On Location – Mauritius Day 6
One of our travel bloggers is currently in Mauritius. Today he swapped his sun lounger for a catamaran and discovered the delights of Ile aux Cerfs…
It’s fair to say that I’ve spent a fair bit of my time in Mauritius gazing out to sea – from the comfort of a sun bed/beach beanbag/hammock. Today, I got to drink in more of the deep blue but this time I was on deck. Reason being, I went on Thomson’s ‘Sailing At Its Best’ excursion. This boat trip takes in the east coast of Mauritius and has been given an ‘Award of Excellence’ by previous customers.
Cute colonial harbour
The day began with a short drive from the Ambre Resort & Spa down to nearby Trou-D’eau-Douce. This harbour kind of resembles a Caribbean seaside town, thanks to its neat rows of folksy clapboard houses complete with Victorian-style verandas and porches. From there, it was shoes off as I waded into the sea to join a motorboat that whisked me over to the gently bobbing ‘Oceane’ catamaran anchored out in the bay.
I was one of the first aboard and so managed to bag a prime spot at the prow of the boat. As we set sail, my mental dictionary went into override, scrabbling for the appropriate word to sum up the idyllic coastal scene that was unfurling before me. Having dispensed with ‘breathtaking’ and scoffed at ‘awe-inspiring’, I settled on ‘majestic’. Somehow it provided the right level of oomph versus serenity. The ocean played out in a symphony of blue – clear waters shot with piercing hues of turquoise, jade and aquamarine. Across the waves, I could make out the creamy sands of some far-off beach, backed by the lush slopes of a cone-shaped mountain.
After about an hour at sea, we veered back towards the coastline, snaking down a lagoon-come-estuary. Our goal? The Grand River South East Waterfall. En route, we passed by mangroves and rock-clinging trees filled with chattering monkeys and dozing fruit bats. The falls were beautiful – their white foam offset by the surrounding black rocks.
Having almost max-ed out the photo memory on my iPhone, we headed back out to open waters to an ocean pontoon for an optional extra. I was trussed up into a harness and a life jacket and before I knew it was hoisted up into the air, a multi-coloured parachute streaming out behind me. I’ve never been parasailing before but let’s just say ‘exhilarating’ doesn’t really do the experience justice. ‘Wooo-hooo’ is perhaps a better description.
After all that exertion, it was time for lunch. Only this was a pit-stop with a difference. Honestly, in all my travels I’ve never seen a barbeque rustled up from the back of a boat before. First time for everything and all that. But suffice to say, it worked a treat – the crew cooked up a tasty meal of flame-grilled chicken and tuna steaks.
The final port of call for the day was Ile aux Cerfs. Disembarking into the surf, I made for the white sandy beach of this heavenly isle. It’s everything a tropical retreat should be, topped with a bouquet of palms, hemmed by mangroves and lapped by crystal clear turquoise waters.
A grand day out
Having banked a sunbathing session under the shade of a coconut tree, it was then all aboard for the return leg. I sank into one of the rigging nets that spans the catamaran and looked back at the course of my day… sea views aplenty, a trip through a lagoon, a glimpse of a waterfall, a parasailing session, an ocean barbeque, and a chill-out spot that’s arguably one of the prettiest places on earth. Not bad for a day’s, erm, work.