The Isle of Pines floats on a stunning turquoise lagoon with its white sand beaches and stunning reflections. The island obviously gets its name from all the pine trees that border the beautiful beaches.
The people here are called Kunies. All around are ruminants of the penal colony, some of which has been restored to house government offices. There were several very small resorts but otherwise the area was very quiet.
Fantastic White Sand
We anchored in Kuto Bay, which is adjacent to Kanumera Bay, separated by a narrow strip of white sand. There were lots of other boats in the bay, one of which offered fresh bread for sale that was baked onboard.
The most striking attribute of the island was its talcum powder-like white sand, the nicest sand I have ever seen anywhere. Unfortunately the reefs were mostly dead so snorkeling was disappointing.
Sailing the Lagoon by Pirouge
We arranged an outing on a traditional Melanesian outrigger called a Pirouge.
Pirouges are basically oversized versions of the traditional dugout canoe, fitted with a sail. A group of men rolled the boats into the water using logs and then we waded out to board the vessels.
|The lagoon was glassy
calm with just enough breeze to move us slowly along through
the shallow waters of Upi
Bay, sprinkled with coral rocks which resemble gigantic mushrooms.
After being deposited near the beach and wading ashore, we walked through the bush for 45 minutes to Oro Bay where there is a natural swimming pool set amongst the coral rock and bordered by the spiky pine tree horizon.
I walked to the far side of the islet where the sea beat against the rugged rocky coast
|We had lunch at the
paltry resort where we were unimpressed with our waiter who had
a very bad attitude which we decided was indicative of much of
the French population's reaction to the tourists. So unlike the
hospitality we had become accustomed to in Vanuatu!
|That evening we were warned that the winds would switch direction so we pulled up our anchor and joined the procession of boats moving from Kuto Bay to the more protected Kanumera Bay.|
A Walk Around the Island
We hiked around the island between the two bays, through cabbage tree forests that accessed secluded small beaches. Everywhere were the shells from the profitable forest snails that New Caledonia exports to Asia. From the tip of the island, we could see the pine tree covered little islands surrounded by white sand, that are so indicative of the Ile des Pins area.