The Great Lagoon Regatta of New Caledonia takes place in May with local and International yachts competing in a 3 day race from Noumea to Turtle Bay on Ile Ouen and then down through New Caledonia’s vast southern lagoon to Ilot Kouare, a gleaming little lagoon island surrounded by sparkling clear water, powder white sand beaches and colourful coral reefs. On day 3 the flotilla will sail back to Noumea for prize-giving, feasting, and celebrating.
I took this aerial Kite sphere image on a weekday during the summer and, as you can see, there were only three yachts visiting the little island. I plan to come back during the Regatta to take some more images (I really love cruising New Caledonia's southern lagoon).
The great south lagoon is part of the New Caledonia Lagoon World Heritage Site. Except on long weekends and holidays with perfect weather when the occasional yacht will stop by, Ilot Kouare is inhabited only by sea birds, fish, dolphins and sometimes passing whales. It is a good New Caledonia Lagoon Anchorage during settled weather and yachts can anchor on one side or the other depending on the wind conditions. For a look at the cruise plan for the regatta check out the Great Lagoon Regatta of New Caledonia on Google Maps.
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.