On a beautiful weekend with brisk SE trade winds the kitesurfers and windsurfers flock to l'Escapade Island Resort on Ilot Maitre. It is a marvellous carnival of color, speed and enthusiasm. For the uninitiated the wonder is that all those kite strings don't get tangled. As I watched I kept expecting the kitesurfers, streaking along at 20+ knots, to collide or at least get the lines to their kites crossed with one another. But despite the confusion of headlong flight, mid-air leaps, spins, and spills I never saw any entanglements.
Many of the people in this image are taking lessons with one of Noumea's Kitesurfing schools. Students and instructors wear radios strapped to their helmets so the instructor can give pointers while the student is learning how to handle the giant kite.
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.