Nouméa, Grande Terre, New Caledonia (Nouvelle-Calédonie), Melanesia


The welcome mural on a wall across from the harbor and passenger terminal, Nouméa, Grande Terre, New Caledonia, Melanesia


Several times a year our ship undertakes a voyage that is an “expedition” — visiting remote areas of the world that we explore by small (20 foot/6 meter) motorized inflatable boats (Zodiacs), without docking or tendering into large ports.  This spring’s expedition is to Melanesia, the Pacific Islands north of Australia, west of Polynesia, and south of Micronesia New Caledonia, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.



The yacht harbor in the heart of the city provides easy access to the Baie de la Moselle, Nouméa, Grande Terre, New Caledonia, Melanesia; note that our ship, docked just west of the center of downtown, is visible in the background


Our trip began in Nouméa, on the island of Grande Terre, New Caledonia (Nouvelle-Calédonie), the southernmost nation in Melanesia.  This was our last chance to dock (taking advantage of the opportunity to load on supplies and fuel).  Rocky hillsides dominate Grand Terre, the largest of the five islands that comprise New Caledonia.  It is home to capital city, Nouméa, which enjoys a sprawling harbor and ocean view.  Native Kanaks along with Indonesian, Tahitian, Vietnamese and European settlers make up the island’s population.  Our one day in town was on a Sunday when virtually everything is closed (tracing back to the French Catholic heritage on the island).  Thus our photographs show few people and we couldn’t get inside popular museums, the cultural center, etc.  On Monday, before our ship sailed and we began our journey through Melanesia, we spent the day on a chartered catamaran sailing to a nearby reef for snorkeling and lunch before sailing back to the harbor and heading back to the pier for the departure of our ship for Vanuatu.



The Bernheim Library was originally the pavilion for New Caledonia at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900 – it was dismantled afterwards and shipped to the island where it was re-erected and opened in 1905; Nouméa, Grande Terre, New Caledonia, Melanesia



The vibrant heart of the city, Place des Cocotiers has beautiful palm trees providing much-needed shade on a hot day, a band rotunda for concerts and street markets (but not on Sunday!), Nouméa, Grande Terre, New Caledonia, Melanesia



The Nouméa City Museum, in a colonial-style building, has artifacts and tells the history of both the city and New Caledonia; Nouméa, Grande Terre, New Caledonia, Melanesia



A wall mural on an abandoned building in downtown Nouméa, Grande Terre, New Caledonia, Melanesia



This colonial era gem of a building is now showing signs of years of dereliction, Nouméa, Grande Terre, New Caledonia, Melanesia


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