Les Loyalties, New Caladonia

A fascinating island; Lifou. The bay is HUGE! and we are anchored in the lee of Drueulu. This community has one business; a bakery. The commercial center on the island is about 30 minutes by car  and on the windward side. Ironically there is a wharf and marina there. Entering that side would not be the most fun. There the trade winds keep it exciting. Thus they have the resorts that focus on kite surfing, wind surfing and dinghy sailing.
 
Having completed the paper work; expedited by the Go West Rally organizer, we went for a walk ashore. The island culture (Kanak) has been bickering; in some cases fighting, the French since their arrival. People on the island are not overly gregarious like Fiji. They are more reserved. We walked along in solitude and noticed a majority of homes having a round cement like structure with a thatched roof. John (the village chief) later told us that upon a marriage this is the first structure built.
 

Photo by Wendy. A family community building

It is to house not only the new family but the extended family community as needed. On the second day of our visit we had a gathering at the village. This had a fire pit in the middle; two sets of doors and many mattresses. The doors were even short for the local population. Short doors demand of an entrant to bow or stoop. This was to show humility.

 
But I jump too far ahead. The day following our clearance we made a trip to the commercial center, there to refresh our stores, get local money at the only ATM on the island, and acquire a phone card for internet and communication.
 
The money here has a similar relationship to the $’s on Vanuatu. 1,000 CFP equals $10 US. The phone card is from the OPT their only telecom company and mail service. The data usage and connection is the poorest of the the main island groups in the S Pacific. One dollar US gets you one hour of connectivity. Four dollars US gets you 24 hours. The problem with the 24 hour choice is that the first 200 megabytes is full speed but after that it is throttled.
 
Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

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