Remember yesterday I was saying that when you travel, some days are just better than others. Today was one of those days. A day when you are not only seeing or experiencing the wonders of the world, but having a great time too.
It was a public holiday in Mauritius today, for Chinese New Year. Mauritius is a very multicultural society and they celebrate everyone’s different festivals with a public holiday – they have something like 15 holidays a year (and they call Australia the land of the long weekend!). It was a holiday on Tuesday too, so we were lucky to have Owen & Maryanne to entertain us.
We piled into Owen’s car and headed east along the coast. The sun was shining and we just drank in the scenery – the colour of the water defies description. I’m sure if you painted it that colour in art class, the teacher would tell you to tone it down. After a few photo stops we arrived at Blue Bay Marine Park and headed straight for the water. Maryanne lent us snorkels, masks & flippers and within seconds we were snorkelling in an underwater wonderland. The corals & fish were fantastic, so much variety & colour & movement. The fish would swim right past us, seemingly oblivious to our presence, except one particular fish which would stop & stare at us. We snorkelled for around an hour, and could have stayed longer.
I managed to get a few pictures, thanks to my little underwater camera (Olympus Mju), but that was more due to luck than good management. Underwater photography is hard enough, since the water, you & the fish are moving, and there is no way to steady yourself. But just as we got into the water the view screen decided to stop working. So there was no way to change the settings, or to see what I was shooting. I kept shooting, hoping they were taking & it was just the screen that had died, which in fact was the case – all up I’m pretty happy I got any good shots.
After a short snack break we were on our way up an incredibly windy, and at times very steep road through lush green forest to a house on the top of a hill. Owen & Maryanne’s company keep lodge in the mountains for the use of themselves, their clients & some of their employees. It is literally on the top of a mountain, with incredible views on all sides. As a passionate conservationist, Owen is busy replanting native Mauritian forest on most of the land & getting rid of introduced species & weeds, just as he is on the property we saw on Sunday, the planned ecotourism park. We saw lots of seedlings he has germinated from seed, waiting to be planted. There is a swimming pool, of sorts. Owen enthusiastically told us how the water is so clean, it is fed by a natural spring & is full of fish & eels. And he wondered why we weren’t tempted to go for a dip! He did, and brought back something to show me – a “cute’ little snake!
Maryanne had brought a wonderful packed lunch of quiche, salad & a bottle of Australian wine, and we sat on the patio to enjoy the vista. The only sounds were bird calls, the sky was blue, there was a gentle breeze – what more could you want? We took the comfy cane chairs from the lounge room into the garden, and spent the whole afternoon just sitting there, chilling out.
Having trouble believing we only have one more day of this holiday left!