We’re woken this morning to the sound of the 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 white, white sand.
Once ashore we wander to the far side of the island and along the softest, whitest sand I’ve ever seen before wading into the crystal clear water. Yes I know, that sounds like a brochure. The coral reef is a short wade 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 was once home to over 3000 prisoners are in fact one of the first things I see as I walk up the jetty. The old colonial powers really knew how to pick a good place in which to punish their criminals.
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.