Monday, December 27, 2010

Thursday 23rd – Friday 24th Dec.
Mystery Island – a flat coral island that takes just 2 minutes to walk across. There is an air strip built by US during WW2 and still in use. The Japanese thought it was too small to have one and didn’t know where the planes were coming from, hence the name Mystery Island. None of the islanders live on the island but there is plenty of them there on the day a ship calls selling their wares etc. We had coffee at a very primitive café. The cups were on the tables under a grass shelter. The coffee tin, Nescafe was placed on the table along with the hot water in a small old battered aluminium kettle and you made your own. We had a swim (J had a snorkel on a small bommi). The water was beautiful.

Isle of Pines – a small island amongst many in New Caledonia. It seems to have evolved both from volcanic and coral build up. We had a swim in a couple of beaches in the pristine waters. The sand feels like pure silica under foot. It has to be one of the prettiest islands I have ever seen with quite a magical quality because of all the big old gnarled trees, almost blocking out the sun on the island. There are also lots and lots of what appear to be Norfolk pines on the island thus the name “Isle of Pines”. It’s under French rule. Unfortunately we missed out on the few tours of the island which I’m sure had a lot more treasures to reveal. There were signs indicating a town about 6 Kilometers from were we were. After cooling off in the water’s around a sacred rocky (coral) rock with little grottos at it’s base, and walking through the forrest, we had a cool “Number 1” beer brewed in Noumea which resemble a light pilsner. We then made our way back to the pier to get the tender back to the ship. We are about to head out to sea again to make our way back to Brisbane. Merry Christmas to all, J & M.

Pictures will follow later due to Satellite problems

Christmas Eve was very traditional with lots of carol singing, artificial snow and an excellent Christmas Eve show then partying till very late. Today, Saturday- Christmas day has also been special with Santa arriving down the chimney and then into the Atrium lounge where he distributed presents to about 400 children on board. We then did our usual trivia before going to a special Christmas lunch – basically a variation on the usual menu. After lunch the kids on board did a nativity play in the main show room. The 6 degrees separation has really been evident today. This morning we sat with a couple who live only a couple of kilometres away from us and in addition they live in a home where close acquaintances of ours once lived. Then at lunch we sat with a couple of ladies from Warwick. Since leaving High School I have often wondered what became of a close friend of mine who I thought may have ended up in Warwick, but whom I have never been able to track down, though I have tried quite a few times. I was not expecting anything positive but, low and behold, these ladies had been close friends and were able to give me contact information. Well only one more full day of sailing before we are back home again.

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