Nekweta Surf Camp’s luxurious tropical garden is just 2 minutes walk from the Roche Percée beach. Walking due north, you will find Turtle bay, then Lover’s and Gouaro bays, that all have beautiful beaches. If you want to go all the way, the walk takes three hours to and fro.
The Legend of Turtle Bay, Where Lay “Great Men”
Just like any legend, this one may have been warped by people and time. The eldest locals in Bourail pass the story on orally to their descendants. Although there might be different versions, this is how an old Kanak man told us this ancient story on a summer night, with a light breeze and the rustling of the leaves in the background.
The eldest say that Bourail’s Wiseman, the Bétéléoumé, also called thebig guardian, watches the soul of the deceased as they follow their path down the valley, along the river to come to the famous Roche Percée (pierced rock). In the fig tree at the entrance of the tunnel lay the spirits of the wisemen who judge the soul and decide whether to pierce its ear.
When the soul walks down the tunnel to the other side, the big guardian checks the soul’s ears, and if none is pierced, throws the soul in the seas where it will be tormented for ever by malicious spirits represented by snakes and sharks. If one of the ears is pierced, then the soul may walk on to Turtle bay where it will join the other souls of deceased great men, to protect the souls of the living. According to the legend, each colonnary pine represents a worthy soul. And indeed it is striking that there are no colonnary pines to be found on the coastline for kilometers. The colonnary pine is used by the Kanaks to signal a sacred or taboo location, and the local tribes say that bodies of kings and wisemen are buried vertically at the foot of each pine.
This story was taboo, and if we tell this story today it is for people to understand the sacredness of this part of the land. We earnestly hope that one day access to Turtle bay by car and camping will be restricted, in due respect for the tranquillity of the souls of worthy men who are protecting us all.
Thanks to the association Bwara – Tortues Marines, that has been founded 10 years ago by Manu, the turtle bay is now protected from cars and campers. Since 2012, the members are also working hard to revegetate the coastline and protect the beach.
Poe beaches are located 15 minutes drive.