Tuesday, December 31, 2019

INDEX

THAILAND

Ao Sadet from Silver Cliff's restaurant - east coast of Ko Phangan

INTRODUCTION - WHICH ISLAND OR BEACH?
ADANG
ANG THONG NATIONAL MARINE PARK
BU BU
BULON LAE
CHANG (big Chang eastern Gulf)
Little Ko CHANG, Andaman side
CORAL ISLAND
JUM
KANCHANABURI
KRADAN
KRABI, RAILAY, TON SAI
KHANOM
KHAO LAK
KHAO SOK NATIONAL PARK
KHO KHAO
KUT (KOOD, KUD)
LANTA
LAO LIANG
LIBONG, HAT YAO
LIPE
MAK (MAC, MAAK)
MAYA BAY/THE BEACH/PHI PHI LEY
MUK (MOOK)
NANGYUAN
NGAI (HAI)
KO PANYI/PANYEE
PATTAYA
PHANGAN
PHANGAN PART 2
PHANG NGA BAY
PHAYAM
PHRA THONG
PHUKET
PHI PHI
PHI PHI NEWSPAPER ARTICLE BY TEZZA
RAILAY, TON SAI AND KRABI TOWN
RAYA/RACHA
ROK
SAMET
SAMUI
SIBOYA
SICHON
SIMILAN ISLANDS
SIMILAN ISLANDS LIVE-ABOARD 
SUKORN
SURIN ISLANDS
TARUTAO
TAO
WAI (WHAI)
YAO NOI
YAO YAI



General Thailand Information

SOME TIPS ON NOT DROWNING
WET WEATHER INFORMATION
SNORKELLING IN THAILAND
THAILAND'S NICER BEACHES


INDONESIA:
Approaching Gili Trawangan, Lombok on Perama's direct boat from Bali

BALI
BALI'S BEST BEACHES - incl THE BUKIT PENINSULA
BALI - AMED
BALI - BEDUGUL AND LAKE BRATAN
BALI - CANGGU
BALI - JATILUWIH RICE TERRACES
BALI - JIMBARAN
BALI - NUSA LEMBONGAN
BALI - NUSA PENIDA
BALI - NUSA DUA, TANJUNG BENOA AND GEGER BEACH
EAST BALI - PADANGBAI AND CANDIDASA
BALI - LOVINA
BALI - MEDEWI
BALI - MUNDUK
BALI - PEMUTERAN AND MENJANGAN ISLAND
BALI RICE TERRACES EAST - SIDEMAN
BALI RICE TERRACES CENTRAL - TEGALLALANG
BALI RICE TERRACES WEST - KEBUN VILLAS
BALI RICE TERRACES TIRTAGANGGA + WATER PALACE

BINTAN

LOMBOK - THE GILI ISLANDS
LOMBOK - THE KUTA LOMBOK AREA

PERAMA SLOWBOAT - FLORES/KOMODO/LOMBOK

SERAYA & KANAWA ISLANDS + LABUANBAJO - FLORES



MALAYSIA
Taking it easy on Tioman Island, Malaysia

GORGEOUS TIOMAN ISLAND
CHERATING BEACH
KAPAS ISLAND
LANGKAWI
LANG TENGAH
PERHENTIAN ISLANDS
REDANG ISLAND
SIBU ISLAND



AUSTRALIA


Cruising down Whitsunday Island

CRUISING TROPICAL ISLANDS ON A BUDGET
BUDGET RESORTING ON THE WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS NTH QLD
SPENDING TIME AT AIRLIE BEACH - NTH QLD
CAPE TRIBULATION - NTH QLD
DUNK ISLAND - NTH QLD
FITZROY ISLAND - CAIRNS -  NTHE QLD
CRUISING THE SOUTH WEST PACIFIC ON LINERS
BYRON BAY - BEACH PARADISE
NOOSA HEADS - MY ALL TIME FAVOURITE
MAGNETIC ISLAND NTH QLD
TOP END - DARWIN
TOP END - DARWIN BEACHES
TOP END - KAKADU NATIONAL PARK
TOP END - LITCHFIELD NATIONAL PARK
TOP END - NITMILUK (KATHERINE) GORGE and KATHERINE TOWN
TOP END - MANDORAH and WAGAIT BEACH
TOP END - MATARANKA THERMAL POOLS
TOP END - THE TIWI ISLANDS



GREECE
Cute church - Naxos

GREEK ISLAND HOPPING


TURKEY

Beach, forest-clad medieval ruins and up-valley budget accommodation at Olympos in Turkey
BUDGET CRUISING AND PARAGLIDING THE TURQUOISE COAST
THE NORTH AEGEAN COAST
THE SOUTH AEGEAN COAST



SPAIN
Looking south to Tossa de Mar
INTRODUCTION
BARCELONA
IBIZA
L'HOSPITALET DE L'INFANT
MALLORCA/MAJORCA
MONTSERRAT

PYRENEES
SAN SEBASTIAN
SITGES
TOSSA DE MAR


USA - SOUTH WEST

THE BEACHES

THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY

GRAND CANYON TREKKING

YOSEMITE TREKKING



USA - HAWAII

- OAHU'S BEST BEACHES

MAUI'S BEST BEACHES
MAUI: THE ROAD TO HANA
MAUI - HALEAKALA VOLCANO
MAUI - THE IAO VALLEY
MAUI BEST DAYTRIP - LANAI ISLAND
MAUI - OTHER NEAT PLACES


SOUTH WEST PACIFIC ISLAND BEACHES

KAIBOLA BEACH - KIRIWINA ISL - PAPUA NEW GUINEA
MYSTERY ISLAND - VANUATU
YEJELE BEACH - MARE ISLAND - NEW CALEDONIA
ISLE OF PINES - NEW CALEDONIA


READERS' TRIP REPORTS
Trip reporter Rachael and Andy on Ko Muk

Read the trip reports or submit your own


THE FORUM


Yon Cassie has a lean and hungry look (image Deco Dermots)

Questions, comments, shoot the bull.


GENERAL

Sammy BinLiner steps out to the hot-tub seminar in The Worry Collective

JUST FOR LARFS - PART 1
JUST FOR LARFS - PART 2: STONES FROM THE JOKER IN THE GLASS HOUSE (1 thru 11)
JUST FOR LARFS - PART 3: THE WORRY COLLECTIVE

ABOUT THIS SITE


LADY TEZZA'S TRAVELLING JAPAN

Sumo grand champion Hakuho.

The basics - Osaka - Kyoto - Hiroshima & Himeji - Takayama - Tokyo - Kyushu - Daytrip to Mt Fuji National Park - Accessing your money - Other helpful stuff







Monday, January 8, 2018

ISLE OF PINES NEW CALEDONIA


ISLE OF PINES (ILE DES PINS) - NEW CALEDONIA

LAST VISITED OCT 2017


The ISLE OF PINES is part of NEW CALEDONIA - abt 50km from the south-east tip of GRAND TERRE (the main island) and 100km in a straight line SE of the capital NOUMEA. Distance/direction from MARE - 110km/SSW


ISLE OF PINES-NEW CALEDONIA (5) relative to other places in this section - 1 KIBOLA-KIRIWANA-PNG  2 MYSTERY ISLE-VANUATU  3 YEJELE-MARE  4 NOUMEA-NEW CALEDONIA  5 ISL OF PINES-NEW CALEDONIA  6 LIFOU-NEW CALEDONIA.
Numbers may be clearer if you click-expand image.

The Isle of Pines is abt 2/3 the size of Mare.
LADY T and I first visited in the 70s, flying in from Noumea for a 4 day stay. It is a real nice island, - but unfortunately the cruise ship anchorage is nowhere near as protected as at Mare, Noumea, Port Vila or Mystery island, which lessens the chance of successfully landing - I have only managed 2 in 4 on our cruise visits. Better than a lady on the tender our first visit - this was her first success in 4. Maybe I'm exaggerating the problem - LADY T is running 3 in 5 and my son 1 in 1.


The trouble with this part of the ISLE OF PINES is that the headlands are relatively low/short and offer poor shelter from the prevailing south-east trade winds. Plus the water close to shore in more sheltered areas is a bit shallow for big ships. So on blustery days the liner tends to rock and roll a bit which makes "debarking" (their term not mine) a bit difficult. Not for want of trying - on our November 2015 call-in, the captain of CARNIVAL SPIRIT manoevered for at least 40 minutes to different parts of the bay trying to find calm-enough water to make tender loading safe for the old and infirm. November 2014 on CARNIVAL LEGEND was much the same. This must be heartbreaking to the locals who would have already set up their tents and stalls in the landing area - plus of course all passengers who have booked sightseeing, snorkeling and diving trips - there is the usual diverse range of paid SHORE EXCURSIONS offered by the ships/locals - take care in pre-booking those offered by locals: not sure abt refunds if you don't get off the ship.


This is the region where the tenders land - a nice spit area in the island's south-west, coincidentally where our resort back in the 70s was located. The spit has frontages to both bays as did the hotel - a riot by indigenous people during the independence push of the 80s burned it down.
When ships are due, locals set up their tents and stalls along that clearing where the spit is narrowest. Both the beaches and that small island vicinity (right of lower-center) are popular with people off the ship.


One of the locals' trip stalls. These offer excursions at significant discounts to the ships' stuff, but make sure you will return well before sailing time.
This area offers all the usual stuff - beers (better than ships' prices) and other drinks, food, touristy clothing-trinkets, the ubiquitous hair braiding/massage/yada. There are some toilets in the area.

PLAGE DE KUTO
KUTO BCH can be seen from the ship - above is the view when you hit it near the landing pier. This is a very sheltered strip of sand from the prevailing south-easterlies - it may be a bit blustery and choppy out in the bay where the ship is but including my fly-in I must have visited the beach on 10 different days: in each the wind was a mere zephyr and the water glassy - no coincidence KUTO BAY is a favoured mooring spot for cruising yachts and the island's small boats.
The beach is about 1 km long but only the first 300m attract people on liner days so if you are seeking seclusion there is plenty of sand for you. 


RESTAURANT KU BUGNEY is about 300m down the beach from the pier end - cool terrace to sit and eat/drink but prices a bit eye-watering for this cheap-skate ($AUD12 for a beer). Associated small boutique hotel is inland behind the trees.


PLAGE DE KUTO looking back from KU BUGNEY towards the pier - gorgeous white sand, plenty of vegetation in back of beach for shade. High tide mark in OOCT 2017showed plenty of width left at full tide. Water calm and clear, bottom shelves gently, I've never experienced currents. Area not all that great for snorkeling with a sandy bottom and no coral (there probably is some up closer the pier area) but PLAGE DE KUNUMERA'S ROCHER DE KAA NEUMERA (see downpage) is only about 5 minutes' walk directly to the left across the isthmus.


PLAGE DE KAA NUE MERA
PLAGE DE KAA NUEMERA MAIN (EAST) [KUNUMERA on map) is directly across the spit from PLAGE DE KUTO. The pale blue track between the 2 most popular areas takes a bit over 5minutes. From the tender pier walk thru the locals' stalls area and take the track (white on map) veering to the right. 3 minutes will get you to the popular area around that landlocked island (ROCHER DE KAA NUEMERA - Rock Of  Kaa - Nuemera). 
Note KAA NUE MERA (KANUMERA) SUD (my name - SUD = south, I think, from my French lessons 59 years ago. I failed French BTW) - bit hard to access from THE ROCK because the first 150m is a hard to walk rocky shoreline: best way is to take the track immediately where the road from the tender pier hits the mid-spit road, not many do. SUD is nice enough, gets few visitors - a good place for people seeking seclusion, but so is central/eastern MAIN.
I didn't put a linear scale on the image - straight line distance between the place markers for TENDER PIER (left) and KAA NEU MERA MAIN (right) is 750M.

The most popular location along here is not on the beach but in the shade of the woods behind ROCHER DE KAA NUE MERA. Besides the shade, this spot is close to good snorkelling around the rock and good swimming/paddling. Local dudes have a few tables under the trees to rent out snorkelling gear, kayaks and glass bottomed boat rides. 


Entrance to the water here is easy for both snorkellers and splashers.



This is a 2014 pic which shows a higher tide at the spit, but access to water still fine.


The ROCK is a very popular snorkelling area. I took my face mask out and swam around the islet - 350m. There are patches of fringing coral and a fair few fish which will keep novices happy but perhaps advanced fin-flappers will be less than whelmed. I found the best coral approximately where those heads in background are but on the OTHER SIDE (EASTERN) of the islet. Just seaward of this was a big patch of very dead coral. Out in front of THE ROCK(the most seaward part) was not much of interest. There are some okay patches of coral in the bay off KAA NEU MERA MAIN. 

ROCHER DE KAA NUE MERA
ARROW shows best snorkelling spot. Note coral patches closer camera left.


600M long PLAGE DE KAA NUE MERA MAIN in OCT 2017 was pretty drop dead gorgeous - here is the classic tropical beach of blinding white sand backed by casuarinas, coconut palms and Cook Island Pines. Moderate profile with lotsa sand mid-tide in this shot: high tide mark showed plenty of room left to lay a towel/saraong. Off the sand the water shelves gently and there are some ok coral patches a bit further out to snorkel.
Despite facing into the prevailing south east trade winds, the above shot shows no problems. For a start any time your tender makes it to shore, those winds are not too strong. Secondly KAA NUE MERA BAY has a pretty narrow entrance thus blocking a lot of swell. Third(ly?) there is a pretty good BARRIER REEF about 7km offshore which blocks a fair bit of the bigger ocean waves. 
ARROWS - OFF WHITE points to ROCHER ISLET while YELLOW to the very southern end of KAA NEAU MERA SUD.


2014 higher tide saw a much narrower beach in background. This may have been a KING tide (proper name SPRING tide: nothing to do with the season) associated with FULL MOON or NEW MOON (when the moon and sun are aligned and working in tandem to pull the tide up) or maybe the result of prior STORM EROSION of the beach. 


The far eastern end of KAA NEU MERA MAIN featured the boutique OUE TERRA BEACH RESORT which decided to block off the last 150m of sand. Dunno how legal this is - in AUSTRALIA or HAWAII no way could it happen. No matter - most cruise visitors confine themselves to the first 100m of the beach - central and eastern sections are pretty deserted. I wasn't fussed - I reckon their beers in that rather spiffy peaked-roof beachside bar-restaurant would have been way above my pension grade.

PLAGE DE KAA NUE MERA 180 degrees from previous shot.
Gorgeous.

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ACCESSING THE ISLE OF PINES - unlike other beaches/islands in this section, the ISLE OF PINES gets many non cruise-liner visitors. There's a bunch of small boutique-like resorts around the island and regular AIR CALEDONIE commercial flights from NOUMEA - plus BETICO run a fast ferry 3 days a week. 
DAYTRIPS apparently can be arranged by several NOUMEA operators - GOOGLE will find them.
The island is also a popular call in for cruising yachts.


IF YOU SEE MISTAKES OR HAVE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, PLEASE POST BELOW.
BUT IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS PLEASE ASK THEM IN THE FORUM SECTION WHICH I CHECK MOST DAYS WHEN NOT TRAVELLING - WHEREAS I SELDOM REVISIT THESE INDIVIDUAL DESTINATION PAGES.


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Sunday, January 7, 2018

YEJELE BEACH - NEW CALEDONIA


YEJELE BEACH - LOYALTY ISLANDS - NEW CALEDONIA



LAST VISITED OCTOBER 2017


YEJELE-MARE-NEW CALEDONIA (3) relative to other places in this section - 1 KIBOLA-KIRIWANA-PNG  2 MYSTERY ISL-VANUATU  4 NOUMEA-NEW CALEDONIA  5 ISL OF PINES-NEW CALEDONIA  6 LIFOU-NEW CALEDONIA.
Numbers may be clearer if you click-expand image.

The LOYALTY ISLANDS lie just to the north of the NEW CALEDONIA'S main island (GRAND TERRE) - MARE is one of the eastern most of the LOYALTIES and is about 150km in a direct line NNE of the capital, NOUMEA - and 370km SW of MYSTERY ISLAND in VANUATU.


MARE (maa-reh although most say maaa - rey) is a raised coral atoll - the uplift has been about 40m and a lot of the island is a coral based plateau with some impressive sink holes - however there are some hills, the highest reaching 138m. Population is only 6900 scattered over abt 30 villages and 2 small towns - TADINE and LA ROCHE (adjacent the northern airstrip).
YEJELE BEACH is not the only beach but is one of the biggest and is the best reasonably close to where the ships anchor in sheltered TADINE BAY.


YEJELE is abt 800m long, and is protected from south-east swell (the south-east trades seem to blow most days here) by a good offshore reef approx 200m off the sand. This makes for pretty benign water conditions in the 'lagoon' behind: in 5 visits I've not seen any waves breaking on the shore or experienced any currents. However a keen snorkeling friend told me of some good tidal currents way out thru the passes in the reef. Very few people venture out there.


YEJELE BEACH from near the western end. Gradient is moderate, sand more white than yellow, not too much coral debris on beach - however there was some and with the softness of the sand I have always thought reef booties would be a good accessory here.
This pic taken latest visit - low tide saw hard sand near water which was heavily trampled in more crowded central areas making for easy beach walking.


Note plenty of vegetation for shade in back of beach. 
One downside of YEJELE is that central areas tend to get crowded - figures since this was the only ship tour option offered by the LEGEND in our 2017 visit.  However you can avoid the crowds by heading for the western end shown pic above this, or....


....some neat little patches of sand against the eastern headland. By their appearance it looked like they would survive high tide. I waded across easily (shin deep at mid tide) - sea bottom underfoot not too bad but once again if you have reef booties bring them..


Shower set up in central beach area at left. Toilets in this area too. Buses back to pier at TADINE left from behind camera - good service: a bus or van leaving every 10minutes


Locals have set up heaps of stalls under the trees in back of the beach selling hot food, cold beer and other drinks, plenty of clothing, touristy trinkets and of course the usual hair braiding and snorkel gear hire. Prices very reasonable.

Quite a few nice bommies (patches of coral) in lagoon - tended to attract plenty of snorkelers. Coral and fish will keep novices interested: hard core fin-folk may be less than impressed. Water very clear. Some snorkelers were captivated by stuff closer the sand - I had a look: some nice whiting-type fish there.
Every 50m or so was a local dressed in Aussie life-saver attire giving intense concentration to swimmers-snorkelers despite benign conditions.
CAVEAT - some reviews report BLUEBOTTLES (the SW PACIFIC'S smaller less venomous Portuaguese Man of War stingers) but in 5 visits I have seen none. Nevertheless RASH VESTS like the people above will minimise problems - also a no-brainer against sun burn.


TADINE
This is the pier area 11km NNW of YEVELE - but it is also fine for a nice stop off the boat if for some reason you don't want to hop on the bus in background and go down to the beach. 
Locals usually have a group in native costume singing near the pier - good photo ops. Nearer the buses they have set up stalls offering much the same things as down at the beach but on a more limited scale. 
In the shot above P AND O have their shore tours tent up in case you haven't booked on the ship, but I've not seen other cruise lines do this. In earlier cruises locals also had tour counters at considerable savings to the ships' stuff but latest cruise these were absent.
Walking inland up the hill about 500m gets you to TADINE VILLAGE if you feel like a wander. Some village facilities like the school are in the pier area.

This is a lee coast for the prevailing winds, and in 6 visits I've never seen it windy or the sea more than calm here.
The coastline around TADINE is all rock platforms and small bays but the water is clear, has some good fringing coral and okay fishies. I've found the easiest place to enter the water is immediately north of the pier where there is a kind of boat ramp - take care, ramps can get slippery. There is no sand in the area (the nearest is a small beach about 800m north - access may be difficult) but near the ramp is flat concrete where people were sunning on towels.

PACIFIC JEWEL - SEPT 2014
TADINE is a good anchorage - sheltered and the ships can get reasonably close to shore. Hence tender transfers are shortish and not rough. Always great to get back on board - first action: make a beeline for the buffet.

ACCESSING MARE - most visitors are cruise-line passengers but I once saw a van with backpackers in TADINE - it's possible to fly in with AIR CALEDONIE, BETICO run a fast ferry several times a week and there are several accommodation options including AIRBNB.
The island is also a popular call in for cruising yachts.



IF YOU SEE MISTAKES OR HAVE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, PLEASE POST BELOW.
BUT IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS PLEASE ASK THEM IN THE FORUM SECTION WHICH I CHECK MOST DAYS WHEN NOT TRAVELLING - WHEREAS I SELDOM REVISIT THESE INDIVIDUAL DESTINATION PAGES.



Friday, January 5, 2018

MYSTERY ISLAND - VANUATU




MYSTERY ISLAND - real name INYEUG ISLAND - VANUATU

LAST VISITED OCT 2017




Mystery Island is most people's idea of a tropical island - it is a coral cay, an ex atoll whose central lagoon has been filled partially filled by wave/wind deposited detritus from the reef. 

 Mystery Island is pretty tiny - the land just to its north is a south western peninsula on a bigger island of Aneityum, which is in the far south of the Vanuatu island chain.

RELATIVE SIZES
As said, Mystery Island is tiny.


Vanuatu is a fair bit south-east of PNG's Trobriand islands - approx 2400km. But you are still well and truly in the tropics. Aneityum is the southern-most island visible in the chain above.
I pinched this map from https://lb.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanuatu.

MYSTERY ISLAND-VANUATU (2) relative to other places in this section - 1 KIBOLA-KIRIWANA-PNG  3 YEJELE-MARE-NEW CALEDONIA 4 NOUMEA-NEW CALEDONIA  5 ISL OF PINES-NEW CALEDONIA  6 LIFOU-NEW CALEDONIA.
Numbers may be clearer if you click-expand image.




Aneityum (at left - top image) is pretty mountainous whereas Mystery island is typical of coral cays which rarely get more than a few meters above sea level.
I reckon this is the main reason MI has no permanent settlement (the story goes it's haunted) - it would not be too great during the huge waves and tidal surges of a tropical cyclone aka hurricane/typpoon. Lack of running water is another problem. So "locals" live on the bigger island and move across to sell beers, food, touristy souvenirs, hire snorkels etc when the cruise liners arrivE. Hell, there is even a rough grass airstrip to enable access from further afield - and it's about the only flat spot around Aneityum so naturally it acts as that island's airpfield.


The general area has a pretty big surrounding reef which requires cruise liners to moore a fair way from the island, meaning tender trips are not short. However the island and the reef provides good shelter from the prevailing south east trade winds - in 4 visits we have always managed to get onto the island unlike say nearby ISLE OF PINES. However I have read that some cruise visits to MI have ended with no landing - so maybe we have been lucky.
Kinky horizon from my elcheapo camera's panorama setting which doesn't always stitch shots all that well. However they do click-expand nicely.


Um---a little better. 
This shot shows more island, less surrounding reef-lagoon. I cranked in enouth telephoto to approximated view from ship (most cameras' normal settings throw to mild wide angle which makes objects appear more distant and smaller).


BEST BEACH WINDY represents most popular beach spot, but if you arrive on a blustery day you may be better off on the lee side (arrivial) of the island - the whole beach along there is SHELTERED. 
People seeking an uncrowded strip of sand should head for the places marked "s" for SECLUSION.
BEST SNORKELING I've found is in the south-east bay (fortunately the offshore reef protects this from ocean swells and chop on blustery days) but I have seen people snorkeling all around the island.
Only place without sand is in the far south - here a rock platform replaces silca, but I have seen snorkelers working over the aqua here.


This beach in the island's south-east is probably the best, but there are sections of sand all around the island except at the very south end. A walking track does the circuit - took me about 40 minutes. 
Note weather conditions are important - I have been here in late October and November - despite being in the sub-tropics, the SE trades and sea temps during Spring are not quite warm enough to make it pleasant on this exposed side of the island on more blustery days - the western lee side is a better idea. A 2016 visit  was in mid-summer February - the trades still blowing but were welcome as a cooling agent in this hotter period. Water temp very nice.


PIER SIDE
If it's windy, particularly in SPRING/AUTUMN you may prefer the arrival/lee side of the island.



The beach is okay here - maybe a bit narrow but plenty of room to lay a towel/sarong. There is limited shade in back of the beach. Maybe the biggest hassle is a band of rock on entry to the water or just offshore depending on the tide. Locals offer snorkeling gear and some neat glass-bottomed kayaks along here.

Sheltered side - pic from the pier. These people are off on some diving/snorkeling/sightseeing trip. In this 2016 pic the LEGEND is a lot further offshore than 2017 in the shot before.


Since this 2016 pic was shot a new pier has been constructed.


WINDWARD SIDE
This is the opposite side - pretty nice when the wind is not too strong (or on those mid-late summer days when the sun is real hot and you welcome some cooling wind).
This is 2017 pic is shot from more or less the same spot as the 2015 one up page. Area around camera is good for people seeking low crowds, but heading away from the camera....

....you reach the MOST POPULAR beach area (doesn't seem real crowded in this shot) which is easily accessed by walking the short distance driectly across the island from the arrivals pier. 
Beach is nice here - not too steep, wide enough low tide and with a bunch of local services behind (see next spot).
Water offshore is clear, doesn't shelve too quickly, protected from swell/chop by very distant offshore reef, but there is a bit of rock just off the sand.
Lotsa people snorkeling close in with a few fish and rocks/coral to check but if you go further out you reach much better stuff.


There are a number of good snorkeling spots, but a popular one where a lot of the paid snorkeling trips go is  the one mentioned above off the central south-east beach. The boat center-background is one of the snorkel trip craft - if you look close you may see heads in water to right of it. I swam out - it is about 250m - coral and fish were pretty good without being fantastic. Water pretty shallow.

Close to shore there were enough fish and small coral patches to make it interesting for novices.



Local dudes had cool bar set up behind the sand. Beer/sot drink prices considerably lower than on ship.


COASTAL TRACK
Around island track - 40 minutes and I'm a slow walker. Footwear advised - some roots  and rocks in places and in the north-eat you divert onto the rock platform for a short distance. 

ISLAND INTERIOR
The island interior for some distance around the arrivals pier has lotsa attractive walkways leading to....




....a bunch of local's business and services. Every time we return they have upgraded the area - latest visit a very nice modern toilet block had been built and there was a new arrivals pier.
Signs advertise eats/drinks/clothing/touristy trinkets/swimming-snorkelling gear for hire/snorkeling and other trips/ plus of course the ubiquitous and very popular hair plaiting. 


Waiting to be tendered back to the Legend (tender transfers are free). Mystery Island seems a good anchorage - the island's reef gives protection from the SE swell so that transfers are relatively stable - in 4 visits we have got off the ship each time, unlike nearby Isle of Pines (2 in 4)



ACCESSING MYSTERY ISLAND.
Nearly all visitors are cruise ship passengers. It would be possible to fly in from PORT VILA or NOUMEA but with so many other closer options why would people do this? Ditto cruising yachts - MYSTERY ISLAND is nice but VANUATU, THE SOLOMAN ISLANDS and NEW CALEDONIA'S LOYALTY ISLANDS have hundreds of gorgeous beaches with good anchorages for small craft.


IF YOU SEE MISTAKES OR HAVE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, PLEASE POST BELOW.
BUT IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS PLEASE ASK THEM IN THE FORUM SECTION WHICH I CHECK MOST DAYS WHEN NOT TRAVELLING - WHEREAS I SELDOM REVISIT THESE INDIVIDUAL DESTINATION PAGES.


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