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Coral Reef Garden New Caledonia Mbe
Nouvelle Calédonie

Ilot Mbe Kouen is just 12 nautical miles west of Noumea, New Caledonia. It is a tiny lagoon islet - mostly sand - surrounded by magnificent coral reef gardens. The anchorage is one of the most protected anchorages close to the New Caledonia Barrier Reef and it is a popular place during weekends and holidays. This image was taken on Easter weekend and more than 30 boats were lounging in the anchorage while the owners and their families cavorted on the white sand beach or snorkeled on the reefs. At low tide the coral garden in this image comes right out of the water and the corals can be exposed to the air, sun and rain for several hours.You can only snorkel over it at high tide.

I was wonerstruck at the density and variety of living corals. Truthfully I didn't expect it to be so healthy as most reef-tops are either old dead coral rock or small clumps of living corals struggling in a ruin of dead and broken coral - either from big waves smashing down on the reef top or people grazing on the reef at low tide, breaking the coral to find sea shells, octopus, or just clomping around for the fun of it.

This reef is protected from big waves by the barrier reef and as the whole area is within the network of marine reserves so the holliday makers have learned to be careful of the reefs.

I was delighted with this sphere image - it really gives you the feeling of what it is like to snorkel here, being able to see the corals and look up to check on the location of the dinghy or the island. My little GoPro Hero3 Black did really well.

Freddy and I wandered all over in the coral gardens, ooing and ahhing and taking photos of the swarms of fish we came upon. It was so beautiful we stayed in until the tide forced us out and we slithered, shivering and waterlogged, back into the dinghy. 

Copyright: Richard Chesher
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 11246x5623
Taken: 30/03/2013
Chargée: 31/03/2013
Mis à jour: 26/05/2014
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Tags: underwater; underwater landscape; underwater seascape; underwater panorama; coral; coral reef; coral garden; new caledonia; mbe kouen; world heritage site; new caledonia lagoon; lagoon; snorkelling; snorkeling; diving; water sports
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More About Nouvelle Calédonie

Une Nation du Pacifique Sud, la plus proche de l'Australie et de la Nouvelle Zélande. Une chaîne de hautes montagnes, d'impressionnantes cascades et de nombreuses rivières avec une flore et une faune variée et souvent unique au monde - C'est le paradis de la randonnée pédestre ou équestre ainsi que de l'excursion en véhicule tout-terrain.Le plus grand lagon du monde, peuplé d'une faune tropicale endémique particulièrement riche, avec des récifs et des populations de poissons rares et protégées. Des centaines d'épaves sous-marines, des îlots, de nombreuses plages de sable blanc. La population calédonienne est issue d'un large brassage culturel : Mélanésiens, Européens, Polynésiens, Vietnamiens, Chinois, Japonais, et la langue et culture française. La Nouvelle-Calédonie est dotée de très bonnes infrastructures médicales et sociales. Une infrastructure touristique qui offre un large éventail de types d'hébergement allant de l'hôtel 5 étoiles au camping aménagé en passant par l'accueil en milieu tribal, les chambres d'hôtes, les refuges et l'auberge de jeunesse.