During calm spells the southern section of the coral reef at Ilot Maitre marine reserve offers spectacular snorkeling. The corals are alive and so closely packed on top of the reef that there is not a millimetre of space. There are lots of fish around but much less courageous than those living on the reefs in front of l'Escapade Island Resort.
The fish near the resort don't run away when someone appears underwater with a camera but here on this reef the fish will not pose for the camera.
As I was taking this image a big octopus came over to see what we were doing. The octopus was not shy at all and when Freddy swam over to photography him he just looked calmly back at the camera.
Noumea is the capital and vacation centre of the Islands of New Caledonia in the South Pacific. Noumea is a "French" city, but the 91,000 inhabitants are a very mixed cultural group with French, Melanesian, Polynesian, Indonesian, Vietnamese, and lots of mixtures of these. Over 60% of the population of New Caledonia lives in Noumea.Noumea is a peninsula on the southwestern end of Grande Terre and the central business district (Centre Ville) is next to one of the best natural harbours in the South Pacific. The lagoon side of the peninsula has two picturesque bays with white sand beaches and is called Anse Vata and Baie des Citrons. These twin bays are the international tourism capital of New Caledonia with hotels, restaurants and bars on the landward side of "La Promenade".First settled by the French in 1854, Noumea retains close political ties with France. It has excellent schools and public facilities - parks, recreation areas, exercise paths, schools and medical facilities. Today it is the fastest growing city in the South Pacific. There are 23 hotels in Noumea ranging from one to five stars and over 100 Restaurants.