Right after the World Championships in Bahamas and a wonderful week (between the 12th and the 18th of December) in La Plagne ski station for the annual sport event « Les Etoiles du Sport », gathering all the French sports stars of the year, I have traveled to a very exotic place : New Calédonia. The tropical French island is floating in the middle of the South Pacific, very near to Australia and New Zeland.
I spent almost 3 months there with Julie. Julie has worked on an aquaculture project and I have been invited to share my passion and experience of freediving with the New Caledonian people and to start my preparation for the next team World Championship in Okinawa in July 2010.
One part of the trip took place in Nouméa, the main city of the Island. Eric Clua and Bernard Andréani, director of the APNEA freediving club of Nouméa introduced me to the 200 members. I organised some training sessions in the wonderful outdoor 50m swimming pool and some courses in the beautiful water of the biggest lagoon in the world. I managed to train too with the CNC, Caledonian swimming club almost every day. I also took part in 2 freediving competitions organised by the APNEA club and improved my personal best in dynamic with a 167m dive.
I have been invited too to become the ambassador of a new freediving club based in Koutio, around Nouméa.
The other part of the trip was organised by Alphonse Pujapujane. It took part in the Loyalties Islands and was 100% dedicated to the ocean. I was travelling and teaching in the 3 islands of the Loyalties : Mare, Lifou and Ouvéa. The habitants of the island are mostly Melanesian people with a completely different social organisation than ours : the tribal organisation. The Loyalties Islands are one the most beautiful places I have ever been so far. But on top of it, the experience with the local people was unique. Kanak people are very close to nature and the ocean in their way of life and together we had an amazing time.
Better than words, here are some pictures of the warmest winter I have ever experienced.
Spearfishing in Lifou Alphonse Pupujane and the Lifou team
After spearfishing in Lifou Teaching dynamic at the pool
Wreck in Caledonian lagoon Conference in Nouméa
Course in Mare Amazing Mare
Blue Hole in Mare Spearfishing in Mare
Ouvéa... Some members of club APNEA in Nouméa