By Deborah Dickson-Smith (1 Dec 2010)
We’re woken this morning by the sound of tenders being lowered from beneath our balcony, ready to take us ashore to the Isle of Pines. There are islands dotting the turquoise waters all around us, heavily wooded with pine trees and ringed with brilliant white sand.
Once ashore, we wander to the far side of the island and along the softest sand I’ve ever touched before wading into the crystal clear water. Yes I know, that sounds like a brochure. The coral reef is a short swim away, populated with plenty of colourful fish and even more colourful cruise passengers.
It’s an idyllic spot – your quintessential desert island paradise, so it’s odd to think it started its French existence as a penal colony. The crumbling walls of the old gaol that once housed over 3000 prisoners are one of the first things I see as I walk up the jetty.
The old colonial powers really did think differently to us.
So we laze on the beach, cool off in the water, laze on the beach, and repeat, until the last tender of the day takes us back to the ship. I’m definitely coming back here.