There are a couple of mysteries about this sphere image. One mystery I know the answer to (but you don't) and one I have not figured out.
What I can't work out concerns the size and shape of this enormous round rock perched on the bank of the Riviere Bleue de Prony in southern New Caledonia. The river rapids pass right next to it and during really heavy rains the river does get moving pretty fast. But I can't imagine it was ever such a torrent as to grind this big rock into a round shape like it was a little river pebble. Or, for that matter, to roll it here from somewhere upstream. I know it is really heavy because there are lots of smaller versions around here and they look and feel like they are nearly pure iron. Iron ore is, in fact, a very important component of this part of Grande Terre. The strip miners of the 1950s to the 1960s came very close to this river and may soon return to level all this, maybe breaking up and trucking away this gorgeous rock. But meanwhile it is amazing to wonder how on earth it ever got there.
The other mystery is how do you think I took this image? Where was I? Not hovering over the rapids? This image is one of the first I have taken with my new GoPro Hero2 . This little wonder camera is tiny, weighs next to nothing, has a 170 degree fish-eye lens, and takes 11 megapixel images once every two seconds (or whatever interval I set it to). I plan to use it as I did in this image to compose the sphere photos from locations that would be otherwise impossible for me to take the image from. Have another look at this sphere image and see if you can solve the mystery of where I was when I took the photo.
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.