We sailed through the night. The waters were calm as we navigated from the main island of New Caledonia over to Lifou, one of New Caledonia’s Loyalty Islands. We were still when we awoke. Because the island is small and does not have a harbour to dock at, we needed to disembark via the small tender boats. The process ran smoothly, we took a number, waited in the bar until our number was called and then went downstairs to disembark on Lifou.
Lifou is the largest coral atoll in the Loyalty Islands, and we had about half a day to spend there. As you disembark the tenders you are met by community people singing and playing music. There are souvenirs to buy, and massage and hair braiding stations. More importantly, there are a bunch of food stalls set up serving local delicacies.
Top tip: Bring New Caledonian franks so you can buy some of the delicious food cooked up by the locals
Lifou is one of those shore days where you can either join a shore tour, or do absolutely nothing, and have just as good of a time. Shore tours at this destination include scenic driving tours, cultural experiences, and passes to the Marine reserve (but you must bring your own snorkelling equipment). Normally, I would have jumped at the chance to go snorkelling in a calm and quiet marine reserve, but since I had Jacob with me, I decided to take it easy instead.
The island is very small and it is easy to explore quite a bit on foot. The first thing we did after getting off was walking up the main road, up the hill, to the church overlooking the sea. The church itself was small and very simple, but it wasn’t really the church we had climbed all those stairs to see… it was the view over the lovely turquoise water.
The rest of the day we spent enjoying the water. You can walk for what seems like ages, and the water hardly ever comes above your waist. The shallow, warm water stretches for ages, making it a safe place for kiddies to play. The sand is absolutely covered in pieces of coral, so bring something to protect your feet.
Top tip: Bring swimming shoes to protect your feet as the sand is covered in pieces of coral
The water here is warm and good for swimming, but there isn’t much to see if you want to snorkel. If you want to go snorkelling you need to join a shore tour. There is one shore tour available which takes you to a marine reserve with fantastic snorkelling. The tour only provides your pass into the reserve though, you must bring your own snorkelling gear.