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.
Wind/Weather: Rain until we docked, then clear skies
Clox: No Change (Z+11)
The Noumea pilot boarded about 05:00 and we were docked at the cruise terminal in the inner harbour by 06:00.
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.
Today’s special meals:
- Aquavit Terrace (18:00 to 21:00) – T-Bone Steaks & Dessert Sensation
With fond memories of the first T-Bone Steak night, we were eagerly awaiting dinner, having cut back on breakfast and lunch.
While the steaks looked good, sadly this was the worst meal aboard, so far. Both steaks were tough and very poorly cooked.
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.
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.
While we didn’t have any, this is the Roast Lamb that we available in the World Cafe.
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 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.
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.
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.
- Cost – free
- Frequency – ev 30 mins
- Route – departing the terminal, it stopped at Lemon Beach & Anse Vata Beach
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.
Fortunately the name was also in English, so I headed across the street to check it out.
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.
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.
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.
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.
About 1/2 way around, one of my stops was to watch a 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.
While the buses were taking a short cut by the Aquarium, I continued walking around the point between the 2 bays.
The hill in the photo above is where the bus drove up this morning for the panoramic photo op.
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.
Just around the point between the 2 bays and as seen above, it is already sheltered.
I walked around to the far end of the bay, catching the next shuttle bus back to the ship. A most enjoyable afternoon.
As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.