Amuse-bouches

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The view from the top of Le Morne Brabant

I have not posted a blog for two months now but I have been busy photographing and enjoying so many things that Mauritius has to offer. Here is a little selection of images to whet your appetite for the many blogs that will follow.

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Tamarind Falls
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Cane fields at Souillac
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Quatre Bornes Saturday Market
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Red whiskered bulbul in a coconut palm on the beach
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Pont Naturel
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Lord Shiva at Grand Bassin
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An offering at Grand Bassin
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Idols at Grand Bassin
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Kestrel Valley
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Crystal Rock
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Dolphins at Tamarin

It has been amazing!

Views and Blues

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Sugar cane covers almost all of the island and, as it is cooler, has just come into flower. It will stop growing, ripen and be harvested over the next six months.

Everyday I find myself looking at the sky and the sea and appreciating the various shades of blue. Blue is the colour, of course. The mountains and sugar cane seem to be in almost every view of the island and look stunning illuminated by the Indian Ocean sunshine.

I drove to Grand Baie in the North for an early meeting; the sea is a very special of shade of blue there, almost metallic, it always surprises me.

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The East side of Grand Bay, the early morning sun reflecting on the sea

The second photo was taken a few minutes later, having turned to the West.

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Just after sunrise in West side of Grand Baie

This is a fishing area and the hull of the one behind was being worked on by five men, it had been damaged by coral.

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It took a while to get the right angle to photograph this as the men kept standing up to see what I was doing!

The next morning I was up at dawn to go dolphin watching.

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Early morning winter sunlight is not so spectacular on the West coast.

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The dolphins were feeding deep in the water for a change
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Mother and child

Many more boats started to appear with tourists eager to go swimming and snorkelling among the dolphins.

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It was getting crowded and so we decided to head for home.

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Returning to Black River an hour after sunrise, I was stunned by the blue of the sky, the green of the vegetation and the reflection of both in the lagoon.

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It was like a mill pond; beautiful.

Tropica Dingue at Mon Tresor

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There are so many things to do outdoors at the weekend in Mauritius but the first Tropica Dingue to be held on the island grabbed my attention. It was at Mon Tresor so I went along to see what it was all about.

But where is Mon Tresor? It is on the southernmost coastal plain of Mauritius, a natural landscape in the South East, close to the airport and earmarked for a sustainable urban development project. A combination of countryside and seaside against a backdrop of undulating sugar cane fields, the Christiane Vallet forest and century old trees near Mare aux Songes, where bones of the dodo have been found.

Tropica Dingue, or Tropical Madness as it translates, is a mix of trail running/walking/climbing  with obstacles to get over, under or around, for teams in fancy dress who are prepared to accept the challenge against a backdrop of sun, palm trees, beach and a lagoon.

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‘Are you Rrrrrreddddddeeeee Mow-rish-us?’

I headed for the excellent Holiday Inn, drove past and turned right towards the old Mon Tresor sugar factory. It was easy to find as most of the competitors had arrived early and were getting warmed up by the enthusiastic, cheerleading trio on stage.

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‘Put your hands in the air, crouch down, say Aaah!’ It was like being being arrested by a dwarf doctor (think about it!).

Muscles were stretched and warmed as the competitors followed the keep fit/dance routines as jubilant and frenzied tunes pumped from the DJ tower overlooking coconut lawn as much as the adrenaline.

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One last chance for a photo and more encouragement from the excellent DJs who wanted to get in on the act

The starts were staggered as this was all about participation and not a race. The sun came out just as the first teams left the start.

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‘3,  2,  1, GO!!!’ Armed only with smiles, the assault course awaits!

First, the tyre obstacle challenge.

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These excellent convicts showed their skills at escaping

There were some fantastic costumes ranging from Superheroes to Neon Pink keep fit outfits.

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Two of the braver outfits to tackle the course in. They were wise to bring orange scented nappy rash cream with them.
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The ‘Panama Papers’ costume was a very clever idea
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You could not miss this team!

The promised backdrop of sugar cane fields was truly stunning, the cane flowers blowing in the breeze coming from the sea.

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The sugar cane harvest starts in June and lasts for nearly six months

The coastline was looking particularly blue with frothy, snow white surf soaking the black rocks on the shoreline. Perfect for a bit of fishing.

Stunningly captivating coast line

What a beautiful sandy beach to walk along, just as nature intended it.

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Half way along the beach, the competitors had an obstacle to get under. Can you see them in the distance?

The sand was warm and soft as competitors scrambled under the nets no doubt tempted by the sea lapping at the shore.

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Hey! No time to build sandcastles

Plenty of photo-opportunities for Enrico, the official photographer.

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…and he took lots!

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Hot work to do this in wigs, madness actually. Tropical Madness.

For some the sea was just too tempting and the opportunity to cool off for a bit and enjoy the view.

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Escape from Mon Tresor!

Having had a drinks break, there was a nice walk/run before a big challenge loomed up ahead. Most stopped running when they saw it!

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You had to pull yourself up and over, sliding down the other side. For some this was easy but for the more gravitationally challenged, they needed a lot of assistance, slings or a JCB.

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‘Pull the rope!’ ‘Push my feet!’

Gloves, dry trainers and a hefty shove definitely helped.

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A fantastic team of volunteers assisted on all the obstacles and could not do enough to make the day enjoyable for all the competitors.

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‘Put the soles of your feet on the slide, bend your knees and LET GO!’

Not wishing to pull the obstacle over, some chose to walk around it. Wise.

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Feeling tyred

Dragging a tyre by a rope along the dusty ground around an obstacle took some determination.

The final obstacle was a water slide, not for those scared of heights or muddy water.

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‘Come on it, the water is lovely’
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The slippery slope to success
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A bigger splash

The end now in sight, competitors pulled themselves out of the pool and headed for the finish.

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The Finish!

Clutching a few sugar cane flowers, another team finishes the First Mauritius Tropica Dingue, happy have discovered where Mon Tresor is, enjoyed a fun couple of hours and looking forward to some dry, clean clothes and lunch!

Many congratulations to the organisers (especially Marvellous Melanie de L’Estrac), all the sponsors and the team from La Reunion who put on the event. It certainly showed that the 1,400 Mauritians who took part not only have a great sense of humour but also tremendous spirit as they wholeheartedly threw themselves, literally, into Tropica Dingue.

I would like to sign up for next year before it is sold out.

 

Official movie

http://www.montresor.mu

http://tropicadingue.mu