Finding a great dive spot isn't easy. Even in the great south lagoon of New Caledonia where there are lots of nice living coral reefs you'll discover that the truly lovely places are uncommon and usually limited in size. As in "Wow, this is fantastic" might apply to an area roughly the size of a swimming pool. Then you can snorkel for a half an hour before finding another beautiful little spot. Of course there are micro-spots, too, which might only be as large as you are that are just plain stunning to look at. But when taking sphere images you need to be able to see something beautiful in every direction, no matter where you look. Even straight down.
When we go looking for a good dive spot from our dinghy we normally find ourselves squinting through the waves, trying to judge by the colors and shapes below if the coral is alive or dead and what the dive site might look like. But once in a great while it is flat calm and you can see everything from the dinghy, even little tiny fish, as if there was no water at all. This is a truly magical delight - kind of like dreaming you are flying. It was wonderfully calm on the day I took this sphere image of the fringing coral reef on the western side of the little lagoon islet of Ua, in New Caledonia's great southern lagoon. We found a whole bunch of truly lovely little spots, micro and macro. You can see all of them combined in this one magic over/underwater sphere image. The whole place just knocks your fins off and makes you swim around in little circles wowing through your snorkel and calling to your dive buddies to come see.
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.