• Home
  • Blog
  • Diary of a fam trip: the Days that have Flown

Diary of a fam trip: the Days that have Flown

Rate average :
Isle of Pines and New Caledonia during a yacht charter trip on board Masteka 2 and Iroue

Morning sounds of coffee being poured out and people chatting in French and English greeted me as I arose from the lower deck of the motor yacht, IROUE. Eager to join in on the conversation, I accepted the offer of tea from Sarah, our hostess, and began greeting everyone in turn. It had dawned another overcast day and yet, there was optimism as the first of the croissants were tucked into… all to the sounds of clinking cups of hot coffee and tea and warm exchanges of pleasantries.

We departed in two tenders, landing ashore on Isle De Pins for our second day in the company of guide extraordinaire, Zerena - a native of the island. Zerena remembers all of our names with her “Good Mornings” and soon has us seated in a van and whisked away from the port via a lane covered in wild-looking trees, their uppermost branches intertwined and forming an arbour over the single lane of bitumen circling the rim of the island.

We are all of us dressed in bathing suits and multiple layers: just when we are going to get wet we cannot say, but the prospect of sailing across the lagoon of Upi Bay in an outrigger canoe — locally known as a “pirogue” — chimes with a hint of adventure — one which collectively hope ends with wet feet and legs and dry cameras and phones!

I am in awe at the quietly confident ways of the local captains, who take us in these pirogues, motoring out into the middle of the lagoon. There, we pick up a northerly and cut the engines. Drifting — sailing — quietly contemplating, makes for a pleasant change as the water swish-swishes past the outrigger and we all but stop talking, our voices lessened to a minimum. One by one, we become entranced… subdued by the serenity of our surroundings, our moods reformulate in the marbling reflections on the sea… clusters of coral knowingly looking upwards as we look downwards and into the shallows in hope of seeing some turtles or manta rays.

Waiting for the sun to break through the clouds, we sit back and just watch for signs all around us. We are reminded of the simplicity of life for the locals of the island… and the gentle movement of the craft over the water reminds us of our own roots… for sail power was the choice of many of our ancestors.

Isle of Pines and New Caledonia during a yacht charter trip on board Masteka 2 and Iroue

Before long, the sun has come out and Upi Bay’s treasures — basaltic rock islands — are displayed like a handful of chess pieces scattered across a large sheet of blue. Everyone’s enjoying the sailing, and we ask questions of the captain, receiving answers and letting those sit for a while as we go back to contemplating the past of the Kanak people and their proud bearing.

We hike from the landing at the top end of Upi Bay and learn how to spot the edible snails — and how to ensure it’s an edible snail and not a poisonous one— along a path that leads to an inlet further north. It’s a long-is trek over fairly uneven ground and the forest stretched out around us like a green sea of onlookers: watching us, unspoken. It’s a lovely forest, and we’re filled with wonder as our guide, Zerena finds snails where no one else could see them… she has spent a lifetime learning to spot the signs.

The Natural Pool which is our destination is just up ahead: first are to clear the wide part of the estuary, and then, we are to follow a tiny path along the side of the inlet. We stop to admire tiny red crabs wherever we go, The track finishes at a wide expanse of white sand and we look across to see the natural pools… so pretty and inviting that everyone descends to the water’s edge to peel off tops and shorts, dive into the clear, shallows and experience a different kind of awe. We swim with fish and are carefully to choose a path between the coral to walk out to the open sea.

The whole area is quiet, and there’s nothing to do but revel in nature. “If Noumea is a little corner of paradise, then this is the tip of that same corner”.

One more treat awaits us and by the time we’re there, we’re all quite hungry as we've returned to Kuto Bay, been transferred to the yachts once more and then re-located to a private island — Moro Island — for a lunch of freshly cooked lobster, salad and fish… all in all, a pretty wonderful adventure in the company of locals!

I would definitely want to stay longer in the area and explore some more. The Isle of Pines gave me a chance to live a different way of life… and fall in love with the simple beauty of the place.

Isle of Pines and New Caledonia during a yacht charter trip on board Masteka 2 and Iroue

The whole area is quiet, and there’s nothing to do but revel in nature. “If Noumea is a little corner of paradise, then this is the tip of that same corner”.

Isle of Pines and New Caledonia during a yacht charter trip on board Masteka 2 and Iroue
04/06/2018

Post a comment

Related Blogs