Thursday, August 14, 2014

DAY 4 OF OUR CRUISE - TUESDAY 5TH AUGUST - LIFOU



We had a very smooth run overnight from Noumea to Lifou, and it was lovely to wake up this morning to see land out of our porthole.  In fact it seems that no sooner had we awoken when they started to let everyone know that the tender boats were being lowered to carry passengers to shore…  It was a bit disappointing to see that the skies were really overcast and the forecast was for no improvement for the day as well as some showers.  I felt a little disappointed as this was a beautiful island and the waters around it can only truly be appreciated with the full sun on it to see the magnificent colours of the water and reef. 

One of the tender boats was lowered directly outside our porthole and we were able to watch it being lowered by the winch and uphooked and set up ready to take passengers ashore.  The first tender boats started leaving the ship around 8am.  We were not ready at all to go ashore then, so we went down to the Waterfront Restaurant and had a leisurely breakfast first…  We have been really enjoying the meals in here as we are waited on hand and foot, and the staff are exceptional, coming around making sure that we are satisfied and they bring the meals out in a very timely manner.  

After breakfast we went and got our tickets to go ashore…  We didn’t book any tours,  as I had read up on quite a bit of information on Lifou and most of the stuff I had read indicated that the tour guides did not speak English and they just drove you and you were not allowed to talk to them whilst they were driving… We figured that if this was the case, we might as well get ourselves around….

Before going ashore we went up to Deck 12, to get a good look at the island from the ship, then it was back to our room quickly to get ready to depart. 


Our first view of the Island of Lifou

We were on the tender boat heading to shore at approx.. 9.45am which put us on the jetty on shore just a little before 10am.  The tender boats are a little bigger than I thought and each one of them holds approximately 140 passengers.  There are 14 of these tender boats attached to the ship.
Taken by the tender boats to shore.
 We got a great view of our ship from the shore... In fact we were able to get quite a few great shots of the Pacific Dawn from the Island of Lifou.  It looked quite majestic just sitting out in the water...

The Pacific Dawn docked in Lifou.
Steve Kathy and Ian on the beach in Lifou
On the beach with the ship in the background.
 The beach were we arrived was beautiful,  lovely white sandy beaches, with palm trees all around and the cleanest clearest water you have ever seen.  As I was walking in on the jetty, we saw a huge turtle.  Apparently there are lots of them around here. 

Firstly we walked up through the markets, and watched the indigenous folk weaving, braiding hair, massages.  The markets were pretty poor.  Mainly they offer services rather than you buying goods.
 
Weaving palm leaves at the markets
They make these hats out of palm leaves


Markets in Lifou
Markets in Lifou

The thing that struck us about Lifou was that it was a pretty poor community, most of them living in corrugated iron huts similar to the shack the boys go fishing in at Corio Bay.    They obviously do not garden here, and they don’t have lawns and gardens as such.  There is quite a biit of rubbish laying around the town…
Our first port of call was to hike a good couple of kilometres up the road where we turned left and headed up to the Church of Our Lday of Lourdes.  It was a couple of kilometre walk from where we arrived on the island, and we saw these island plants which I wanted to photograph because they were just a little different....
Not sure what this plant is, but there were lots of them on the island.
This hibiscus was really quite vivid but what really drew out attention to it were the leaves.  I have never seen a hibicus plant with such narrow leaves before... 
Unusual leaves for a hibiscus plant. 
This was quite an unusual plant also with little flowers at the end of the bells. 

 This was a pretty arduous climb to the church BUT WELL WORTH IT.  The view to the Coral Sea and our ship is unsurpassed.   
Our destination
The beginning of a big lot of stairs to climb.
Amazing views of the bay with our ship.
Still climbing those steps..
The view at the top

This church has been completely renovated by the local community who still use the church today.   A couple of things we noticed about it was that they do not have any pews, but grass mats that they sit on.   

Notre Dame De Lourdes Church - Lifou
Notre Dame De Lourdes Church - Lifou
The acoustics in the church were just beautiful and Kathy and I couldn’t help but break out in song, singing “Amazing Love how can it be, that thou my God shouldst die for me”  It was a very simple church that stood out right on the hill on the point, and we loved it here…
My favourite church on the island... The acoustics were really lovely in here and we couldn't help but sing...

We took some great photos on our way back down....
Good view of our ship from the Notre Dame de Lourdes
Steve up at the Lookout...
Amazing views.... how much more spectacular would it have been if the sun had been out. 
Us girls having a break whilst the guys went for a little walk in the bush....
From here we walked back down the hill and took the turn to the left and went down to Jinek Bay Marine Park.  It cost $15 to swim here and they will only allow 100 people in the water here at anyone time. Very few of us went swimming as the weather was pretty poor… It was still blowing a gale, and none of us felt like getting wet.  Still it was lovely to see in the little hut near the entrance to the water.  We probably spent 10-15 minutes here before heading back to the main road where we came across one o their traditional homes.  We were able to go in there and have a look and take photos for a small donation.

The sign to Jinek Bay Marine Park
Watching the snorkelers..
The coastline at Jinek Bay - Lifou
Snorkeling on the reef.

 We probably spent 10-15 minutes here before heading back to the main road where we came across one o their traditional homes.  We were able to go in there and have a look and take photos for a small donation. 

Traditional housing in Lifou
Inside  one of their traditional huts

Kathy and I at the other entrance.  Their doors are very low....
After leaving here, we head back up the road towards the ship, walk past the ship turnoff and keep heading up the coastal road. We  come across another Catholic operational church on the left hand side and opposite it was a mini museum with local history. Beside this is a well decorated cemetery in traditional Kanak splendor.
The other catholic church in Lifou
Inside the church
Beautifully carved work in the church
Lovely carved cross - a lot of the traditional features of the island...
Taken from the balcony of the church

Now, beside this little church  is a $10 cave experience,
The Cave Experience
 WOW, this is fabulous and only $10 each to climb down through the caves, it is a rope assist down and up and there is one squeeze which is ok and you can walk through but the view and experience is priceless.  It was worth the $10 also I did find it very difficult to climb down.  I honestly wondered whether I had done the right thing and I must admit I was nervous about the walk down.
Rough road down.
Ian and Kathy climbing down.  thank goodness for the ropes. 
It was a hard climb down on uneven ground... not much of a path
Ian almost at the entrance of the cave
Difficulty getting down... thank goodness for that rope
There was a fresh water hole for swimming in the base of the cave and the water was pretty spectacular.  Quite a few of the young people just jumped in.   Lots of people were complaining about the climb back up but I found it a lot easer to come up rather than go down.
Beautiful fresh water swimming hole on the floor of the cave
Having a rest in the cave
The climb back up again. 
Almost at the top again.
the climb up
Kathy and I at the top...
Definitely a worthwhile experience.  So proud that I made it down and up again. 
 From here we wandered around the little cemetery... People on the islands love flowers and each of the tombstone were covered in them,
The tombstones were covered in artifical flowers.  Not sure where they got them from...


This headstone amused us...
Kathy wandering around reading the different headstones. 
We loved seeing all the grass huts on the island and we did take several photos of them...

More traditional huts
 Their homes were very basic.... The only homes we saw on the island other then their grass huts, were these corrugated iron sheds.  In fact the fishing shed the boys use locally was in as good a nick or better than the homes these villagers lived in. 
Typical island home in Lifou....
By now we  had walked a good 5 kilometres of more and our feet were getting very tired.  It was close to 2pm and we were almost ready to go back to the sip for lunch..  Whilst we were at the mini museum, Steve noticed that there was a bell tower, so he made the climb up, and the views of the ship were pretty spectacular from up here.
Spectacular photo of our ship the Pacific Dawn
One of the few homes we saw with planted gardens.
 The Sun came out for a short period of time, and we got a small glinpse of just how much of a paradise Lifou really is... It was quite breathtaking...
Another photo of our ship


On our way  back to the boat I caught accosted by these two delightful school children who wanted to know if iit would be alright to interview me for one of their school lessons.  They were delightful young girls who could only really speak French. It was nice to be able to help them out.  By this stage it was going on for 2.30pm.  We walked back out along the jetty and caught the first tender boat back to the ship as soon as we could.  
Two beautiful school children who wanted some help from me with a survey they were doing in English. 
I was a little sad to leave this beautiful island... It truely is an amazing little spot in the world...
Steve waiting for me to finish talking to the girls....
About to catch our tender boat back to the ship...
Our tender boat coming back for us...
Boarding our tender boat... these boats held 150 people.
We arrived  back on the ship and once again had to go through immigration where they scanned us and checked our belongings. 
By the time we got back to our cabin it was closer to 3pm and we were feeling pretty hungry, so we met up with Ian and Kathy and headed up to the Plantation Restaurant for a late lunch.  Both Kathy and  I were exhausted, so us girls headed back to our cabin for a nap whilst the guys enjoyed a second cuppa and then Steve headed back up to the top deck to watch us leave Lifou. 
We both had a sleep then and woke just in time to get ready to go down to the Waterfront Restaurant for dinner.  
Dinner in the Waterfront Restaurant
My main meal
Steve's main meal.

 this was probably one of Steve's most favourite meal on the whole cruise.


.  It is Pirate night on the ship tonight, so we wanted an early dinner so we could catch the show at “The Marquee” at 7.30pm.  Tonight’s show was “The Pirates of the Pacific”.  

Scenes from "Pirates of the Pacific"
Scenes from "Pirates of the Pacific"
Scenes from "Pirates of the Pacific"
Scenes from "Pirates of the Pacific"
Scenes from "Pirates of the Pacific"
It was wonderful, we enjoyed every minute of it. 

 From here we were just in time to watch the Pacific Cirque performing in the Atrium.  They were absolutely spectacular, more so considering that the boat was swaying quite a bit due to some rough weather… Took photos as usuall. 
The Pacific Circus in action...
The Pacific Circus in action...
The Pacific Circus in action...
The Pacific Circus in action...
The Pacific Circus in action...
The Pacific Circus in action...
 This show finished at 9.30pm, so we headed back up to the Plantation Restaurant to have a cuppa and a little bit of supper.  We sat chatting for an hour with Ian and Kathy and then we all headed back to the Atrium to listen to some live music.  This Enchanted Evening lasted for almost an hour, so it was almost 11.30pm when we headed off to go back to our cabin.  Another lovely day in Paradise. 


1 comments:

The Sunshine Sirens August 14, 2014 at 6:58 PM  

Looks like such a wonderful trip....can't wait for ours now xxBarb

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