Christmas in New Caledonia where Santa arrives by jet-ski

For many Christmases I’ve enjoyed looking at beautiful images of the tropical island paradise, known as New Caledonia.  My Uncle & Auntie (who’ve lived there as missionaries since 1981) have frequently sent me calendars and newsletters, which certainly made a big impression on me as I grew up.  I’ve always wanted to visit one day, and this Christmas has been my opportunity.  For those that don’t know, New Caledonia is a small French island in the south-west Pacific; east of Australia and north of New Zealand.  New Caledonia is made up of a main island, the Grande Terre, and several smaller islands.  The main island measures 217 miles in length and 31–44 miles wide.  A mountain range runs the length of the island, with five peaks over 1500 meters.  It’s capital, to the south is called Noumea and is where I’m staying for 3 weeks.

A few days before Christmas I landed with my cousins, at La Tontouta International airport (built by the Americans in the Second World War).  We were warmly greeted and each received beautiful wreaths of fragrant frangipani flowers.

With my cousins Andrea & Joanna & our frangipani wreaths!

With my cousins Andrea & Joanna & our frangipani wreaths!

 

My first week here has been spent seeing what island life is like, with my wonderful cousins as my tour guides!  Activities included: a Christmas service at my Uncle & Auntie’s church; Christmas Eve party with some of the local families; exploring Noumea’s lookouts and beaches; a splash of windsurfing; trips to the aquarium and bird park; photographing sunsets and eating very tasty mangoes!

I hope you’ll enjoy these photos, and to see the full set, check out my New Caledonia gallery here: http://njrp.photoshelter.com/gallery/NEW-CALEDONIA/G0000Uh.KR.mlQ2o/C000082lG2f4DAHs

View towards the mountains of south New Caledonia with Flame Trees in the foreground.

View towards the mountains of south New Caledonia with Flame Trees in the foreground.

A male Peacock (not native, but in abundance at the Parc Forestier (bird park and one of my favourite shots

A male Peacock (not native, but in abundance at the Parc Forestier (bird park and one of my favourite shots

Cute kids acting in a Nativity play

Cute kids acting in a Nativity play

The cast of the Nativity production that I enjoyed on Christmas Eve

The cast of the Nativity production that I enjoyed on Christmas Eve

Cultural Christmas Eve with local families (who originate from the Island of Wallis)

Cultural Christmas Eve with local families (who originate from the Island of Wallis)

a very cute but skinny cat who I enjoyed feeding my dinner scraps to

a very cute but skinny cat who I enjoyed feeding my dinner scraps to

 

Windsurfing towards Duck Island (Ilot Canard)

Windsurfing towards Duck Island (Ilot Canard)

Sunset from Anse Vata (Vata Bay)

Sunset from Anse Vata (Vata Bay)

My relatives in New Caledonia all ready for their Christmas stockings!

My relatives in New Caledonia all ready for their Christmas stockings!

My Auntie & Uncle gave me my very own Christmas stocking!

My Auntie & Uncle gave me my very own Christmas stocking!

Unusual looking fish with its eye makeup running!

Unusual looking fish with its eye makeup running!

trying to shoot these illusive fish...but this one with makeup wanted to pose!

trying to shoot these illusive fish…but this one with makeup wanted to pose!

Getting a different perspective on these tropic fish & sea monsters!

Getting a different perspective on these tropic fish & sea monsters!

 

 

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