Category Archives: Mauritius

Ile De Deux Cocos: Sublime, With Lime, Island Time


I am loyal and consant in my love for travel, as I have not always been loyal and constant in my other loves. I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless newborn baby-I just don’t care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it’s mine.
–Elizabeth Gilbert author

My second day on Mauritius we hit the beach at Ile de Deux Cocos (Two Coconut Island) via glass bottom boats. My life will never be the same. I think the students liked it too! There were probably 9 faculty and staff and 60 students on the island which sounds terrible but was really quite perfect.

We were greeted in true fantasy island style with cold face towels, mimosas, an open bar, free snorkel equipment and lounge chairs (pictured above) hammocks, cabanas, and a BBQ lunch of chicken, shrimp, fish, lamb, salads, breads, and on and on.

They had to pry our toasted, sand-crusted, worn-out bodies off the island. One of the owners (it is owned by a conglomerate) was on hand to wish us safe travels and make sure we didn’t make off with any of his crystalware, silverware, beach gear or the like.

In a journey of almost 6 weeks with a pace that makes my head spin daily, it was nice to chase sand crabs, ooh and ahh over fish, decide wether to snorkel or nap first (snorkel!), chicken or shrimp (both), hammock or lounge (neither!).

There were strolling guitar players who serenaded us as we napped and played in the sun and shade. Paradise, really. Because everyone was happy, content, relaxed. That night the “crew” that I hung out with in Cape Town insisted that I go out with them, but when I heard that the ride they arranged wasn’t due to come back to this side of the island until 4am….I laughed and laughed and told them “you couldn’t PAY me to hang out with yall like that again.” Plus, the next day I headed out for some deep sea fishing fun and had to be up at 5:15am. So I caught up with some students that I didn’t know well and had yummy chinese food until we couldn’t keep our eyes open or our heads out of our plates.

I thought it was hilarious that our boat was named Zazou 3 (Wasn’t that the dude in “The Life Aquatic?”). This was another one of my goals…to go deep sea fishing, something I’ve been wanting to do for a few years now but had neither the time or the money in ample supply at the same time. And after this trip out to catch some beast of the deep, I can honestly say I’d rather stand on the docks and just throw my money into the ocean, because deep sea fishing is a gamble. And despite our gear, guides, and good attitudes, all we caught was sight of a Chinese navy ship, and 3 birds. I guess after Fantasy Island, I was due to draw a short straw.

I spent my last day on Mauritius at a Botanical Garden (yall know how I love a botanical garden) this was the best worst Bo-Garden ever. Turtles, ???? (I have no idea what these are because NOTHING was labeled!), oh wait here are some FLOWERS! Imagine that-and lots and lots of trees. I shouldn’t complain since it was free. Of course I was out and about with Shayla and so the day had to decend into foolishness. We got mistaken for South African tourists, she was assumed to be a cook on the ship, our cab driver tried to shake us down for an extra $5US after taking us on a skeevy city tour, we ate some sketchy ice cream, shot amazing views of the city and she got groped on the water taxi. So we’ve dubbed Mauritius “The Island We Hate to Love.”

CHENNAI, INDIA: Here we come!

Port Louis, Mauritius: I’d Never Heard of It Either!

Mauritius was a totally crazy port in good (and not so good) ways. We pulled in about 5 hours late on a beautiful, tropical afternoon. The island is the stuff dreams are made of with the lush green landscapes, the indescribably aqua-green waters and well, the people (as I had been warned) are gorgeous! (Pic=Sega dancers at Cannelles).

Another cultural experience with the crazy students (here singing 80’s tunes on the way to Cannelles). About 40 of us went out to the cultural center for a night of fruity drinks, not so fruity drinks, authentic food and dance.

Us trying to dance Sega (lots of emphasis on “trying”). The Mauritians are a proud combination of French, African, Indian and Chinese decendents. Most of them refer to themselves as “Creole”, not identifying with a particular ethnicity.

The next morning I went on a trip with two of the Environmental Science professor’s classes to a local fish hatchery lab! We learned about baby shrimp in test tubes, breeding and feeding goldfish, and how Eco-Tourism is the driver of Mauritius’ economy. Oh, I also slipped down some slippery steps in the hatchery and my arse and back hurt wicked bad the next day. (note: wicked bad=hurt like hell, please send prescription strength narcotics).

Totally nerdtastic morning. Did you know that goldfish are not a naturally occurring species? They are a hybrid of carp! Same with Koi and similar ornamental fish. We learned about various types of coral reef and specifically about the 150 miles of reef that protect Mauritius from Cyclones and Tsunamis. We also got to talk about some ways to conserve water, protect reefs around the world and help nature to heal itself. This particular scientific research facility was even more impressive because fully half the scientist are women, as is the Director. Go Girls! Don’t worry, the boys were holding their own and several scatalogical jokes were bantied about. I think the phrase I’ll never forget is “Poop Loop” which is altogether different from a Fruit Loop, despite the similarity in their names.