The family and I took an excursion to the Phare Amédé today. We left early this morning to head over to the island and started the day off with some snorkelling. As I was concentrating on not freaking out as I was surrounded by a school of white fish, I turned around and came face to face with a big sea turtle. My first instinct was to whip around and high tail it out of there, but then I remembered I was no longer afraid of sea creatures. So I chilled out with the turtle for a good 20 minutes.
I named him Paul. Paul was cool. He was eating some sea grass and making sure I wasn't planning on having him for dinner. Paul also had a fish-friend chilling out with him. His name was Pablo. Pablo was kind of shy and spent most of his time on Paul's belly.
Then my dad came to join us and tried to take some pictures of it.
That is as good as it gets. We'll have to work on some underwater camera techniques in the next few days.
OH! And some "hard-knuckled" Picasso-type fish thought I had beef with him. He was totally trying to start a fight with me. Faking left, then going right. Stupid fish. I obviously can't fit in his home! As for his wife, she was cute, but DEFINITELY not my type. The Picasso fish would make a fine dinner though...nom nom nom...
The day was packed with fun stuff and delicious food (unfortunately, no Picasso fish). There was some dancing, a guy playing with fire, some coconut eating and tree climbing. I got lots of fun footage for the up-and-coming video. I also got to shake my booty. Woo!!
We also climbed the staircase in the lighthouse. Pretty cool stuff.
Things I've learned today:
1. Turtles are pretty badass 2. Fish are friends, AND tasty tasty food. 3. I need to start squatting SOMETHING. Those stairs hurt. 4. Shaking my booty is fun 5. Just because the locals are doing it doesn't mean I should EVER try it myself (in reference to the guy playing with fire and climbing coconut trees)
“Bert and Martha” – They are well into their 70s, perhaps even their 80s. They are attached at the hip. Albert wears a beige button down shirt, tucked into beige shorts which are pulled up to his nipples and held in place by a brown belt. His white socks are pulled up to his knees and he wears white Velcro running shoes. Gertrude is seen in a lilac floral blouse tucked into purple shorts that are pulled up to her chest. She’s also wearing white socks, pulled up to her knees and white Velcro running shoes. On a good day, she will also have a white visor. They have been married for 60+ years and have been on this specific cruise 34 times.
The “Tourist” – The tourist can easily be identified by his neon coloured fanny pack. He often has a camera around his neck, zinc sunscreen on his nose (DID YOU KNOW THEY STILL MADE THAT STUFF???) and more often then not, wears an equally grotesque pair of neon-coloured shorts. He takes pictures of EVERYTHING. Every sign he passes, every local he bumps into, every chair he’s ever sat on. He owns every item in the ship’s souvenir shop and wears at least two (2) at a time on any given day.
“Barbie” – She’s tall, slender, blonde, perfect. At the gym, she’s the one on the elliptical machine. She’s been going at it for a good 25 minutes and isn’t even sweating. Her lululemons are in perfect condition. Her swinging pony tail is still immaculate. At the pool, she’s the one in an itsy bitsy bikini, baking. She’s so shiny she could be made of plastic. At dinner, she’s the one wearing stilletos, Armani and pearls. You hate her. I hate her. I’ve never heard her speak… but boy I hate her.
“Rolls McGee” – She’s about 5’2, and 250lbs. At the pool, she wears an unfortunate itsy bitsy bikini that never saw the light of day due to being swallowed in her 5 sets of rolls. She giggles when she walks, she hardly fits in the doorway and the elevator can hardly carry her weight. No matter how many hours she spends basking in the sun, she’s still as pasty white as ever. Yet, she still insists on wearing that damn bikini.
“The screaming child” – Similar to the “parentless child”, this child never.EVER.stops.SCREAMING. EVER. Contrarily to the “parentless child”, this child’s parents are sitting right there, watching in awe as their hyperactive child screams at the top of their lungs. It might also be running circles, with complete disregard to the others in the room. You begin to wonder if it’s even of human species. If you ever did anything to said child, at this point, nobody would hold you responsible for your actions.
“The meandering fool” – This person can often be spotted meandering the halls of the ship. She often has an absent look on her face and no matter how hard she tries, she just CANNOT walk a straight line. Usually in shorts, a t-shirt and a green sweater, she walks without a purpose. At the gym, she can be spotted by the dumbbells. If there is a loud banging noise and lots of screaming, you’ll be sure to spot her there, in her Element Crossfit t-shirt, with a sheepish look on her face, surrounded by fallen free-weights. She doesn’t go to the gym anymore. Now she can be seen with her nose stuck in her book at various spots on the ship.
I have not uploaded pictures to go along with this blog. Please forgive me. They will be on facebook.
We arrived in Nouméa early in the morning of August 20th. When we got to the port, the parking lot was FULL. We found a place to park, got out of the car and walked towards the information desk. That’s when they got out. There were hundreds of them. NO! Thousands of them!! Big, white, TAAAAALL. They were pouring out of the giant ship, walking towards the information desk, speaking loudly, some screaming, some still wobbly from the 3 days at sea. The tourists. Mothers and fathers and daughters and sons and grand-parents and great-grand-parents and babies and SCREAMING CHILDREN!!!!! My heart stopped. I was going to spend 11 days on board a ship with all these people. Oooo Grand-moman.. help me!!!
We dropped our luggage off, walked around town for a bit, had some early lunch, and got into the ship. It was around 11am at the time. We made it to our room and settled in. I was feeling sea-sick a little, already, and we hadn’t even left port yet. This was not a good start.
We left Nouméa around 5:30, right on schedule. The next day was an “at sea” day. It was a beautiful day.
We arrived in Suva on the 22nd of August. I had signed up for a rainforest walk which was supposed to be “for people in top physical condition”. I met up with the group, which was composed of some teenaged boys and girls, and many 60+ yrs. (a couple of them had a cane). The walk was beautiful, but I’m pretty sure anyone could have done it. It was well groomed with ramps to hold on to. Nothing like what I had seen in New-Zealand (which is what I was expecting). We got to our swimming hole where I swung off a tarzan rope. As expected, I was the only girl to have tried it. When we walked back, it had begun raining. Great. Lili’s curse followed me all the way to Fiji. We stopped by a little restaurant for our “refreshments” and watched a great show of Fii dances.
Port-Denarau was our next location. We arrived early on August 23rd. We had nothing planned, so we hired a taxi to take us to a GORGEOUS resort where I got to do some snorkelling. The waves were brutal, but I dove right in anyways…. Right into a big school of fish, between two corals with algae floating everywhere. I FREAKED!! I swallowed 10 gallons of salt water, swam back out and told moman it might be a little too turbulent for her liking. Being the fool that I am, I went back in… right in the same school of fish, between the two corals. I swallowed another 10 gallons of salt water, told myself to “calm the hell down”, and swam around for a bit. I lasted a good 15 minutes before I let the waves push me back to shore, between the two corals. I moved to a quieter part of the sea (and FAR prettier, with better corals and fish). I spent the rest of the hour there and did not freak once.
August 24th, we arrived in Savusavu right on time, early in the morning. Popa had booked us all for a rainforest walk at the very last minute. The drive there was beautiful… and uphill. We must have driven 90% of the way in first gear. I’ve never heard a bus struggle so hard to make it up a hill. It was almost heartbreaking. Unfortunately, anytime you wanted to shed a tear for this bus, you’d be overwhelmed with an intoxicating cloud of diesel fumes. The dirty black kind. Lung cancer here I come.
An hour and a half later, we arrived at destination. This rainforest walk was also rated as “for people in top physical condition only”. It was roughly 45 minutes of walking downhill, and 1 hour of walking back uphill on a fairly easy path. Once again, there was an elderly lady there, with a cane. Not so difficult. Beautiful, once again. And beautiful weather too! I got the greatest t-shirt-with-a-hole-on-the-back-of-my-neck tan EVER!
August 25th was an “at sea” day. Beautiful weather once again.
August 26th, we arrived at Port-Vila, Vanuatu. I was booked on an “Experienced Snorkelling” tour. We were told that there aren’t sharks in these waters, but there is a species of sea snake we should look out for. They’re about yay big (index fingers and thumbs touching, making a circle that size), but they don’t really bite. If you do see one though, just cover your ears and it should swim right past you. We all got on our little boat and the further away from shore we got, the more nervous I got too. The water was crystal clear and a rich turquoise colour too. I just can’t resist swimming in that kind of water. So snorkel and fins I put on, and into the water I jumped. I did the quickest 360 ever. No sharks in sight. (I know… I was told to watch out for snakes and I look for sharks). It was a whole new world down there! I’ve never seen such gorgeous corals and such diversity in fish! We spent a good 30-45 minutes snorkelling there. I only freaked out 3 times. I’m pretty proud of myself. When we got back we were told that although the sea snakes don’t usually bite, they are actually 10X more venomous then a cobra. Thanks.
August 27th, Mystery Island. The most beautiful little island I have seen to this day. It was a sunny, windy day. The waters were a hypnotizing, almost toxic looking, neon-turquoise colour. It was absolutely crystal clear. There were corals everywhere. I grabbed my popa’s snorkel, a towel and put on my bathing suit and off we went. The tender dropped us off at the little dock, and moman, popa and I went off to explore the island. A gruelling 1.5 (one and a half) minutes later, we were on the other side. Ooookay… Let’s walk around then! 30 minutes later, we had made it back to our starting point. Ooookay… well, I’m going snorkelling.
With moman tailing behind, I jumped into the water. I was about 3 meters into the water and the ocean floor was already about 20 meters under water… and COVERED in sea-cucumbers. I was so shocked that I forgot moman was tailing behind. When I turned around, I saw her trying to head back to shore. I gave her a push back onto the coral. Poor woman had some snorkel problems and ended up swallowing more salt water then she had wanted. She decided to stay where she could touch the bottom. It was too crowded and too deep for her liking. I went back in for another 30 minutes, until my snorkel tour would start. I had originally joined an “underwater caves tour”, which was supposed to be 30 minutes. I had been the only one signed up for it, so I got into a little boat (how did that thing even float, I don’t know), with the group who were booked for the ship-wreck tour. I decided to just join them in the ship-wreck tour. They had payed 30$ for it, and it was 1hour. I had payed 25$ for a 30 minute tour. I got to spend more time in the water, see AMAZING corals, the ship wreck (which had a whole new ecosystem attached to it) AND I got to see the cave I was supposed to see, for 25$. Pretty good deal, I must say. Surprisingly, I only freaked out once. It was much deeper, the corals much larger and more elaborate, and the fish much bigger then I had seen before. I’m pretty proud of myself.
August 28th, we arrived in Lifou. Moman, popa and I were booked on a tour that would take us to a tribe. Lifou is part of New-Caledonia, and popa works with a couple of people from Lifou. It was really interesting to learn about the Kanack culture and history. The women also showed us how they prepared the Bougna (traditional meal which I had tasted before but did not particularly like. I liked it the second time though.) We were pleasantly surprised to see how organized they were (please read previous blogs about New-Caledonia). They also held a wonderful show for us.
August 29th – HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMAN!!!!! Was at “at sea” day. A beautiful day.
August 30th – another “at sea” day. Stormy today. I actually feel very sea-sick right now… again. I’m going to stop now.
yeah, needed to get out of the house, so I just went to execs for a few drinks, saw some people that are always there and hung out with them. weekend was alright. did some homework, hung out with friends, and saw the autoshow today,