Beautiful Isle of Pines in New Caledonia

Isle of Pines is a very quiet little island, known for its beaches. We arrived on the tender and there was a beautiful, pristine white beach, just like our port lecturer had described. The sand was sugar white and ultra-fine, some of the softest I had ever felt. The water was that amazing light green-blue color that you dream of when you think of gorgeous beaches in your mind. And the beach was lined not only with palm trees, but with tall pine trees that reminded me of our beloved “Bermuda Cell-Phone Trees.” (In reality they are Cook Island Pines, but they look like the cell phone towers disguised as trees that we have in Pennsylvania.)

We walked along the beach for a bit, and three dogs started tagging along. We parked ourselves underneath a tree for some dappled shade, spread out our towels, and lay down. We marveled at the beauty of everything around us, and hung out with the three dogs now lying around us as well. One of the dogs began digging, and then kept digging and dug some more. Elliott guessed he was after a crab, but after a while I was shocked at how deep the hole was getting. Elliott kept telling him he couldn’t dig as fast as the crab he was chasing. Once the hole was big enough for this dog to fit inside, he started snapping and biting at something, and sure enough, he got the crab! He shook it and then suddenly dropped it – the crab had pinched his cheek and he was hurt. Poor puppy. Poor crab. The dog just sat and guarded the hole and the crab for a long time. Elliott observed the crab was now missing some legs. Eventually the dog sat half inside the hole, but he never did take the crab. Another dog later sank his entire self into the hole and looked at us innocently as we laughed. We photographed the entire thing. At one point Elliott noticed the crab dig himself back into the dirt, so I guess he survived for the time being at least.

Most people had gone to the beach on the other side of the road where there is a huge rock, sacred to the ancient locals. We decided we were happy to stay where we were and where things were quiet. I was sleepy and closed my eyes and took a long nap, on and off, there in the dappled shade and gorgeous breeze. I could hear more people as time went on but it was all in another dimension for me. We dozed on and off all morning, chatting idly in between dozes, until after noon.

We ate some sandwiches, relaxed and snoozed some more, before finally entering the water. It was surprisingly coldAfter swimming for a bit towards the boats and back, we walked all the way to the end of the beach to explore and dry off. It was just beautiful. It was getting late in the afternoon, and most people had already headed back to the ship.

We grabbed our stuff and headed to the other side of the road to check out this rock. Elliott was too cold to swim but I couldn’t resist the beauty. The water was much warmer than the other side, so I decided to swim out to where some snorkelers were. The water was so clear! Once I got to where they were, I decided to swim around the entire rock. It was a lot of fun alternating between warm and cold currents.
We ended up on the last tender that day. We sat on the open top deck, which we hadn’t even realized we could do earlier today. I was psyched to feel the wind in my hair and get great views. We even met a woman from Bucks County, PA!

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