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Diving in New Caledonia's lagoon is an extraordinary experience - using SCUBA or just snorkelling. My wife and I took a day trip aboard the MaryD to Amedee Island, undoubtedly the very best excursion I've had anywhere. Amedee Island is about a 40 minute run from Noumea on the high speed MaryD. It's just on the inner edge of New Caledonia's Barrier Reef. The island and the surrounding waters are all part of a huge natural lagoon reserve and included in the World Heritage Site as one of our planet's most diverse and vibrant coral reef ecosystems.
Well, this underwater sphere image certainly supports that World Heritage Site designation. This photo was taken, mind you, only a short flipper away from the white sand beach, the historic lighthouse, and an incredible BBQ lunch complete with Polynesian dancing. It's only about 3 meters deep where I took the photo (holding my breath). I have never seen so many fish of so many different kinds all in one place before. We'll be back!
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.