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.
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.
The second photo was taken a few minutes later, having turned to the West.
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.
The next morning I was up at dawn to go dolphin watching.
Early morning winter sunlight is not so spectacular on the West coast.
Many more boats started to appear with tourists eager to go swimming and snorkelling among the dolphins.
It was getting crowded and so we decided to head for home.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
First, the tyre obstacle challenge.
There were some fantastic costumes ranging from Superheroes to Neon Pink keep fit outfits.
The promised backdrop of sugar cane fields was truly stunning, the cane flowers blowing in the breeze coming from the sea.
The coastline was looking particularly blue with frothy, snow white surf soaking the black rocks on the shoreline. Perfect for a bit of fishing.
What a beautiful sandy beach to walk along, just as nature intended it.
The sand was warm and soft as competitors scrambled under the nets no doubt tempted by the sea lapping at the shore.
Plenty of photo-opportunities for Enrico, the official photographer.
…and he took lots!
For some the sea was just too tempting and the opportunity to cool off for a bit and enjoy the view.
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!
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.
Gloves, dry trainers and a hefty shove definitely helped.
A fantastic team of volunteers assisted on all the obstacles and could not do enough to make the day enjoyable for all the competitors.
Not wishing to pull the obstacle over, some chose to walk around it. Wise.
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.
The end now in sight, competitors pulled themselves out of the pool and headed for 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.