As author and publisher of the Cruising Guide to New Caledonia I get to meet most of the superyachts that come to New Caledonia. Like most of the photographers on 360Cities.net I am a techno freak trying to push the leading edge of photography into the future. So I am truly impressed by the astonishing examples of nautical engineering that surrounds me when I step aboard one of these big vessels at the Port Sud Marina Not only are superyachts renditions of beauty, they must be fully functional sea faring vessels in any kind of seas anywhere in the world. Part of their allure is their outward appearing immunity to entropy. They rarely get old or worn out. This illusion is due to the diligent efforts of their crews and the temperament of their owners.
The crew aboard a superyacht live a strange life - stretched between absolute luxury in the Planet's most beautiful seas and constant hard work keeping entropy at bay - washing and polishing whenever the vessel can tie to a wharf, restocking supplies, fixing every blemish as soon as it appears, wiping every trace of oil from the engine room, arranging the dining table and every meal to be a work of art suitable for the magic surroundings every night, restocking, supplying, fixing, trimming, plotting routes, navigating with zero error, organising diving and surfing activities in truly remote locations and above it all - always - being trusted, patient, pleasant, and friendly to the owner(s) and guests. They are happy and nice about being nit-picking fanatics. I am as impressed by the span of their balance as much as I am by the resulting glory of the castles of the sea they sail every day. Of course the crew undergoes rigorous training programs for certification aboard superyachts and they must pass before hard-eyed examiners to get their tickets. But the REAL test of their abilities is maintaining their precarious social niche during the day to day joy-rides where all must be kept running smoothly and perfectly despite any frustrations. They can survive most of the vicissitudes the sea and ship throw at them but should they fail even once to maintain the honour and respect due the guests, owners and the ship, they are history at the next landfall.
Noumea is the capital and vacation centre of the Islands of New Caledonia in the South Pacific. Noumea is a "French" city, but the 91,000 inhabitants are a very mixed cultural group with French, Melanesian, Polynesian, Indonesian, Vietnamese, and lots of mixtures of these. Over 60% of the population of New Caledonia lives in Noumea.Noumea is a peninsula on the southwestern end of Grande Terre and the central business district (Centre Ville) is next to one of the best natural harbours in the South Pacific. The lagoon side of the peninsula has two picturesque bays with white sand beaches and is called Anse Vata and Baie des Citrons. These twin bays are the international tourism capital of New Caledonia with hotels, restaurants and bars on the landward side of "La Promenade".First settled by the French in 1854, Noumea retains close political ties with France. It has excellent schools and public facilities - parks, recreation areas, exercise paths, schools and medical facilities. Today it is the fastest growing city in the South Pacific. There are 23 hotels in Noumea ranging from one to five stars and over 100 Restaurants.