Île de Canards – Duck Island – was our destination on the last day of the year. There are no ducks.
On the 31st December 2017, the glass bottom taxi boat to the Ile de Canard was the better option as you could see the fish. And in fact, it was cheaper than the modern water taxi service of which had queues. A ten-minute ride takes you to a tiny island set up with red umbrellas, a bar, a cafe and nothing else but that is not what we came for.
We came for the snorkelling and swimming and luckily we came early in the morning before the French and Australian tourists all disembarked an hour later. We had the underwater snorkelling trail mainly to ourselves following the marked buoys with attached information on the coral and fish we saw. It took about an hour. We were warned to stay out of the fragile area in the centre even though the coral there had more colour. There was a lot of white coral with intermittent bursts of colour which means that this is evidence of bleached coral. There was a global bleaching event last year but my marine biologist niece, Elissa, tells me that they are still alive if they have no algae on them. It has a chance to recover perhaps. Mike thought that the reef in Lemon Bay had more colourful coral. He was right.
Hiring two beach chairs with an umbrella will set you back about $AUS45 and renting a snorkel is about $12 per hour. No wonder the rental scheme was set up.
We were accompanied by our lovely new French friend, Isabelle, who is travelling around the world solo before her thirtieth birthday. She has already been on the road for three months. It reminded me of my solo travelling days.
We finished the day with another swim in the pool and my birthday seafood dinner in a festive, friendly restaurant, Le Bilboquet Plage. There were long tables set up for groups of locals. They were all dressed colourfully with flowers in their hair and glitter on their bodies.