This is a lush, thriving coral reef near Ilot Mbe Kouen, just inside of New Caledonia's Great Barrier reef. It is a super dense thicket of coral branches, mostly formed by several species of the genus Acropora.
At low tide, the tips of the coral branches come out of the water. We waited until mid-tide to explore it. We carefully swam over the thickets, sometimes just belly deep, and I was delighted to find little pockets here and there where the water was deeper and often filled with other species of corals.
It was, probably, the other species of corals that kept the Acropora from filling in those areas, too. Corals do fight for their territory, but it is a very slow battle and one you would not be likely to witness unless you went swimming here at night with a powerful magnifying lens.
I tried very hard to capture the feeling of discovery and delight these scintillating tide-pools of coral gave me. The only thing I can compare the feeling to was the laughing childhood wonder of looking into a sugar Easter Egg and seeing a small scene of springtime inside. I took sphere images of many of these coral Easter Eggs from different angles, from the edge of the thickets and the center of the pools, but could not quite capture what I felt. This one came closest and I hope you can see the delight and beauty as I did.
If you really want to experience this delight as I did, come see it yourself. Download a copy of the Cruising Guide to New Caledonia or the Rocket Travel Guide to New Caledonia to find out just how to do it.
新喀里多尼亚是离澳大利亚和新西兰最近的南太平洋岛屿。该岛是法国领地且官方语言是法语，尽管如此，其文化却丰富多彩，揉合了美拉尼西亚、欧洲、波利尼西亚、越南、中国、印尼等国的风情。这里有一个多山的大岛，称为大地岛 (Grande Terre)，和6个较小的岛屿——洛亚蒂三岛 (Loyalty Islands)、贝莱普群岛 (Belep) 和松树岛 (Isle of Pines)。 整个群岛人口极为稀少，有大片的荒野。这里有数百公里长的徒步小径、随处可见的露营营地、超过42个公园和保护区、清澈透明的河流和莹莹闪光的瀑布。约三分之一的人口居住在首府努美阿。镍的开采是该国最主要的工业，也是维持其高标准生活的主要经济来源。大地岛四周环绕着世界第二大珊瑚礁，此珊瑚礁形成的泻湖是世界上最大的，也是受保护的泻湖。该泻湖于2008年被列为世界遗产，面积达24000平方公里，是品种丰富的鱼类和无脊椎动物栖息之地。 对于刚上岛的游客而言，最引人注目的是这里鲜艳夺目的色彩。努美阿以其完备的酒店、度假酒店、餐馆设施和丰富多彩的活动欢迎游客的到来。