2009 World Cruise – The sky was overcast and it looked like rain would be falling shortly. Île Des Pins was a tender port-of-call and we were anchored quite a way off shore so as to not damage the reef. We took the 15-20 minute tender ride to the island in the afternoon. The clouds never left, and the rain never came.
Île Des Pins (Island of Pines; for the native pine trees that tower over the tropical forest) is also called I’île la plus proche du paradis – “the island closest to paradise.” It is not very big, about 60 sq. km. and is located SE of Nouméa. Captain James Cook discovered it in 1774 and the French claimed possession in 1853. A penal colony was established in 1872 and 3,000 political prisoners from Paris were sent to the island.Today it is a sparsely populated island famous for scuba diving and snorkeling. We spent a few hours wandering around the island, checking out the prison ruins and wandering the beautiful white sand beach.
The prison ruins were very derelict and overgrown. After 100+ years nature is taking over once again.