Easo, Lifou, New Caledonia

4/25/19 – Thursday

Another Holland America tour today (the other was of the Glow Worm Cave and Kauri Trees): Cliffs of Jokin. As we continue getting closer to the equator, it’s getting really hot and humid.

Whereas we loved and felt our money was very well spent on the Glow Worm Cave, we weren’t as impressed with the Cliffs of Jokin tour.

The first part was lovely, a tour of a Vanilla Farm/Botanical Garden

This is a palm tree and it appears to have fruits but I can’t figure out what they are, certainly not coconuts or dates. If anyone knows, I’d love your comments.


Pink Quill Bromeliad

Vanilla Plant

All new vanilla plants are begun as a plant cutting, planted in the dirt next to a dead tree stump. They grow vertically up an old tree stand (dead stump). It takes 3 years to produce a flower, another year for the first fruit. There are 10 fruits per flower. Each flower is a hermaphrodite – it includes both the male and female parts. The fruit (pods) are picked by hand and “cooked” in 60-80 Celsius water (140 degrees Fahrenheit to 176 degrees F), not really boiling (212 degrees F), for 3 minutes. This is done 3 times. Next they are covered with a cloth, then dried in the sun. Then it’s dried in the shade. It’s then placed in a small box with special paper. Later it’s placed in a larger box. This continues until it smells like vanilla. This was clearly VERY labor intensive, so you can understand why it costs so much. Now, once the pods are picked they are sent to a factory for the remainder of their treatment. 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) results in $56 income. No vanilla was available for purchase at the farm.

The star of our day – the vanilla plant growing on tree stump. Can you spot it? Nice recycling idea, yes?

Luecila Beach

Our treat of tea or coffee with vanilla flavoring. Very good idea.

Cliffs of Jokin

Before we were told where to walk to get our photos the ladies offered us palm crowns with flowers inserted. They also pointed out the toilets. Then they gave us coconuts with straws so we could have the coconut water. Not something either of us enjoyed all that much, although it was refreshing in the heat. I was also grateful all this was presented under a roof/shade.

There may have been a story connected to these cliffs, but we don’t remember it. Where we could take pictures had a lot of trees in the way. I imagine 50 years ago this would have been a lot easier to photograph. Or if you approached by boat. This is the shot I got.

Cliffs of Jokin

There was a chief’s hut we could also inspect.
Inside the chief’s hut.
The roof inside the chief’s hut.

Luecila Beach. We took a few minutes here under the welcome tree shade to enjoy the view. Good place for swimming, not so much for snorkeling.

Tender back to the ship

About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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