Mare Island from the ship
For the second time we had been told that no excursions had been organised as there was nothing but a beautiful beach. In fact, it turned out to be more modern and with lots of building taking place. Once again we got to the island by tender as the ship could not enter the small bay. We were welcomed by a small group of women sitting under a canopy singing quiet songs to welcome us.
We walked up a fairly steep slope to reach the road through town. First we turned left but could not go more than a couple of hundred metres when we were turned back as the road was closed for ‘safety purposes.’ We were allowed and able to get some photos of a church and home along there but that was all.
Church among Palm Trees
A beautiful view
All along were very tall and thin Palm Trees which had been bent into interesting shapes by the winds. There were a number of homes with lots of grassy area for people to picnic and kids to play soccer. Give a group of children a ball of any size and a couple of stones for goal posts and they will be quite happy. In fact, even in the poverty we had seen in both Fiji and New Caledonia the people were all happy and there was minimal litter.
A local home among the Palms
Bent Palm Trees
We walked along the road and discovered some interesting sights. There was a school on the main road where we saw the most fascinating ‘insect’ hanging and swinging in the air. There was nothing to indicate what level of schooling took place but it looked like a Primary School due to its size.
The hanging, winging ‘insect’
Further along the road a new Municipal building was being completed and next door to that was a small tourist office from where some local excursions were taking place. We chose to continue to walk around the town and do self-discovery. We really enjoyed this as we passed a road which took one up into a residential area, saw a Memorial to those who had died in the First World War and a Memorial to those who had been aboard a ship, La Monique, which had simply disappeared when it had left on a regular night trip to Nouméa, a port city on the main New Caledonian Island of Grand Terre. On one side of the Memorial is the story of the loss and on the other the names of all 126 people on board. If you would like more information do go to the link as the information was written in French and English and so is very small.
Memorial to the 126 who disappeared with the ship La Monique
We continued to walk out of town and saw a water spout on the beach, a clinic, a legal office and houses of the locals which were generally painted in bright colours. This town did not appear as economically needy as that of Easo on Lifou.
Look carefully to see the water spout in the centre of the photo
On our walk back there was a cave into which water flowed from the bay and under the road. We walked down to take a closer look but were then advised to keep back as a man had just slipped and hit his head quite badly. Crew members collected him and ferried him back to the ship and we were pleased to hear later that he was fine.
Cave on the beach
Three nights and two days of sailing lay ahead of us before we arrived in Sydney and disembarked.
Sunset over Mare