Before embarking on this voyage around the world I had no idea where Mauritius was or what to think about it. I honestly didn’t even look it up. The only thing I knew for sure was that it was off the coast of Madagascar.
“Mauritius, officially the Republic of Mauritius, French: République de Maurice is an island nation off the coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about 900 kilometres (560 mi) east of Madagascar. The island of Mauritius is renowned for having been the only known home of the dodo. First sighted by Europeans around 1600 on Mauritius, the dodo became extinct less than eighty years later.” (Wikipedia, 2009).
During my visit to Mauritius one of the guides on a trip I was on said, “Mauritius is about as big as the state of Rhode Island with about 1.3 million people” I was delighted that she even knew about RI, later when I told her I was from RI and asked her about it she just stated, “Oh I just know it’s the smallest state in the US." Thank you for deflating my balloon. Anyway here is the recount of my Mauritius adventures.
From the ship I took a guided tour bus to Peyrebere Beach where the group listened to a conservationist group talk about the efforts that Mauritius is trying to make in the past 4 years to conserve their coast line and beach areas. The government and these conservationists are not on the same page with their efforts and much of the problem comes from unregulated tourism (scuba diving, snorkeling, and other water sports) and the construction of resorts and hotels right on the coast line.
After our educational piece we were shuttled to where we would board a small boat out to the ship where we would board the 10 person submarine. Our trip to the ship was about ten minutes long; while we were en route to the ship the captain slowed down to allow a school of about 20 dolphins to pass by. I finally got to see my dolphin in the water.
Once we arrived to the ship we were instructed how to board the submarine, aboard the submarine we were informed on some of the things we would see, more importantly how we should make the submarine surface in the event that our pilot passed out or become distressed. I paid close attention to those instructions.
While in the submarine we dove 30 meters to an amazing coral reef where we saw some interesting tropical fish, an old anchor completely covered in coral, a sea anemone with clown fish (of course) and a small octopus (by small I mean his head was as big as my head and tentacles were as long as my arm).
We were also taken to see a ship that was submerged in order to grow a coral reef and were able to see all the great under water life that is now dependant on its existence there.
About an hour after we had gone down below we surfaced and I suddenly had a major headache. But it was well worth the experience.
Sunset at Flic en Flac
Upon my return from the Blue Safari, I asked one of the tour agents where is the best beach to see the sun set. She informed me “Flic en Flac Beach” and then directed me on how I should get there. I took a city bus (an adventure in and of itself) for a 45 minute ride to Flic en Flac. I sat quietly and watched the people board and disembark the bus at times without the bus even stopping.
Flic en Flac is a beautiful white sand beach with coral and sea shells strewn about on the shore. I ate dinner sea side, ordered form one to the vendor trucks; it wasn’t a fancy meal but it did allow me to sample some authentic Mauritian seasonings. After I ate I walked along the beach for about 15 minutes before “the show” started. The sun made its appearance. It was a very overcast evening, but the sun did appear to answer its curtain call in an equally magnificent manner as if there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The pictures do not do it justice
After the sun set I was prepared to hail a cab and pay $35 US dollars to get back to port. But as I approached the street the bus appeared and though we had been warned not to take public transit in the evening. I threw caution to the wind and hoped for the best; after all it can’t be as bad as riding a NY City subway after midnight. I arrived safely to the port having enjoyed my full day of safari and sunset.