Mar is the first island stop with the Carnival Spirit
Mare's population is 6000 and is 42km long and 16 to 33km wide. The main village is Tadine.
The Carnival Spirit from Mare
A raised coral atoll (coral reef surrounding lagoons), a former atoll that has been lifted about 400 feet. The interior of the island is the former lagoon, surrounded by a rim of higher land that was the ring of reef islets. Fossil coral rock that looks like honeycomb riddle the cliff lines. Caves, pools and grottos of all sizes can be found all over the island of Mare. Sharp razor rock reef edges, make it difficult to walk the shore line. The beaches are often against the cliffs and palm trees edge the shore.
Rugged reefs and rocks along the shore line of Mare
Mare is a French speaking country and there is a small language barrier at times.
We arrive at Mare, by Tender and are greeted by the locals singing tribal/native welcome songs.
The wharf is decorated with reeds and bamboo and extremely welcoming.
Mare swimming near the wharf
I found Mare, an untouched, primitive quaint island. The main hub is around the wharf front. Mare has a post office, telephone, school and markets. The local children rush to see visitors and are keen to learn our language – say 'G'day mate', and they will give you a thumbs up. We were amused to hear Bill Collins playing in the village.
School Children of Mare Island
We asked a local to take us around asI would rather give my money to the locals. There were bus tours to the beach area, however we decided to go inland.
First stop was along the coast line to the Natural Aquarium. Unbelievable aqua blue turquoise water. It is such a tranquil spot and I could have spent hours just sitting there watching the sea life; turtles are known to come into the Natural Aquarium. .
Natural Aquarium Mare
We head inland up and down hills we seem to be heading right into the centre of Mare. We are about to explore a sink hole, "The Bone Hole". 131 feet deep, as you are driving we pull over on the side of the road, you could seriously drive straight past this glorious spot. We walk a singular overgrown, rooted dirt track and in a matter of 5 -10 minutes we are at The Bone Hole. A huge sink hole, which is combined with Limestone. To think this was part of the lagoon years ago, makes the mind boggle. The view is amazing, Vines and Roots hang down the edges and in the centre of The Bone Hole is a small rainforest type grassed area surrounded by turquoise water. Words cant describe the beauty here.
The Bone Hole - with our driver
The island is lined with limestone, caves and grotto as far as the eye can see, and then we head for the coast line and tour the island with the many attractive pure white sand pristine beaches. Mareans live in tribes and their culture is extremely important to them. Please when visiting Islands always respect their cultures.
One of the many beaches on Mare
The cliff lines are majestic and you cant help but adore the beauty of Mare. There are a couple of resorts and home stay options or you can stay in a thatched hut by the lagoon. We were on a day visit only.
For my first Island tour, I was very impressed with Mare. Would definitely visit again. A great first stop for the Carnival Spirit guests.
I suggest bringing snorkel, mask, flippers (can be hired on Carnival) camera, water and a snack.