Ouvea (New Caledonia), 01.09.2013
Opening Google maps in the hotel lobby on arrival, the blue dot of the GPS signal told me I was at a place called “paradise”. When I booked this hotel, I thought its name (le Paradis d’Ouvea) sounded a bit cheesy. But it actually is a pretty accurate description of the place, and I saw it the moment I stepped out of the restaurant veranda onto the beach.
From the Ile des Pins I had taken an early flight back to Noumea on the main island. The day went by with some shopping, chilling in a cafe on the central Place des Cocotiers and strolling along the marina at Baie de Moselle, watching the yachts docked there. In the afternoon a 35 minute flight took me to the island of Ouvea, and already from the sky the long white sand beach coast with its deep blue and turquoise waters on the eastern side were a stunning view.
At the airport, I was picked up in a ramshackle truck, and got ready for surprises to come. But once arrived at the hotel, a short drive from the airport, I gave up all suspicions. The beach was amazing, from the bungalow I could step right onto it and walk the few meters of fine white sand to the sea. There were tons of shells and pieces of coral on the beach, no litter, the sand was super fine – this beach was perfect! I spent hours during the days here just looking at the sea at different times of the day, the colour of the water changed all the time, while the sun reflected on the surface. I walked for hours down both sides of this beach, there were few people around, mostly couples, a perfectly peaceful place. Most of the time a light breeze cooled down the heat, it was marvellous.
The comment I had made on the Ile des Pins about service and customer focus applied to this place too unfortunately, although staff was friendly. One day I missed breakfast and lunch, and the only place around here to eat something was a hut a couple of hundred meters down the road. There was nothing else around this place, no houses, no shops, just this hut. They served cold fried fish with rice, I had a beer to wash it down (1.150 franc, approx. 10€). Hardly a gourmet lunch, but better then starvation. The three days on the island went by too fast. The worst time was sundown, when I could see the sun disappear on the horizon and every second I could feel how time passed by. I wanted these sun downs never to stop!