Daily Ramblings - Sunday, November 16th to Thursday, November 20th

Our discovery of Noumea and New Caledonia began…surprised with the affluent economy.  New Caledonia has one-quarter of all the world’s nickel reserves which make up 96% of her exports. The most prosperous island group in the Pacific after Australia, Hawaii and New Zealand, the 250,000 inhabitants average over $35,000 annual income.

Although Captain Cook discovered New Caledonia and named her for her likeness to Scotland, France claimed New Caledonia in 1853 and soon began exporting convicts – a total of 22,000 between 1864 and 1922.  Today, still part of the French Republic, New Caledonia is VERY French.  We quickly became anxious for the arrival of our next guests: Eric, Kelly, Riley, Josie and Finley Hoien and Gary, Marilyn and Anna Vos.  The remote areas of the Loyalty Islands and the Isle of Pines contain some of the world’s best diving and fishing…and we longed for the tranquility we left behind in Tonga.