Sunday, November 22, 2009

Yate to Prony sightseeing

Yesterday we had nothing to do and no money to do it with. What we did have, however, was a 4wd and a camera. So we went exploring. We drove to Yate and took some pictures from the lookout on the way...

We stopped at the Cascade de Wadiana for a sandwich. A couple of kids were having a great time climbing up the rocks and sliding down into the pool.

Just after the cascade is the old abandoned Goro mine site. It was an iron mine run by the Japanese and abandoned at the start of WW2.

This old mine has nothing to do with the new Goro refinery where Brendan works but it's interesting to see the old structures rusting away. On an overcast day it has a bit of a post apocalyptic feel.

The road then goes past the massive new Goro refinery.

We were hoping to track down the abandoned old copper mine in Baie de la Somme but couldn't find the right track and we were running out of light. Ah well, an adventure for another day.
We just had enough time for a bit of the 4wd equivalent of 'jumping in mud puddles'....
....and it was time for home. A successful day of cheap and cheerful amusement!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Camping de Tiakan

This weekend we went camping in the North-West of New Caledonia. Due to a lack of organisation, me forgetting my phone (on the charger at home), lack of mobile signal and general bad organisation, we didn't meet the friends we had planned to meet up with who had also come from Noumea for the weekend. Oh well. This is what happens here when you try to plan things three days in advance instead of three weeks. Nevermind- we had fun anyway. We saw the 'Big Chicken'....

The 'Sphinx'..... (try squinting and a bit of imagination)....
(the rock formation, not the man)

And we found an awesome campsite. Camping de Tiakan in Ponerihouen. 500xpf per person per night. Technically, there are hot showers, fire shelters, electricity and fares to pitch your tent under. Hot tip- get there on Friday (not Saturday) so you have your pick of the fares, and make sure that you have one where the light bulb works and you have a fire shelter. Our fare was great as a shelter and wind break.

Super Kia Sportage!
Thanks to the camp stove, we had nice hot coffees and omelette and toast for breakfast.

It wouldn't be a Brendan and Kate adventure without something a bit left field, so here's the site of the infamous Hienghene massacre where Jean Marie Tijiabo and other pro-Kanak independance activists were massacred.

aaaannnd a record of the 2 kilos of lychees we bought from a roadside stall before they disappear.

OK, I already ate some. We had some most excellent deer kebabs from another roadside stall too and managed a fairly successful small talk conversation in French.
Bonne route!
Bonne chasse!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Kayaking Bay of Prony 08-Nov-09

Yesterday we went on a kayak trip through the Bay of Prony with some friends. Prony has a red sand beach so it's a bit murky, but once you get past the breakers the water is a beautiful clear green-blue.

Bay of Prony
After we paddled through the bay, we continued up the river to some hot springs. The hot springs weren't really hot, but we did have a nice picnic, and everyone remembered to bring beer, so it was all good.

Kayaks on the river bank near the hot springs

Super attractive hot spring swamp

Marc Andre and Brendan having a deep and meaningful about how the Maple Leafs are still sucking this hockey season

We had a good time, but by 6pm Brendan and I were both suffering- Brendan from sunburned feet, and me from the deadly 'post hero syndrome'.....

Me being a hero
Me with post paddle arms

Ilot Tenia 15-Oct-09

OK, so I've been a bit lazy with the ol' blog. October wasn't really a very interesting month. I did go to Ilot Tenia though with Marc-Andre, Sophie and some of their friends, which was very cool. It's about an hour and a half drive north of Noumea, plus a 30 minute taxi boat ride. It's also not very expensive (for here) and the boat takes you snorkelling on the reef, so I plan on dragging everyone I know here at some point (that means you, mum and Brian, and Brendan too).

Reasons why Ilot Tenia is awesome:

1. Big things that live in the water. I prefer dolphins to huge stingrays, but hey, they'll do.
2. Bourake bay. So much blue.

3. Perfect white sand beaches and crystal clear water.

4. Big shady hut for picnicing in, and convincing certain people that they can hide in the shade and not get sunburned.
All in all, a pretty good day.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mt Koghi (La Cascade)

Today we went for a bit of a hike on Mount Koghi. It was fine, as hikes go- not too demanding, nice views etc. I only hurt myself once and it was my fault for thinking it would be more fun to slide down the steep gravelly bit on my heels (for the record, it was pretty fun, and the little bit of gravel rash was totally worth it). There was a nice little waterfall at the end of the path too.

Brendan at La Cascade
I took a few photos of the view on the walk and had some fun with the photostitch function on the computer when we got home. This program looks for overlapping parts of an image and uses them to stick several photos together to make a big panorama.

Pretty eh?

Octopussy (I ain't no)

On Friday, I cooked an octopus. Well to be precise I cooked half an octopus, for the following reasons:
1. Octopus (es? ii?) are big.
2. Octopus are not that cheap.
3. I really, really didn't want to have to deal with leftovers.
4. The less legs to strangle me with when I'm not looking, the better.

Lovely fishmonger at the market with my half an octopus.

So I got home from the market with a big bag of slimy legs. Not very appetising.

Big bag o'octopus.

Then I 'cleaned' the octopus, which means to remove the parts that are less appetising than the rest of the slimy tentacly edible bits.

Ink sac and.. umm... other bits.

Then I washed what was left and blanched it (rapidly boiled for a few minutes) which was a bit spooky, it looked like a big pissed off octopus head would come out any minute and get me.

Then (no pictures, this bit wasn't very interesting) I braised Mr. Octopus in the oven for about 4 hours as per the instructions I found on the internet. Afterwards all the fat and skin and suckers came off and I was left with the muscle.

All the nasty bits that came off after cooking- one tentacle worth.

I was left with a fairly disappointing amount of edible octopus which (luckily) looked nothing like what I started with. I sliced the tentacles in half-cm slices widthways and we had one tentacle in spanish style tapas with paprika and olive oil, and the other three in a salad with papaya and tomato and coriander. I had a couple of glasses of wine and forgot to take photos of the finished product, sorry. But if I had remembered, it looked a bit like this:

Photo of octopus tapas from www.

Next time I think we'll be eating something else.


A little while ago I thought I would try to cook rabbit. I hadn't cooked it before and it looked tasty in the recipe book.

Then I got the thing home from the butchers and had to carve it. Of course, it comes with its head and half its guts. Someone out there probably thinks those are the best bits. At this point I started to feel a bit sorry for it, sad little beast with it's paws chopped off.

Please don't eat me!!! Aaaarghhh!!!!!!

I got most of it organised (rabbit + wine + herbs + mushrooms + green olives in casserole dish, put in oven. Not hard) but it wouldn't stop looking at me resentfully.

That's what you get, silly human!
After all that the rabbit had the last laugh- it just tastes like chicken, only twice as expensive.