New Caledonia

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by Andrea:
After we left Port Vila unfortunately due to wrong winds we could not reach the two Islands Erramango and Tanna belonging to Vanuatu.
So we sailed straight towards Noumea in New Caledonia with a short stop at Mare, one of the Island before the main one Grande Terre. In Mare is an interesting project ongoing to use the waves to generate power. Some generator is already in commercial use in Portugal. Barbara Vlaemick from SRP is responsible for the project and explained us the interesting facts of this amazing renewable technology. More info: Download file.
At the first day in Noumea we already went for a short hike. The erosion caused by the opencast mining technique to extract Nickel is obvious. However, legislation to minimise negative environmental impacts introduced in the 1970s has resulted in mining companies assuming more environmental responsibility.

On the 16th of October was the birthday of Dario, and Sabine baked a wonderful chocolate cake.
Noumea is quite westerly and stays in quite a contrast to other islands visited before. But was certainly did not change is the friendliness of the people. So we made a lot of good friends in the harbour “Port Moselle”. Thanks to Emanuelle, Jean-Marie, Christel and Jean-Louis to support us in all matters.

A welcome change was the visit of the reopened beautiful Aquarium of Noumea. It definitely shows what we have to preserve in the sea for the future.
We had for sure also time for a culture day. We visited the TJIBAOU CULTURAL CENTRE with impressive modern architecture combined with traditional houses. Salina and Andri were more interested in climbing the wooden walls.

On 24th October we could hold a presentation at the Circle Nautique Caledonien. A big thank you to the audience for the donations and to the club for the free mooring place in the marina and the media work.
Also at the presentation was Mrs. Dunoyer consul of Switzerland who arranged TV and radio reportage and official contacts.

The 25th of October the big day for our sweetheart ANDRI. The 1st birthday ! He definitely enjoyed it with presents, chocolate from godfather Vandy and a good sip of fresh water. Bravo Andri.

During the day we visited the collage Mariotti. The kids played enthusiastically our TOPtoTOP game. And the winners have now the best knife in their Pocket, – a Victorinox and the seconds will wear a t-shirt from TOPtoTop. Again thank you to the principal of the school for the donation for our project.

Thanks to Eric Babin, the minister of agriculture, livestock and fisheries, we were invited by Valerie Lamm from EEC/Suez to visit their windmills. The first one’s were already in use since 1996. Another good example to reduce CO2 emissions!
Another good example was Jeab-Lois d’Auzon (president association pour la sauvegarde de la nature neo-caledonienne), who fights for the environment already 37 years. Here his report in French:
La Nature en Nouvelle-Calédonie est un milieu exceptionnel qu’on ne peut qu’avoir envie de protéger quand on la découvre. Sa flore terrestre comprend 3250 espèces de plantes à fleurs, endémiques au Territoire à 76 %. Sa faune terrestre est très riche également : 4500 espèces d’invertébrés (60 à 100 % d’endémisme suivant les familles ; 76 % d’endémisme chez les reptiles (geckos, scinques). Chez les oiseaux 148 espèces ont été identifiées dont 23 endémiques au Territoire.
Les fonds marins calédoniens, entourés par un récif-barrière de 1600 kms de long (2ème plus grand lagon au monde), renferment plus de 22000 espèces d’êtres vivants. On y trouve 4 espèces de tortues marines : verte, grosse tête ou caouanne, imbriquée ou bonne écaille et luth (rarement).
Au 5ème rang mondial pour sa richesse biologique, la Nouvelle-Calédonie fait également partie des 12 lieux au monde les plus menacés pour leurs milieux naturels.
L’Association pour la Sauvegarde de la Nature Néo-Calédonienne a porté principalement ses efforts sur : la protection des tortues marines (Récifs d’Entrecasteaux, Plage de la Roche Percée à Bourail), la lutte contre diverses pollutions, la publication de nombreux documents (dont une K7 Vidéo et un journal) etc…
Son rôle consiste à obtenir une meilleure connaissance et une meilleure protection de la nature calédonienne, ainsi qu’une plus grande sensibilisation de la population depuis sa création le 6 mai 1971, afin que nos descendants puissent encore bénéficier de cette nature si belle.”

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