Ilot Mboa is 18 nautical miles NW of Noumea in New Caledonia. It is one of the many small lagoon islands that dot the world's largest coral reef lagoon. During the week there is rarely anyone there so it makes a lovely stop for a picnic on the fabulous white coral sand beach and a cooling swim off the beach.
But it is really only a day anchorage, the island and surrounding reefs offering little protection should the wind pick up over 20 knots. It's just over three miles to Ilot Ndukue - a nicely protected anchorage.
The reefs surrounding the island look fabulous from the surface but it turns out they are mostly dead coral covered with soft coral and algae. I don't know what wiped out the living coral but it is rather depressing. We didn't check the reefs everywhere around the island so perhaps some nice live coral still exists there.
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.