The fresh water fish in this wonderful swimming hole on the NC-GR1 walking track in New Caledonia are extremely forward. There are two species in the sphere image; Kuhlia rupestris is the larger one, and a really big fish is 15-25 cm long. The smaller, silver fish is Kuhlia munda (silvery with the yellow and black tail) and they are mostly 3 to 8 cm long. Trekkers and swimmers who stop by this pool commonly treat the fish to some crumbs from their lunch and once the fish are sure you are not one of those awful homminds that try to spear or hook them (despite their small size) they know no fear.
When the weather is roasting hot in the summertime, Freddy and I hike up to what we call the Olympic Pool to do some laps, cool off, and take photos. The deep swimmable part of the Olympic Pool waterhole is 70 meters long, the water is nice and clear and cool. After a heavy rain you can swim into the current and, where the pool is narrow, the current is strong enough that you can swim in place till your arms drop off.
After we go swimming I pay tribute to the owners of the pool by giving them some of my after-swimming crunchy granola bar. So the fish know us and when I emerge from the water to dry off after swimming the little guys line up along the rocky shoreline looking very expectant and polite. Toss a few crumbs in and the water explodes with enthusiastic fish attacking the crumbs even before they hit the water. It's great fun and they usually get more of my crunchy bar than I do.
They know us so well that when I stop swimming to take a rest they come swarming around, inches from my goggles (or my GoPro Hero3 that I used to take this sphere image). And if I forget to bring along a crunchy bar, the next time we come, the little monsters sneak up behind me and tug on my body hair; hard enough to get the message across.
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.