2009 World Cruise – The captain announced more itinerary changes. April 13 we were scheduled to go Mamoudzon, Île de Mayotte (French Comoros) – off the east coast of Africa. Apparently there is an issue between the local government and the tourist/cruise industry (probably a conflict over the port fees or the number of buses being used for tours that will shut out taxi rides.) We were never told what that issue really was, but our stop was cancelled.
Since we will not be stopping at Îl de Mayotte, April 13 will be a sea day and we will stop at Maputo, Mozambique on April 15 (a day later than originally scheduled) which will then give us two days in Richard’s Bay, South Africa instead of one.
The port, ship and tour staff must really have to scramble sometimes. Even though these changes are a couple of months away tours have to be cancelled, new tours have to be arranged, docking permission and fees have to be paid. The list of new arrangements in this type of situation is very long.
Nouméa is the capital city of the French Territory of New Caledonia. The population is French. They speak French, they have French passports and drive French cars. New Caledonia was the HQ of the US military in the Pacific during WWII and many American terms are scattered among the street and city section names. (One area of Nouméa is called the Motor Pool.)
New Caledonia has a population of about 250,000, half of whom live in Nouméa. We were told there was no unemployment and the island is quite prosperous. New Caledonia contains 1/3 of the world’s nickel and are second – after Russia – in the export of nickel.
The ship was docked two blocks from downtown. We walked into town in the morning and explored the area; hiking up to the highest point despite the rain.
In the afternoon we went four-wheeling in the tropical forest – in the rain. We were supposed to have a swimming stop but the Dumbea River was flowing too swiftly. We drove all over the hillsides and Jean, our driver/guide took us to the highest point of the island. On the way back to town we passed the 100-year old nickel smelter. A new processing plant had just opened which will use the acid bath method to extract the nickel rather than smelting it. This is what you call downtown parking – or should that be, porting?