Day 44 – 17th February 2020, Noumea

Viking Sun in Noumea

Today we arrived in Noumea, New Caledonia, which based on the name you would expect is English speaking, with a Scottish Heritage. But no, it is in fact a French Territory. New Caledonia was first discovered by Capt Cook on his 2nd voyage and since it reminded him of Bonnie Scotland, he named it New Caledonia. In the 1850’s, the French turned up, claiming the island for France and since the British never responded, it has remained French to this day. However, they are holding another independence referendum in September.

Temperature: 28C/82F

Wind/Weather: Rain until we docked, then clear skies

Sunrise/Sunset: 05:44/06:34

Clox: No Change (Z+11)

Navigation

The Noumea pilot boarded about 05:00 and we were docked at the cruise terminal in the inner harbour by 06:00.

Weather

During the approach to the dock it was overcast and raining, but as soon as we dock the sky cleared and we had brilliant sunshine.

Meals

Today’s special meals:

  • Aquavit Terrace (18:00 to 21:00) – T-Bone Steaks & Dessert Sensation
T-Bone night Andy's steak

Andy’s Steak

With fond memories of the first T-Bone Steak night, we were eagerly awaiting dinner, having cut back on breakfast and lunch.

T-Bone night Judi's steak

Judi’s Steak

While the steaks looked good, sadly this was the worst meal aboard, so far. Both steaks were tough and very poorly cooked.

T-Bone night steaks on grill

Chef Cooking Steaks on the Outdoor Grill

The steaks are pre-cooked in the World Cafe Galley and brought out to finish on the outdoor grill. Based on my steak, I assume they are little more than seared, before being brought outside. We formed a queue and on reaching the front you ordered your steak, although the Rare & Medium Rare ones he called out, so if nobody at the front wanted it, you could move forward. I ordered medium rare and Judi ordered medium.

T-Bone night potatoes and mushrooms

Potatoes & Mushrooms with Steaks

My steak turned out to be not even “Blue”, being well seared on 1 side, but virtually raw on the other side. Judi’s steak was somewhere between Blue and Rare. Our friends Dave & Linda joined us and their MR was similar to Judi’s. When the Chef cooking the steaks is one of the chaps worthy of getting his name on the jacket, I expect better. Oh well!! these thing happen, and as I mentioned it is the only poor meal so far.

The dessert sensation can best be described as underwhelming. It consisted of multiple trays on both sides of the Infinity Pool. Each tray contained a number of small cups of dessert, with most of them being finely chopped fresh fruit.

Dessert extraveganzaDessert extraveganza 2

Dessert extraveganza 3

Some type of crumble and melon

While we didn’t have any, this is the Roast Lamb that we available in the World Cafe.

World Cafe Lamb Rib roast

Arun carving the roast Lamb

Activities

Waking early, I was up on Deck # 8 walking in the rain, at least it was warm rain. In addition to walking, I watched the ship navigate through the narrow entrance and finally alongside.

Tour

  • Tour Type – Ship’s Included Tour
  • Tour Name – Panoramic Noumea
  • Duration – 1 hr
  • Summary – Large bus tour, driving around the adjacent bays, then up a 450′ hill for a photo op. Returned to the ship via a residential area.
Quen Toro Anse Vata Bat and Lemon Bay

Atop Ouen Toro looking down at Anse Vata & Lemon Bays

All aboard the bus, we departed the berth shortly after 10:00, driving around Lemon Bay, followed by Anse Vata Bay, before heading up Ouen Toro. We got 15 mins at Ouen Toro to take photos and check out the 2 guns that were never used.

Quen Toro upper gun never fired

Upper Gun Emplacement

Quen Toro lower gun never fired

Lower Gun Emplacement

During WW2, the Americans protected Noumea, which at the time had a population of 15,000, until 16,000 troops arrived in a single day. The guns seen above were part of the fortifications, but the Japanese never did try to attack.

On return to the bus, we headed back down hill then continued along the coast past another bay, before heading into town. On the first street our guide pointed out a number of protected French Colonial style homes.

After lunch Judi wandered around all the local trinket stalls in the terminal, while I jumped on the Shuttle Bus.

Shuttle Bus

  • Cost – free
  • Frequency – ev 30 mins
  • Route – departing the terminal, it stopped at Lemon Beach & Anse Vata Beach
Lemon Bay Beach

Lemon Bay Beach from the bus dropped us off

The first stop was at the beginning of Lemon Beach, where I got off the bus to wander around. After checking out the beach, I wandered around the bay, when almost at the end I smelled the unmistakable smell of brewing beer.

3 Brasseurs brewery

My 2 favourite words “Craft Brewery”

Fortunately the name was also in English, so I headed across the street to check it out.

3 Brasseurs brewery taps

10 Taps, I’m liking this already, but all in French

Fortunately the barmaid spoke English and I also met a couple from the Gargantuan of the Sea, which was also in Port. Although they were from Australia, she was originally from Toronto, so spoke a little French. Got it figured out, avoid “Eau” which was one of the taps, as apparently that’s water. I tried the “Le Brun” which was a brown ale.

3 Brasseurs brewery Brown Ale

Pint ?? of Brown Ale

3 Brasseurs brewery equipment

Chemistry would have been way more fun if we had this equipment

Sat at a table under the awning, in the fresh air, chatting with the couple from the other ship and sipping my beer. It was actually rather pleasant. Suitably refreshed, I headed back to the bus stop and caught the shuttle to Anse Vata Beach, which was the shuttle’s furthest stop. With strong winds, suiting wave boarders, kite surfers, wind surfers, etc. it is quite a contrast to the more sheltered Lemon Beach.

Anse Vata Bay from the shuttle bus stop 2

Beach view from 2nd bus stop

Anse Vata Bay restaurant on stilts

Le Roof Restaurant

Built on stilts over the water, Le Roof Restaurant is one of the most expensive restaurants in the area. It is on the far side of the bay from Lemon Bay and is close to where the bus stopped.

Anse Vata Bay tree lined promenade around bay 2

Anse Vata Bay lots of shade by trees

Shaded path around the bay

With a well maintained pathway around the bay that had frequent shady palms trees, to cut the direct sun, I elected to walk around the bay and head back to the bus stop at Lemon Bay. The bay has numerous benches and picnic tables to stop, sit and enjoy the water activities in the bay. Distance between stops was a little less than 2 miles.

Anse Vata Bay palm tree lined beach 2

Palm Tree lined beach

About 1/2 way around, one of my stops was to watch a group playing bowls.

Anse Vata Bay play bowls on the beach

Group playing bowls

My next stop was on a bench beside the windsurfers, where I sat for a good 10 to 15 minutes just watching, especially those starting from the beach. One of them was only a child, of probably 12 years old. He is in 2 of the photos above.

Across the street they have a number of probably rather expensive condos, with great ocean views.

Anse Vata Bay Hilton Hotel

Amazing Ocean Views

While the buses were taking a short cut by the Aquarium, I continued walking around the point between the 2 bays.

Anse Vata Bay beach with wind surfer

Windsurfers on Anse Vata Bay

Anse Vata Bay and Ouen Toro Hill

Looking across Anse Vata Bay at Ouen Toro Hill

The hill in the photo above is where the bus drove up this morning for the panoramic photo op.

Palm tree on point between 2 bays

Wind swept Palm Tree between both bays

Small beach on headland between 2 bays

Sheltered Beach on Point between both bays

Flad represents where most tourists originate

Flag recognises the majority of the tourists

Once past the point, the contrast between the bays is readily apparent. While Anse Vata is windy, Lemon Bay is totally sheltered and suitable for swimming, etc.

Lemon Bay crystal clear water

Lemon Bay

Just around the point between the 2 bays and as seen above, it is already sheltered.

Lemon Bay wide-angle

Looking down to Lemon Bay Beach with ocean view condos on the hill

Lemon Bay hotel and apartments

Hotel and ocean view condos in Lemon Bay

 

I walked around to the far end of the bay, catching the next shuttle bus back to the ship. A most enjoyable afternoon.

Noumea sunset

Sunset from the World Cafe

As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.

 

1 thought on “Day 44 – 17th February 2020, Noumea

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