Ilot Mato New Caledonia

Ilot Mato is a wonderful anchorage with protection from all wind directions. Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island has a miniature lagoon within New Caledonia's Great Southern Lagoon. You can enjoy well developed coral reefs with ancient coral heads that are thousands of years old, a reef nursery area where baby tropical fish of every description begin their adventure, sea eagles, white sand beaches, and often nobody in the anchorage but your own yacht. Here is a virtual tour of Ilot Mato to tide you over until you can get here yourself. Be sure to click on the images to see the sphere image, read the caption and click on the full page view for a virtual reality expedition to Ilot Mato. All the details you need to get yourself here in person are on the Rocket Cruising Guide to New Caledonia. Order yours now at cruising-newcaledonia.com

New Caledonia Anchorage Aerial PanoramaThis New Caledonia Anchorage sphere image was taken from a kite flying about 200 metres above the Ilot Mato anchorage. We launched the kite from the stern of the Moira, let it up about 20 meters, and then att...
Coral Reef passes are lined with a vibrant assembly of living corals, crinoids, sponges, and other creatures feeding on the continual flow of plankton laden sea water served up by tidal currents. There are also lots of fish, turtles and sharks in ...
Giant Trevally, Caranx ignobilis, are big, smart, curious fish. Freddy and I nick-named this one Posei (short for Poseidon). He (a male according to his black dorsal colouring) is attracted to Freddy for two reasons.First, Posei knows us. Giant Tr...
Massive corals, like this 6 meter sphere of Porites, grow between 5 to 10mm per year making this one somewhere between 600 to 1200 years old. It appears to be in excellent health although many of the other corals inhabiting this patch reef in Ilot...
Killer Triton attacks Crown of ThornsMemory Bubble February 7, 2013 - Ilot Mato, Great Southern Lagoon of New Caledonia.The water is clear, sea birds glide over the glowing turquoise water, and we are anchored in the middle of a maze of vibrant, b...
There's this colony of clownfish that lives just on the crest of the fringing reef at Mato. Two species of clownfish (also called anemonefish), each with their respective species of anemone live practically (but not quite) on top of each other. Am...
Coral reefs are all about symbiosis - the art of living together. When we look at an underwater scene like this one, we tend to focus on the brilliant blue fish Chromis viridis, or the blue Acropora coral, or perhaps the Dasyatis stingray in the s...
About 40 km southeast of Noumea Ilot Mato Anchorage marks the entrance into the vast southern coral reef lagoon. Part of the New Caledonia World Heritage Site, the southern lagoon is a vast area of coral reefs and isolated small islands.The corals...
The Leopard Shark, Stegostoma fasciatus, reportedly eats small fish and molluscs. Molluscs probably make up the bulk if its diet. I can't imagine how it could catch a fish as this is one very lethargic creature. Freddy, who was watching me take th...
A photo story from the New Caledonia Lagoon, a World Heritage SitePhotographing creatures on a coral reef - anywhere in the world - is a problem. The reef fish and any other mobile creatures are scared to death of humans in the water. This may, in...
There is something very special about the shallow lagoon sand and coral flats of New Caledonia. You'd think there would not be much of interest here and in fact very few people visit these areas. Unless it is high tide you can't even swim over the...
The crying sounds of puffins nesting on Ilot Mato wake up on the 23rd of March at 05:30. They cry like a moaning baby - a very erie sound. Then it dawns on me that there is absolute quiet - except for the birds ashore. Not a sound. No wind, no wav...
A family of ospreys (Pandion haliaetus melvillensis) live on Ilot Mato in the great south lagoon of New Caledonia. The island is one of many in New Caledonia's World Heritage Site and I think there is one family of ospreys on each one of these lov...
Ilot Mato is in the southern part of the largest coral reef lagoon in the world. It is part of the New Caledonian World Heritage Site and provides a protected coral reef anchorage for pleasure boats on most weekends.  There is a small trail leadin...
A school of anchovies swarms together, forming a scintillating mass attacked from above and below in a fascinating example of interspecies hunting. This happens every day in New Caledonia's vast coral reef lagoon.Predatory fish must identify a par...