CRUISE DAYS 14-16, Two Days at Sea, First port of call at Mare, New Caledonia, December 6th thru 8th.

After leaving the port of Sydney for the second time, we had another two days at sea. There was a big turnover in passengers on the second leg of this cruise. The Australian crowd was definitely younger and more in a party mood. I guess that goes along with the itinerary of visiting Fiji and New Caledonia. This is the equivalent of people from the USA traveling to the Caribbean.

We had said goodbye to three of our dinner table mates before the turnaround and then welcomed three new mates to our nightly dinner. As it turns out, all three had been on the first leg of our cruise around New Zealand. When tables were reassigned, they were moved to our table. Let me say, we were not disappointed. Alice and I love the experience of sharing our dinners with new friends that you get to know better each night. We have made lasting friendships over the years, and this cruise was no exception.

Our first stop on round two of the cruise was at the island of Mare in New Caledonia. This was not one of my favorite stops. The only tour offered by the ship was a shuttle bus ride to and from Yedjele beach.

I rented fins for snorkeling off of the white sand beach. For $10 US I got very beat up fins that looked like a shark had taken a bite out of the end of each fin. They did suffice to help me snorkel around the sparse reef area where I saw some of the local small fish. After experiencing the beautiful reefs in the Caribbean, this was not very inspiring and a poor start to seeing South Pacific islands. I think Holland America has discontinued this stop, as I don’t see it on their 2016 calendar.

The beach itself was not of the soft sand variety. Many small pebbles (probably coral) and pieces of shell made for uncomfortable barefoot walking. We stayed for about two hours and then headed back to the ship for lunch. I was not inspired to take any pictures so I’m going with a picture of the ship at a later stop for my featured image.

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