Photograph by Marcy Milks

  • where:

    New Caledonia

  • what:

    Hiking, Nature, Beauty

  • why:

    Relaxation and Solitude

  • when:

    Year Round

  • warnings:

    Poisoness sea snakes

  • Geotag Icon Show on map

A striking characteristic to our recent trip to New Caledonia is my lack of reflection. The ease and health of the place and people has a surface beauty that may not be so superficial. It’s really hard to tell in a 10 day visit, but everything about the island lent to an immediate state of well being. Dealing with a lack of adversity has never sat well with me psychologically, but in this instance it seemed very natural. Maybe I am just getting old or maybe we were in the presence of a better way of life.

That was not to say the trip wasn’t challenging in other ways, being in a French speaking country with only our knowledge from high school and a four week French for travelers course was a little taxing. In most cases when people heard our bad French accents they spoke to us in English. Some knew more than others. Also, New Caledonia has the second larges reef system in the world, so it was depressing to see that the parts we visited were severely bleached, which is said to be cause by rising ocean temperatures.

On our first night in Numea we went to the cities thursday night market. Hundreds of people enjoying the night air, buying food and trinkets, listening to musicians strum guitars and sing songs. It seemed as if the majority of the people were local and had a far removed feeling from the manufactured tourism found on other pacific islands. After listening to a song the singer got up and came over to us, shook my hand and kissed Marcy on both cheeks. It was a brave and complimentary gesture that I think we both appreciated.

Photograph by Eric ScottWe spent five days driving around the Island. The landscape changed from hour to hour. The diverse microclimates were completely sensual. Appeasing the eyes, nose, mouth, body and ears. The air was so perfect you didn’t notice it. The water in the many swimming holes was just cool enough to give you a jolt of life, and the flowers seen and smelled stood a striking contrast to what passes for a sensation in a large city.

One of the most notable creatures native to the area are very poisonous amphibious sea snakes. One of the more thrilling moments of the trip was while trying to get a picture of a sea snake underwater, it decided to change direction right for my head. I panicked and tried to get out of the way. It was just coming up for air, about a foot from my head. I didn’t get the shot. Apparently they are quite docile. We saw several others while snorkeling and on land, so sitings didn’t seem to be a rare occurrence.

Photograph by Eric Scott

Ile des Pins

Photography by Eric Scott and Marcy Milks

New Caledonia

Photography by Eric Scott and Marcy Milks

New Caledonia

Photography by Eric Scott and Marcy Milks

New Caledonia

Photography by Eric Scott and Marcy Milks

New Caledonia

Photography by Eric Scott and Marcy Milks

New Caledonia

Photograph by Eric Scott

Deadly Sea Snake

Photography by Eric Scott and Marcy Milks

New Caledonia

Photography by Eric Scott and Marcy Milks

Ile des Pins

Photography by Eric Scott and Marcy Milks

Ile des Pins

Photograph by Marcy Milks

Cemetery in New Caledonia