Ilot Mbe Kouen is just 12 nautical miles west of Noumea, New Caledonia. It is a tiny lagoon islet - mostly sand - surrounded by magnificent coral reef gardens. The anchorage is one of the most protected anchorages close to the New Caledonia Barrier Reef and it is a popular place during weekends and holidays. This image was taken on Easter weekend and more than 30 boats were lounging in the anchorage while the owners and their families cavorted on the white sand beach or snorkeled on the reefs. At low tide the coral garden in this image comes right out of the water and the corals can be exposed to the air, sun and rain for several hours.You can only snorkel over it at high tide.
I was wonerstruck at the density and variety of living corals. Truthfully I didn't expect it to be so healthy as most reef-tops are either old dead coral rock or small clumps of living corals struggling in a ruin of dead and broken coral - either from big waves smashing down on the reef top or people grazing on the reef at low tide, breaking the coral to find sea shells, octopus, or just clomping around for the fun of it.
This reef is protected from big waves by the barrier reef and as the whole area is within the network of marine reserves so the holliday makers have learned to be careful of the reefs.
I was delighted with this sphere image - it really gives you the feeling of what it is like to snorkel here, being able to see the corals and look up to check on the location of the dinghy or the island. My little GoPro Hero3 Black did really well.
Freddy and I wandered all over in the coral gardens, ooing and ahhing and taking photos of the swarms of fish we came upon. It was so beautiful we stayed in until the tide forced us out and we slithered, shivering and waterlogged, back into the dinghy.
新喀里多尼亚是离澳大利亚和新西兰最近的南太平洋岛屿。该岛是法国领地且官方语言是法语，尽管如此，其文化却丰富多彩，揉合了美拉尼西亚、欧洲、波利尼西亚、越南、中国、印尼等国的风情。这里有一个多山的大岛，称为大地岛 (Grande Terre)，和6个较小的岛屿——洛亚蒂三岛 (Loyalty Islands)、贝莱普群岛 (Belep) 和松树岛 (Isle of Pines)。 整个群岛人口极为稀少，有大片的荒野。这里有数百公里长的徒步小径、随处可见的露营营地、超过42个公园和保护区、清澈透明的河流和莹莹闪光的瀑布。约三分之一的人口居住在首府努美阿。镍的开采是该国最主要的工业，也是维持其高标准生活的主要经济来源。大地岛四周环绕着世界第二大珊瑚礁，此珊瑚礁形成的泻湖是世界上最大的，也是受保护的泻湖。该泻湖于2008年被列为世界遗产，面积达24000平方公里，是品种丰富的鱼类和无脊椎动物栖息之地。 对于刚上岛的游客而言，最引人注目的是这里鲜艳夺目的色彩。努美阿以其完备的酒店、度假酒店、餐馆设施和丰富多彩的活动欢迎游客的到来。