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The Baie de Pain on the mid east coast of Grande Terre New Caledonia is a well protected anchorage but it's very hard to find a place to drop the anchor and chain because the whole bay is filled with luxuriant and very brittle corals. We found only one good place where the bottom was flat sand with enough swinging room to assure both a well set anchor and happy corals. In addition to the very real environmental concerns of dropping a 60 kg anchor and 30 metres of chain into delicate corals, there is also a good chance that if a wind comes up the anchor will be clogged with broken coral and won't keep the boat off a leeward shore. For details on save and responsible anchoring in coral environments see the Cruising Guide to New Caledonia.
New Caledonia is the closest South Pacific Island to Australia and New Zealand. It is a French Territory and although the official language is French the culture is a blend of Melanesian, European, Polynesian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indonesian, and more. There is one large mountainous island called Grande Terre and 6 smaller islands - the three Loyalty Islands, Belep and the Isle of Pines.The islands are remarkably unpopulated and there are vast areas of wilderness. There are hundreds of kilometers of walking treks, camp grounds, more than 42 parks and reserves, and crystal clear rivers with sparkling waterfalls. Almost one third of the population is located in the capital city of Noumea. Nickel mining is the primary industry and is the major contributor to the high standard of living in the country. Grande Terre is surrounded by the second largest barrier reef in the world and the protected lagoon created by this barrier reef is the largest in the world. Listed as a World Heritage Site in 2008, the lagoon is 24,000 square kilometers and supports a diverse and luxuriant fauna of fish and invertebrates.The vibrant, clear and rich colors are one of the first things that visitors notice when they arrive. Noumea has a complete range of hotels, resorts, restaurants, and activities to welcome visitors.