From the beginning we knew we wanted to go to Îlot Maître to hotel l’Escapade. The hotel has overwater bungalows and it looked so cool. Insert a 14 month old, then a baby and suddenly Theo was a toddler too. The idea seemed to be out of reach with two small children. Add to the fact that the price tag per night is quite high and we resolved ourselves that we were not going to get to ever go.
Fast forward to a month ago. Keith arrived home from work and announced, “I really want to go to Îlot Maître!” He had checked that we could indeed bring children, that we could indeed stay in an overwater bungalow. I guess the push of it’s now or never really gives you that extra nudge sometimes! So we decided on one night in Noumea at the Chateau Royale ( the first place we ever stayed) and then the next day we would take the ferry to Îlot Maître. We decided on mid October. Mid October came and Keith was suffering from a cold and the weather looked dreary. We decided that we would reschedule to this past weekend. I must say I was disappointed but I hoped that we had made the right call.
So, Friday, we loaded up in our little Toyota (the Kia has already been sold) and headed for our last trip to the capital. The road, as usual was long, narrow and filled with terrible drivers, but, we arrived at noon. Seth requested Pizza & Pasta and I must admit I had memories of our first days there eating with him as a just one year old. I voted, why not and we headed for pizza. We then walked around Anse Vata picking up souvenirs and just letting the kids run in front of the Hilton. Then we headed to our hotel to check in and enjoy the pool. The weather was glorious without a cloud in the sky. We ordered drinks from the pool bar, a round of apple juice and a beer. We enjoyed watching the people on the beach, splashing in the pool and the warm pacific temperatures.Saturday morning we decided to stroll over to the Faré Palm Beach for breakfast outside. It was another glorious day and we chatted about how it would be many months until we could eat outside again. We giggled about how Seth is more Caledonian then Canadian. He drinks chocolat (hot chocolate) for breakfast, thinks Nutella is the best condiment, thinks cheez whiz is gross. He drinks water out of wine glasses at all meals out and says bon apetit before we eat. We took our time and walked around Anse Vata. I must admit, it was making me teary eyed. Thinking of our first days there, remembering the days spent in Noumea. After my trip down memory lane we headed back to the hotel to pack up for the next adventure. We caught the ferry at Port Morselle to Îlot Maître. The ride was about 20 minutes and it was windy. The kids loved the ride and I loved the vantage point of looking back on Noumea. We arrived at Îlot Maître at noon and the kids wanted to swim immediately. So we swam and grabbed a leisurely lunch outside before we got our key for our bungalow.
The bungalows are so nice, the lagoon is that aqua that you can only see here, the water is crystal clear and you can see fish, coral and turtles. It was pretty impressive. We decided that snorkelling was first on the agenda. There were people in the water everywhere and We wanted to join in the fun. I got in the water first, Keith was adjusting his flippers behind me when I saw something striped break the surface of the water. I asked Keith, “Is that a tricot rayé?” His response was “Yup”. At that point I was frozen with fear. Tricot Rayés are a poisonous water snake. They can kill you. The last time some one was killed by one was in the 1970s. But let me tell you, I didn’t want to be the first case in 45 years, 30 days before I left. Keith climbed the stairs up trying to find something to shoo him away with. In the meantime the tricot decided that he was going up the stairs as well. So, there I was stuck in the water, tricot on the stairs and Keith on the patio. That’s when I saw his buddy arrive. Luckily, the snake fell off the stairs and I swam as fast as a 6 month pregnant woman could to the stairs and sprinted up them. I am sure most people would have laughed at us. But, I was scared. We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon at the pool and then enjoyed our supper. The next morning we decided we were silly. There were about 50 people snorkelling all the time! On the way back from breakfast we saw what I have been waiting to see for four years, a turtle!! I was definitely more excited than anyone but everyone was pretty excited. We watched him swim leisurely with the fish from the walkway. Later that afternoon after more swimming, a tour of the island to watch the kitesurfers and taking 75 more pictures it was time to catch our ferry back. Again, I had a heavy heart. Would I remember the colour of the water, the feel of the blazing hot sun or the lay of the land? After reaching the port we got in our car and headed up the RT1 again. It was with a full heart. I was so happy we finally went to Îlot Maître and happy this four year adventure has happened. A little sadness saying goodbye to beautiful Noumea. Until we meet again!