More Islands… amazing vistas
It was wonderful to wake up on the lagoon!
I am totally saturated: it’s wonderful! The abundant fresh air and oxygen enlivens me and I feel my entire being relaxing.
After a lengthy passage from our overnight anchorage of Prony Bay, we felt the Masteka 2 take a different tack and leave a flock of New Zealand Storm Petrels behind as she motored ahead towards “Ile des Pins”.
Before long, we caught sight of a row of tall, slender pines. These native columnar pines (Araucaria columnaris) look like tall sentinels overlooking the bays and in pulling out our cameras, we see that we were close to our destination and close to what is called a “real South Pacific Paradise". We felt the stirring of our appetites: first for lunch and then for getting ashore and exploring.
The pines are part of the New Caledonian landscape and before an hour is out, we have learned that they are important to the natives of the Isle of Pines, not just as they are wonderful wood for carving, but also that the locals have been carving their boats — known as “pirogue” out of them for generations.
We learn about the origins of the native tribes on the island as well as their culture and lifestyle in the company of a local woman. This woman, Zerena, has spent 10 years in London and so speaks fluent English. She polished each phrase off which a few words of perfectly spoken French. We feel right at home in her company as she carefully shows us her home village, a canoe-building settlement and a limestone cave, where a chieftain’s daughter was once hidden to protect the bloodline of the ruling family. Today was one big “cultural immersion” and everyone loved it. Our guide was warm and bubbly… she was smart, witty, funny and energised. At the same time, she was warm and thoughtful, and not at all harried. Such a great person to guide us around Isle of Pines: and we will have a chance to get to know her a little better tomorrow.
To be continued…
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