In New Caledonia. A very strange island. Half French, as in France French, with butter from Normandy shipped halfway around the world and Bordeaux wine. Nevermind that Australia and New Zealand are less than a three hour flight away... and the closest big city is Brisbane.

Getting irritated that I can't find any local information about interesting plants. It's not on most tourist's agendas... we're not the right kind of tourist, though. With prices so high here (an hour of Internet access at a cafe is US$10, a rental car is US$70 a day from a cheap place, or US$230 for two days from Budget or Hertz)... it's no wonder that only the Japanese are willing to come here. And they're interested in French luxury goods, which are certainly in abundance here.

Anyway, ecologically it's a very curious place. The island is basically a chunk of the Earth's mantle that's on the surface, with lots of iron and nickel and chromium... these metals are toxic to most plants, but plants here have evolved to deal with them. The island's not the typical volcanic Pacific island like Hawaii or a low reef island, but is a very old chunk of Gondwana, like New Zealand, Australia, southern Africa, and South America.

So I'm off looking for plants... and just can't find many. We've been looking on the internet. Maybe today and tomorrow we'll find some more!


April 30 2002, 06:26:30

Did you get to meet Andre?

April 30 2002, 13:54:29

Glad you used part of your $10/hour to write about NC. Bon Voyage back to Oz! XO JMP

May 3 2002, 19:37:45

Bugger, why didn't you contact me! There is Agathis, Aracauria (which I am sure you know about! But there is also Nothofagus on Mont Do and a whole bunch of Eucalyptus. From what I remember in 1983!!! Did you go to the National Museum in downtown Noumea?, the new cultural centre?, the wildlife park on the outskirts of town? Did you take the coast road and go through La Foa, Moinsou, Borail??? Have only seen the drier western side of the island cause thats where I was working and I believe the eastern coast is much more like a typical tropical island. Next time perhaps. All the best Nev