Sunday, September 09, 2007

ilot maitre

From Osaka, New Caledonia is about 4400 miles (7100 km)--about 8-9 hours by plane. New Caledonia is an overseas territory of France in the Melanesia region of the South Pacific. Their official language is French.

New Caledonia has 2 seasons--warm and humid from December to March, average temperature 25C (77F) and cool and dry from April to November with temperatures dropping to 20C (68F) in July and August.

Since the time difference is only 2 hours ahead of Japan time, you don't lose a day going or coming. We left Osaka at 11:30 and arrived at the Tontouta airport at about 22:30 on the same day. Landing at the airport reminded me of landing at the Hilo airport at night. From the airport to Noumea it is about 50 km. The roads are not lit and they are quite winding, the van we were whisked off in maneuvered the roads well, but I felt like I was riding space mountain mixed with the drive from Kona to Hilo....blah!

Satoshi and I were both woozy after the ride, we checked in and went to sleep.

The next day, we were off to Ilot Maitre (Maitre Islet). The 20 minute boat ride to the island is a bit rough at times, but bearable.

Since the island has many coral reefs around it, the boat had to let us off quite a ways off shore.

The Coral Palms Island resort has many cottages and over-water bungalows. The over-water bungalows were our "home" for the next 4 days. These bungalows were just like little apartments, with a living room, deck, bath and bedroom.

Each room has a television and telephone. Television stations are quite limited on the island and since we also wanted to get away from "civilization", I made sure to pack some CD's. (The room also had a radio, but only one station came in and it was French-reggae.) Being out on the deck felt like being on a boat, except it wasn't rocking back and forth like a boat.

Here's what our days were like: Wake up at about 7, eat breakfast--the breakfasts were buffet-style with lots of croissants, brioche, ham, bacon, some fruits and veggies.

After breakfast, we would go back to our room and read or nap.

At about 12 or 1, we would go to eat lunch. There were two areas to have lunch. One was an ala carte style restaurant featuring salads and other entrees and the other more of a snack bar featuring panini.

Then we would either roam around the island or go back to our room, read or nap.

At about 4 or 5 in the afternoon, we would make some tea and get ready for the highlight of our day, watching the sun set! We were fortunate to see 3 beautiful sunsets. I don't think I've ever seen the sun that big and round before--kind of like the yolk of a sunny-side up egg.

After the sun set, we would go back to reading or chatting until dinner. Dinners were ala carte and we enjoyed many delicious and flavorful meals. (all meals were served at specific times so you had to make sure to go at the right time or go hungry! (no room service!))

After dinner, we would fill the tub and soak. (I also packed some bath salts.)

During the day, there were many activities taking place around the island. Guests could rent kayaks, jet skis or borrow snorkels.

During the night and early morning, the winds were quite calm, but during the day, the winds picked up and were a bit...brrr...cold. Many kite boarders took advantage of the winds and enjoyed themselves during the day.

I was amazed at how clear the water was and all the different fish and birds on the island. There was even one bird that sounded like a machine gun firing!

Being on the island was very relaxing and gave us a chance to live with nature (there were 2 BIG cockroaches in our room...ack!). We got to say "Merci" and "Bon Jour" a lot and since Japanese isn't widely understood, I was able to use some English and a lot of hand jestures.

Next post will be about Noumea, stay tuned!

The Coral Palms Island resort
Ilot Maitre
Phone: 26.05.12

UPDATE: Found out this hotel is now called L'escapade Island Resort


Barbara said...

It looks blissful kat.

K and S said...

I hope you get a chance to go soon, Barbara!

Take care!

Anonymous said...

It looks absolutely gorgeous! And those over-water bungalows look like a beautiful retreat, I can just imagine going to sleep with the sound of the water relaxing :D

K and S said...

It was, Ellie! and really quiet too. Definitely a great place to veg!

Take care.

penny said...

Wow....breakfast, nap, lunch, nap, sunset, chatting, sounds like the ideal schedule...I think I'd have to put sightseeing in there in place of a nap, and maybe a bit of shopping. Good to have you back! Great pictures!

K and S said...

Thanks Penny!

Thanks for stopping by and take care.

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K and S said...

Thanks for stopping by, Carlos.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Cool review - my wife and I head there in less than a week for our honeymoon - hope it is as relaxing as it sounds!

K and S said...

Hope you have a nice time, Ad!

Take care and Congratulations!