Here I was thinking our days spent skimming and sometimes flying across the waters of the west coast of Mauritius in the research speedboat were exhilarating, when I was given an opportunity to go north on the “Babacool”. The thrill of a trimaran, with sails full, navigating over two to three metre swells was quite a ride.
We set sail out of Grand Bay on the north coast away from the idyllic-looking water and rocked our way out past the cliffs of Coin de Mire and on to Flat Island. While floating on the boat alongside the rusted wreck now part of the island, eating grilled marlin and fried rice, some interesting facts came to light regarding the four islands north of Coin de Mire.
Flat Island, with the only lighthouse and coast guard station, is not actually entirely flat at all. Gabrielle alongside Flat Island is completely flat. Round Island, off to the north east, hosts many species of birds and skinks only found in this area and is a highly protected nature reserve. However, it is not really very round but rather steep and oblong. And lastly, there is Serpent Island, which is very round but has no snakes whatsoever.
We came to a majority conclusion over our lip-smacking grilled bananas soaked with local rum that whoever was responsible for the official naming did so after an evening of copious amounts of this rum, which tastes like it could put hairs on your chest.
The sweltering day was spent exploring and snorkelling this island. What I have come to realise is that while I am here my purpose is the continuous search for the correct adjectives to describe the various blues of the Indian Ocean around Mauritius. It never ceases to amaze me. Every day I see a different shade of turquoise or some equally exotic coloured gemstone.
It is not so much the glassy sapphire depths of the open sea which I can’t tear my eyes away from, but the Colgate blue and aquamarine lagoons that don’t even look like water but rather some exotic, clear glass cover. The shades of topaz and turquoise change with the glinting rays as the sun highlights the deep and shallow reefs, leaving you with the undeniable urge to throw yourself into the water and swim in pursuit of the playful spinner dolphins. Luckily for me it is one of the requirements as a volunteer to succumb to this urge.