If it would not be for a loooong way out and incurring high cost we would come back but it is propably not going to happen, ever. With a very professional handling at departure on part of our handling agent (after 3days of long disputes, arguments, mails, threats from our side of going to the police, to goverment etc etc see seperate report) now we leave the place on long hand shakes and promises to keep in touch on our and THE OTHER side, very jovial Good Bye' s, now we are friends ...
It surprises me again and again: we are not shy to stand up for ourselves in a foreign country. We are not shy to actually tell a local person in a country, Sorry Sir, but we feel done in and we will not hesitate to approach your government and point fingers at you. Sorry Sir, we will let the world know how we were ripped off and that cannot be in the interest of your government, your country and your people. please re-think.
10h01, local time, Tuesday 01.10.2013, SA/D 00h01 20131001, midnight
Today a flight from NADI (one says Nandi), Fiji to Noumea, New Caledonia
ETA 13h36 local time, today we gain one hour, tomorrow again one hour, that fact will also relax the days a bit. It makes an amazing difference. We adjust our watch.
The remainder of the group stays one day longer at the Resort, we want / need to take the biggest strain out of 2 "very intense" days and now we have 3 "intense" days in front of us. But as always it depends on the wind, the wind makes it or breaks it. The routing for the coming days: Nadi, Fiji - Noumea, New Caledonia - Brisbane, Australia - Cairns, Australia.
Tonight we were due to stay in a very fancy Hotel on an Island alongside Noumea. Planned was: arrival at International airport, Customs & Immigration, Bus transfer to Harbour, Hotel Transfer-Boat to Hotel Island, than rest for the night.
We actually could not face it: by the time we arrive we don't want go through the whole speel for one night, the same speel the following morning. It does not make sense to us, therefore we booked ourselves in a Hotel next to the airport, a 2* dump, pity about the luxury huts above water but that's what it is. One other crew has made same decision for tomorrow night.
12h05, we are flying next to an island which is recorded no-where! On none of the GPS's we have on board, we think it is an Island which has never been discovered. ;-) Now that we have seen it we might want to claim it! We take a photo and we record the location. It is covered by a big cloud and has a good size.
Arrivial in New Caledonia @13h30 local time
This Country is like Little France, we can not believe what we see, as if we are in Europe!
Some Facts regarding "our Island":
Aneityum is the southernmost inhabited island in the Vanuatu archipelago. As with all the major islands throughout Vanuatu, it's origins are volcanic and the landscape mountainous. Rich volcanic soils and a slightly more temperate climate encouraged the growth of magnificent stands of sandalwood trees.
Prized in the Orient for its aroma, sandalwood traders ravaged the island in the previous century. Its population was also ravaged by disease and slaving (black birding) and today stands at around 550, down from an estimated 12,000 prior to Europeans arrival in 1793. The island was the first centre of the Presbyterian Church and the haunting remains of the once largest missionary church in the Southern Hemisphere now stand in ruins.
The modern Aneityum has few buildings and no cars apart from the few vehicles of the kauri replanting forestry project. It is ideal for the keen bush walker, offering many well defined tracks and paths through vegetation that is quite different from the hotter and more humid northern islands.
Over 80 species of magnificent, delicate orchids adorn the forest. Several waterfalls and hot springs can also be visited. The island is surrounded by live coral reefs offering excellent snorkeling.
The only airport is not on the island itself, but on the much smaller nearby Inyeug (or Mystery) Island. Air Vanuatu services the island twice weekly from Port Vila and Tanna. Inyeug is periodically visited by several hundred tourists arriving on cruise ships, reached by launch from cruise ships anchoring inside the magnificent turquoise waters between Inyeug and the mainland.
The only accommodation on Aneityum is at Mystery Island Guesthouse. It is an exceptionally peaceful place to stay with basic rooms and outside bathrooms.
A visit to Anetityum Island is not to be missed.