The early morning walk around the deck was invigorating. Looking out into the water you could see a flock of white birds flying parallel to the ship. It was as if they were guiding us into the Isle of Pines.
Isle of Pines is a small island southeast of the New Caledonian mainland. Captain Cook named the island in 1774 after the tall native pines that he had discovered.
The Dawn Princess anchored off the Isle of Pines and we were transported ashore via the ship's tenders.
As we approached the shore, we could hear the native Kunies singing and playing drums to greet the arriving passengers.
A bus with a French speaking guide awaited us to show us the island.
One of the stops was at a church which dated back to 1860, when the French Marists had convicted nearly the entire island to Christianity. About a half of mile from the church is the Statue de St. Maurice, marking the site of their landing.
A few miles from the church are the remnants of the 19th century penal colony. Most of the prisoners from the Paris Commune were sent here. An amnesty in 1880 allowed them to return home, but many chose to stay and enjoy the paradise where they had been sent.
We ended the excursion at Kuto Bay, where the sand is very white and extremely fine and the water is the most beautiful blue color you have ever seen.
This is definitely a place we would like to return to with its' tropical weather and beautiful untouched beaches.