Sunday, January 29, 2017

Mauritius - day 6

29 January 2017

It was anniversary day!

We had not made any big plans for the morning and afternoon, but in the evening we had booked a two-hour sunset cruise with Catamaran Cruises as the highlight of the anniversary.

In the morning, we went for a leisurely walk to the beach.

We intended to stay in and cook lunch, so on the way back from the beach, we stopped by the Dodo supermarket to buy pasta, vegetables and cheese.

After a hearty pasta lunch, we sat down to play Uno again. Clueless and I kept losing rather spectacularly to Viv, but it was a very entertaining session because Viv decided to add commentary to the games... in Hindi! It was hilarious.

Around 5 pm or so, a van came and picked us up to take us to the south coast where our cruise would start. The journey took almost an hour, but we were still early. So we walked around, taking photos.

The inviting Indian ocean

We could see many boats in the water.

I burst out laughing when I saw this sign. Some 250 metres ahead!

Family pic

Dad had, as usual, wandered off to take photos of plants and trees. 

Clueless and me

Mom and Dad

All excited!

Viv and Xena saw some boys diving into the water. Viv took a slow-mo video and showed it to them. They were thrilled!

Finally, things seemed to be moving along. First, we were ushered into a teeny weeny boat, which almost gave me a heart attack because I thought that was the "cruise"! It wasn't, phew. It was just to take us to our cruise ship...

...the Island Hopper!

Our captain was an African man called Pascal. He introduced himself and his colleague (who identified himself as "Johnny Lever" and started singing "Raja ko rani se pyaar ho gaya" to our amusement) and gave us a basic briefing. 

The cruise included snacks and all kinds of drinks such as beer, wine and juices. Pascal also offered us a choice of water. "Still, sparkling, or..." he pointed to the sea, "salty." LOL!

Family chatting over drinks and snacks

Mom poses with her fruit punch. 

Aboard the Island Hopper

Mom was freaking out at the thought of standing so close to the edge, but I managed to convince her. 

Viv's signature panorama shot

Pascal told us that we could go and stand on the net fastened at the front portion of the boat. I really wanted to, but I wasn't sure how safe it was. We had NO life jackets on!

But brave little Clueless casually hopped over, and then got me in too. 

Soon, even Dad had joined us, though Mom absolutely refused. 

It was very weird, but the utter disregard for life jackets felt kind of liberating. 

Or maybe it was just the wine. Yep, most likely the wine. 

One of my favourite moments of the holiday was this moment right here.

Soon, Xena also got adventurous and wanted to join us on the net. We transferred her over and though she's not much of a risk-taker, she seemed absolutely thrilled. 

The little girl on the big net

We could see corals through the gaps in the net! "Mama, are these flowers??" She asked. 

Of course, my mini-me had to copy my pose!

Three generations out at sea

My baby and me, admiring the sea

There were these 'seats' right at the edge and it was fabulous to sit there, with the wind blowing through my hair. 

Dad seemed to love the experience too. Mom refused to budge from the safety of the covered area. 

I went back inside to give Mom company. Pascal asked me if I wanted to take the wheel! Did I?!


The Island Hopper took us to Ile aux Aigrettes, a tiny coral island (25 hectares) about 850 metres off the southeast coast. 

Like the mainland, Ile aux Aigrettes had also been heavily affected by logging and land clearance, and introduction of exotic animal and plant species almost destroyed its native flora and fauna. It was declared a nature reserve in 1965, and is being preserved by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation that hopes to restore the forest and reintroduce the rare species that have disappeared. 

Viv set off to explore the island...

...and came back armed with photos of this crab...

...and a starfish!

We also saw a starfish near our boat so I took Xena down to see it. She was fascinated. 

Happy little girl in the water

"Mama, is this seaweed?"

We also saw some very pretty birds... 

...including the stunning Mauritian fody!

Check out how beautifully its red head stands out against all that greenery.

Dad had gone and perched on a big rock. 

He was soon joined by a fody!


Always happy when in the midst of plants

Since the boat had set anchor, it was now safe to let Xena sit on the special 'high chair' without getting scolded by Mom.

Viv and Xena pose for the camera.

Xena's favourite bird, the Mauritius fody, hopped over to say 'hello'!

And it brought some friends! Xena was super excited to see the birds from such close quarters. 

Pascal told us that it was time for us to head back. Xena asked him if she could also "drive the boat like Mama". 

Of course, she could! (Though she kept asking me, "Mama, is it really me driving the boat? Am I the one making the boat move?")

On the way back, we witnessed a beautiful sunset. 

At the end of the cruise, Pascal showed us pictures of his newborn daughter. He has named her Shellsea! What an apt name for a boat guy's daughter! 

We asked our van guy to drop us at Les Robinsons instead of home. We had picked it as our restaurant of choice for a fancy anniversary dinner with the family. 

Enjoying our yummy chocolate dessert after our delicious meal

And that was how we spent our 10th wedding anniversary. :) 



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