On my 74th birthday Freddy and I decided to trek to the waterfall on the Carenage River, Grande Terre, New Caledonia. The mission was to create a sphere image in the pool at the base of the waterfall - above and below the water - right where the waterfall thunders into the clear pool. In addition, I really wanted to photograph jumpups but had no idea if my trusty little GoPro Hero3 camera rig would be able to capture them because jumpups are small, transparent, and move really fast.
Most people never notice jumpups but they abound in rapids and waterfalls. They are perfectly easy to see, but we tend to be so mesmerized by a massive waterfall or a dramatic scene of wild rapids that the tiny jumpups are not properly admired.
Jumpups leap up out of rapidly moving water, sometimes soaring over a meter into the air. They really pop out of a waterfall - sometimes right at the top, sometimes in the middle of the cascade - and can land several meters away from the base of the falls. They are amazing to watch and I can't imagine how or why they form.
But WOW, the little GoPros exceeded my every expectation, not only time-freezing the jumpups into delightful jewels but also revealing a whole array of embryonic jumpups forming amazing crystaline water sculptures at the base of the waterfall.
Some of the jumpups are perfect little spheres but others are somehow rumpled into mulberry shapes. Enjoy their display and next time you go to see a waterfall be sure to allow the jumpups to bring you some joy.
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.