Maré – Loyalty to the end

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Once again, we anchored and the ship’s boats ferried people ashore. We didn’t have to climb down the ladder, which is shown in the photograph. At the bottom of the ladder you can see the main exit / entry port. Each time we re-boarded we had to go through security screening i.e  x-raying of bags, and each passenger has to  walk through an airport style scanner. Of course I had the normal physical pat down, without the same insistent ‘I’m going to touch you ‘ apologies that I had in Sydney.

The main attraction for this island seems to be a fabulous beach, which is a short drive from the small town near where we anchored.
The island is basalt rock due to volcanic activity many years ago.

The tender ferried us to a small pier at the right of the picture below, where we were greeted by locals singing.

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I’ve always liked the Pacific islanders singing, whether as part of a local festival or in church on Sundays.  Pacific islanders singing in the Cook Islands – walk the streets in the Pacific on a Sunday morning I bet you can’t but help go to church, even if you don’t believe in God.

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The concrete pier / dock that you see is for small sea going vessel, and it also acts as a breakwater. The pier we used was much smaller.

dsc07275rAs soon as we stepped ashore the small market came to life.

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And you could have your hair braded if you wished, I think for around AUD $15.00.

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Buses waited for those passengers who wished to go to the beach, which has a reputation of being famous for its white sands, and is a place that people dream of when they think of the Pacific Islands. I’d had enough sun, sand and sea while in Lifou.

Maureen & I checked out the market and the surrounding areas.

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The memorial above in French, is to remember a small coaster, La Monique (Monike) , that left this bay on the 31st July, 1953, with 126 people on board. The weather was calm, and she was bound for Noumea.

laThis is the best picture that I could find.

The captain and his twenty-six crew members were from Ouvea, which is one of the Loyalty Islands. The passengers came from Ouvea (19), Maré (12), and Lifou (59), the fifty-nine from Lifou consisted of family member of three large chieftainships of that island. There were also civil servants, a policeman and his family and tradesmen. The nationalities beside those from the Loyalty islands were Japanese, Vietnamese, Europeans, and Kanaks from New Caledonia.
The vessel sailed from Maré Island on the evening of the 31st July and has not been seen since.
The monument is in the shape of a small boat, which faces out to sea at the spot where family members last saw the crew and passengers as they boarded the ship.
The monument does not call to mind the deaths of those on board, because to the people of the Lifou Islands, in their language called Drehu, they do not speak of death, ‘meci he’,  when they speak of the Monique, but of ‘patre he’, which means that they are no longer here, and yet are here never the less. The monument was erected sixty years after the loss of La Monique – 31st July 2013. On the reverse of memorial you will find the details of the tragedy in French and in English.

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dsc07285rI stood with my back to the memorial and took this photo – the place felt peaceful.

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If only I’d known of the swimming pool (you may be able to see the yellow ladder on the right) I’d have brought my swimming gear. The water was warm and crystal clear. I took the photograph from the small pier while we waited for the ship’s boat to come alongside.

dsc07316rAs we sailed from Maré a lonely yacht entered the harbour.

The day after we left the evening theme was the Gatsby era.

Once again we swapped our ‘smart casual’ code for a Gatsby dress code – or as close as we could.

dsc07333cA slight explanation – note the hat that I acquired in Robe, which is a small coastal town in South Australia, a couple of years ago during our road trip.
I was in a small pub and asked for a pint of Guinness.
As I picked up the glass with its white topped head covering the beautiful black liquid I was asked if I wanted a hat to go with the drink – of course I said yes, and received the above ‘titfer’ that’s on my head.
I’d forgotten that the previous day had been St Patrick’s day and it appears that the landlord had a few hats left over. By the way the hat it is made of paper, but doesn’t feel ‘delicate’.
As I thanked the landlord I mentioned that St Patrick was not Irish, but Welsh, and that he had been sent to Ireland as a missionary preach the gospel to the heathens across the Irish Sea. I don’t think he believed me, but I held on to my new ‘Irish’ ‘titfer’ just in case he wanted it returned.

The white belt is from my ‘white’ outfit – the ex uniform from the 60’s, and the braces (suspenders if you are American, which means something quite different to the English) are from the $2 shop at home. In the ‘old’ days ones braces had buttons to secure them to the trousers – my new pair had clips that kept pinging off – had to make sure the waiter didn’t have a full glass as one side pinged.

dsc07338cIsla and Olivia (grand daughters) joined in the Gatsby period – the head gear was made in the Kid’s Club, along with long dangling necklaces.

DSC07337r.jpgJosh (grandson) wanted my hat.

dsc07354rAfter the evening meal I tried to play Turn Back Time  on the piano – I failed.

Mainly because I can not play the piano, which is a small detail for a black shirted musician.

dsc07340cThe Gatsby Gang

dsc07341rMatt (son-in-law) with three great Gatsby kids.

dsc07391rOne more sunset, which in the picture is setting over Australia, and we will see the ‘Heads’ of Sydney harbour, the following morning, which will be the end of our cruise.

Author: 1944april

Traveled a great deal - about 70 countries - first foreign country I suppose was Wales, which was only 80 miles away from where I was born. Visited each Continent, except Antarctica, and I doubt that it is on my bucket list - too cold. I love Asian food, Australian wine & British beer & trying to entertain by writing.

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