Ocean color of tropical lagoons is dependent on bathymetry and bottom type, as well as input of coastal living and mineral particles and chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM). The New Caledonia lagoon lies in the Southwestern Tropical Pacific around 21° 30’S and 166° 30’E, with a great marine biodiversity in UNESCO Heritage coral reefs, benthic sea grass, and benthic communities. They are largely connected to the open ocean in the southern and eastern parts, but only by narrow passes in the southwest part. The trophic state is linked to spatial variations in flushing times. High run offs due to rain carrying abundant chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and particle loads may greatly impact the functioning of ecosystems while rivers and sewage effluents may induce localized impacts. Two oceanographic cruises (CALIOPE 1 in 2011 and CALIOPE 2 in 2014) were carried out off the Eastern Coast of New Caledonia during a calm dry period and during high winds, respectively. Multi- and hyper-spectral marine reflectance was measured with a SIMBADA instrument and a TRIOS radiometer system, together with inherent optical properties (total and CDOM absorption coefficients with a PSICAM, in situ absorption and scattering with an AC9, backscattering with a Hydroscat-6). Fluorescence of CDOM (EEM/PARAFAC) was measured on collected 0.2 μm filtered samples. In 2014, Satlantic and FieldSpec hyper-spectral radiometers were available for in-water profiling of upwelling radiance and downwelling irradiance and above-water reflectance measurements, respectively. Inherent and apparent optical data from the two cruises are compared and used to estimate ocean color algorithms performance and evaluate a Linear Matrix Inversion method, providing tools for remote sensing on this highly under-sampled coastal region of New Caledonia.