ISLE OF PINES
The Isle of Pines or Kunie as it is still called by its inhabitants is 14 km wide and 8km long and is as beautiful underwater as it is above.
In the past, it was a place of exile for people convicted of taking part in the 19th century commune uprising in Paris. It is best to stay for 2 or 3 days to really appreciate the diversity of the Isle of Pines.
Excursions available include stops at numerous beautiful bays, caves and ruins of the convict prison. It is possible to do tours in a traditional Melanesian outrigger canoe, by minibus or on horseback. There are also diving, snorkelling and glass-bottom boat tours.
Andrew Cheyne was the first trader to visit the Isle of Pines in 1841. Andrew Cheyne was born in the Shetland Islands in 1817, the illegitimate son of James Cheyne and Elizabeth Robertson. James was the youngest brother of John Cheyne, the laird of Tangwick, Northmavine. The Cheynes were considerable landowners and also carried on a regular fishing business, exporting cured cod and ling to the continent.
Andrew grew up under the guidance of his uncle John as a member of the Cheyne household. He was tutored privately by the local Presbyterian Minister, as was common for a lairds son. It seems likely, as local tradition has it, young Andrew first went to sea in one of the familys three ships. It is not known what sent him to the Antipodes as a young man, although it may be that it has something to do with the death in 1840 of his uncle John, who left him the sum of 15 pound sterling with which to begin making his own fortune. Cheynes name first appeared in the shipping columns of the Sydney newspapers when he sailed from Sydney for the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, as master of the Brig Bee on 25 December 1840.
Illustrations by Andrew Cheyne of the Isle of Pines 1841