Every photographer knows that really pretty scenic overlooks are not all that easy to find (with the exception of the overlooks that are plotted on tourism maps or sign-posted by the parks people). Underwater, where you can't see very far anyway, choice overlooks are really rare. In most places, when you look off the edge of a reef or an underwater cliff what you see is nothing but a vague blue. You need to explore to find a place where there is something interesting just off the edge of the escarpment.
I found this underwater scenic overlook at Ilot Kouare two years ago and tried to take a sphere image with my Canon 7D in it's Ikelite underwater housing. About two thirds of the sphere images were great but some of the frames just had open water in them and the wouldn't stitch. So I never finished it.
This year, when we sailed down to Kouare, I went straight to the overlook from the coral ridge to try again - this time using my itsy-bitsy GoPro Hero 3 Black stuck on the end of a telescoping carbon fibre pole.
The huge yellow Porites coral heads were exactly as I last saw them, the water was clear, and there was even a little shark cruising around just off the reef to add some spice to the scene. The big purple sea anemone was still there, looking beautiful and just next to it a Tridacna derasa giant clam - all just as it was two years ago. The only thing that was different was an almost complete lack of medium sized fish and the clouds of little blue chromis fish that we saw two years ago.
After I took the photos from the top of the ridge I moved between the ridge and the big coral heads to take another image from down in the valley - where I knew I would have lots of good images in every direction that would make the sphere easier to stitch. I was worried that the one from the ridge might not stitch well. I needn't have worried. AutoPano Giga did a magic job, weaving 40 images into this lovely underwater scenic overlook.
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.