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  Wanderlust Home and Pet Care

New Caledonia

December 1:  We plan on leaving for the airport at 8 am. Gary and I are up early to say goodbye to Natalie as she is flying to Fiji for a conference. Because of miss-communication, Natalie’s ride to the airport never arrives. Gary and I quickly get the rest of our packing together so that Xavier can drop Natalie and Gary and I at the airport. She makes her flight without a hitch. Our flight to Auckland is easy. Gary watches his first ever safety video starring director Peter Jackson, Golum, Elves, Hobbits, a Unicorn, and other beings from “Middle Earth”. The video made me smile laugh and clap.

November 30:  Phare Amedee or Amedee Lighthouse.  The lighthouse was built in 1861. For 2 years it towered above Paris before it was dismantled and sent by ship to Noumea. Today the solar powered lighthouse lights up the entrance to the Boulari pass, one of the three natural passages through the barrier reef into New Caledonia.

We had a 45 minute boat ride to the small island. Our first activity was the glass bottom boat where we took a good picture of the island. I saw one of the many sea snakes that populate the island. 2nd activity was our ferry boat out to the reef. Gary saw a shark and I saw a manta. While having our buffet lunch we were entertained with Tahitian dancers. After lunch we tackled the 247 steps to the top of the lighthouse. The remaining part of the afternoon was spent relaxing and enjoying the beach.

November 29: I am trying to pack for our flight on Saturday but also get ready for another ferry ride. I am really looking forward to seeing Mike and Karen this Sunday in San Francisco. I hope the weather is good!!

November 28:  OK, Michael this is for you. Wait. Wait. Are you waiting? We swam in the UNESCO designated New Caledonia Barrier Reef. It is the second longest double-barrier coral reef in the world, after Australia's Great Barrier Reef. We start the day waiting for our ferry at 6 am. It is a 2 1/2 hour ride to  Ile des Pins  or Isle of Pines. As we arrive we notice a cruise boat  (from the P&O line) is tendering people to shore (lots of Aussies). We spend the morning in the very clear water on the beach. Natalie has provided swim goggles, beach mat and beach umbrella. Lunch is part of our package deal at the hotel Kou-Bugny. The afternoon is spent at a natural swimming hole with water coming in from the Pacific. We did not get sunburned which is a good thing.

November 27:  We are off mid-morning to catch the bus to Tjibaou Cultural Centre. On the way we meet the next door neighbor Jean Marie. He has family living in North Carolina. His english is about as limited as our french.  While we are waiting for the bus, he drives up and asks if we would like a ride into town. This is great for us, we can catch Bus # 40 in town. We ask to be dropped off at the bus station so we can get to the Cultural Centre. He then starts driving to the Cultural Centre. We try to argue but he keeps driving. Then we try to give him gas money but he refuses. What a nice man. The center has unique architecture but only has some modern art with a multimedia library so we were a little disappointed. We were expecting something like the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii.

November 26:  We needed to purchase our tickets for Phare Amedee near the Meridian Hotel. Natalie dropped us off at the ticket office. We had a great breakfast and walked along the water back to the house. There was a strong breeze to keep us from getting too warm. Great Day for a Walk.

November 25: Sunday we all recuperated from the previous night’s party. We decided to have drinks and watch the sunset. The wind was just right for the end of kite surfing competition so that took presidents over alcohol. Very fun to watch. Once the sunset, drinks and dinner soon followed at a very tasty restaurant - yum fresh seafood

November 24: We were at the flea market early to find items to use for the Indian themed Thanksgiving party tonight. I purchased an old beaded purse, a necklace, a child’s angel hallo covered with feathers and a doll. Natalie had her own treasures. We spent the rest of the day making the costumes and the tepee. The dream catcher I made wasn’t too bad. Gary was the sous chef. The party was nice. Many of the guest spoke english so we didn’t feel left out. Natalie organized a remembering game that was a big hit. I don’t think I plopped into bed until 1:20 am - way past my bed time.

November 23:  This morning we had a dentist appointment for a cleaning.  Good thing! Gary had a small cavity.

November 22:  Happy Thanksgiving   Xavier arrives home from a month in Brazil. He had his longest parapont ride ever - 335 kilometers or 208.16 miles.

November 21:  Natalie took the day off from work. We motored around the Noumea area, stopped at two look outs with beautiful views, found the new health food store, visited the Tourist Center and had a wonderful lunch at the marina. I was amazed at the many spits of land surrounding the large island which broke off of Australia many years ago.  The island is very french, has more Porsche Cayenne's per capita and has more boats than people.We found the local bakery at the bottom of the hill - pain au chocolat look out here we come!

November 20:  I awake and know I absolutely I must take a shower. Not that I smell, I just feel oogie. Gary & I are moving slowly due to the heat and humidity. In fact we don’t even leave the house this morning thinking we would hit the beach in the afternoon. Not so fast broker breath, it pours this afternoon. Hopefully the rain will cool things off. Even Natalie and Cedric have complained about the heat. Good, now I don’t feel so bad for being a wimp.

November 19:  Natalie’s smiling face greets us as we come out of  customs. It’s midnight and can’t see anything of the island as we drive to Noumea about 45 minutes away. We sleep until 7:30 as Natalie needs to go into work today. Once she is gone I go back to bed - the time change, lack of sleep, heat and humidity are taking their toll on my old body. About 10am we decide to walk to the bay and hit the grocery store on the way home. I melted into the couch and drank 5 glasses of water once we got home. Scotch was freely flowing during happy hour. We didn’t begin to solve all our problems but we got a good start. We had dinner on the deck. Cedric joined us. He is a very handsome and personable young man.  It is so good to see family after more than a year.