Lifou and had a hire car to explore the island.

After lunch back on board we walked the other way and found the cathedral not far along the road. A solid looking structure of stone and impressive carved doors, but sadly not open.

Further on we asked directions from a family group of Jehovas Witnesses manning a stall in front of a large building with sign JW.org. Nearly all the houses in the village had a hand written sign in the garden 'No Jehovas Witnesses!' They must have been making a bit of a nuisance of themselves.
We followed a turn down the sea and found a substantial decaying concrete pier with a modern warehouse. The nearby village is tiny but the capital We is on the east coast and perhaps the commercial boats use this west facing bay for calmer water. A young local man was working in his garden and came over to chat. He is a history teacher at the Lycee in We. He studied in Nice for 5 years and has visited Australia and New Zealand. The village houses are tin clad bungalows and most have a well maintained traditional thatched round house in the garden. I wondered if the planning laws required owners to maintain a traditional house if they wish to build a bungalow.
The history teacher told us where to find the cave that was signed from our beach. We were told to ask the men working on the cemetary wall next to the cathedral and having asked were told to hand over 1000pcf. Unsure whether that was an official entry fee (there were no signs) or simple robbery we paid up and followed the path which disapeared down a great sink hole. Steps and rope handrails had been constructed into the bottom of the hole where the steps terminated in a water filled cave. A great Banyan tree filled most of the hole along with ramrod straight flying roots dropping from the top of the hole. The entry fee seemed reasonable considering the effort that had gone in to making it accessible.

There is a good variety of hedging for village houses bordering the road, this one a pretty flowery version, the next a tropical version of a cornish hedge with cacti growing out of the volcanic dry-stone wall.