Isle of Pines 1/undefined by Tripoto

Isle of Pines

Jenny McIver
While staying in Noumea, I took a ferry over to Isle des Pins, New Caledonia to spend the day. The island is inhabited primarily by the native Melanesian Kanaks and feels like it's lost in time. I could tell right away that the glowing reviews I’d read of the tiny island still didn’t do it proper justice. It was quite literally like a Garden of Eden in the middle of the South Pacific.The water was so clear in some places it was colorless against the pure white sand of the beaches. The two most remarkable beaches were Kuto Bay and Kanumera Bay, which were only about 200ft across a narrow road from each other. Time seems to stand still on Ile des Pins with its turquoise lagoons, sparse Melanesian tribal population, swaying palms and soaring Araucaria pines. The island’s inhabitants are known as “Kunies” and they have kept their tribal traditions alive in their small villages scattered around the island. The Kunies are very friendly to tourists and every time I passed one I was greeted with a cheerful, “Bonjour!”One of the most fascinating things to see on Ile des Pins are the “pirogues.” The tradition of sailing these ancient craft from St Joseph’s Bay has been kept alive for centuries by the Kunies. They are quite a sight to see and I was lucky enough to stumble across them in St Maurice while looking for the seaside totem poles, even though I never made it to St Joseph. The solemn circle of totem poles are said to be guarding the nearby statue of Christ.