Visiting Prony Bay

Anchorage up Prony Bay

Anchorage up Prony Bay

We spent several days in the unusual location of Prony Bay in the eastern part of New Caledonia. It’s unusual in several respects: first because we were up a river, second because the terrain is almost alien looking with dark red ground only partially covered by the vegetation, and third because it is near a giant mining complex. New Caledonia was the first country to discover and mine the element of nickel. They also have many other heavy metals due to the unique geology of the island (it was formed due to up-lifting of the bedrock during the splitting of the Gondwana continent). Unfortunately, the new mining complex has leasing rights over most of the area we visited, and in a few years most of the nature we saw will be erased. We were glad we had the chance to visit!

Thanks to our friends Richard and Frederique on s/v Moira, we had some experts on the area to show us around. They took us on walks into the hills to cascade water falls, a meteor crater lake, swimming holes, hot springs, and old penal colony ruins. There were all kinds of interesting plants up in the hills. The heavy metals in the area prevent normal plants from growing, many of these plants are very unusual – possibly only found in this location. We saw two varieties of carnivorous plants, unusual orchids, and many others. There are no tall trees found, but that might be due to mining in the area 60 years ago.

The river water is fresh water and salt water. Since salt water is heavier, the salt water is a layer underneath the fresh. There are salt water coral under the river which I saw on a calm day while kayaking. I got some pictures of that too.

Check out the photos of the area in the album below. This is a really unique place. We are really glad we got to see it. Here’s your chance to get a taste of it:

View full-sized with descriptions

Here is a map showing the area:

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3 Responses to Visiting Prony Bay

  1. We have followed you guys for some time now – thanks for the journey. We are now in our third year of an extended cruise of eastern Aus.
    If you like good cruising pics please check us out and even follow us on twitter
    for latest updates if you like. @

    Genuine regards
    Judy and Geoff Childs

    • Frank Taylor says:

      Hi Judy and Geoff. Thanks for following Tahina. Keep an eye on us, we may be able to rendezvous at some point after we arrive in Australia in November. We’re starting at Bundaberg, and then going down to Sydney for the holidays. Then heading back up later in the summer.

      • Hi back – Frank,
        It would be a privilege to meet up with you both.
        We are about to depart the Keppels for Gladstone to provision then plan to spend a couple of weeks fishing
        and crabbing in pancake thense to Bundaberg some time in
        November so as it happens our paths may cross.

        Cheers Judy and Geoff

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