Mauritius April 9, 1978
Ben Oostdam's 1978 Journey


April 9, 1978, Sunday

I got up early, hung out my laundry and had a quick breakfast.
Walked along 3 beaches doing tar surveys. Results were very
pleasing: 3 lanes of 5 ft width each and resp. 75,65 and 80 feet long
(perpendicular to the waterline) all had zero tar!
I also saw my first two nudist bathers, one sitting in the water
next to Captain Salivas' boat for hire for R 75 ...
I was tempted but instead boarded a glass-bottom boat and enjoyed
the very clear sights from 10:00-11:00 sitting next to an excited
Chinese-Vietnamese lady who was very interested in oceanography.
I pointed out that the seacucumbers which I had seen standing up
last night now were all lying down.
One reef channel was full of passing fish and tridacnas.

Morne Brabant
extreme southwest point
of Mauritius

(last) seacucumber (please read story)
bleached sea-anemone

Tridacna squamosa,
endemic to Mauritius

Acropora tabulata
Table Coral

There were numerous snaky-tentacled anemones,
extensive table coral but no fungia.
A German tourist was very busy filming, but
the Viet lady said she was working in the movie
business but now preferred to just look.
She invited me for a drink and introduced herself
as Phuong, living in Tokyo, recently divorced from
her French husband, with whom she and her family
had lived and visited all over the world.
All of this was in French, and to improve my
conversation I invited her along on an afternoon trip,
after I checked out of the hotel.

We went to the colored earth and erotic hills of Chamarel,
enjoyed the bird songs and the silence (alternatingly, I guess),
then went on through the mountains to the South Coast,
which did not have too many beaches.
Fuong bought a coconut for R 5, and we went for a swim.

Seven coloured earths, Chamarel

Chamarel geomorphs

I did some more profiles near the mouths
of some small rivers which were running rather brown:
three lanes of 5ft width and resp. 35,40 and 80 ft long
without a trace of tar! Perhaps because it lies behind an
offshore coralgal fringing reef?
Not so, apparently, because after I waded thtough the next river
and did a 120ft x 5ft profile in an exposed coastal section,
there was no tar either!
This was next to a cobble beach marked dangerous for swimming.

By now it was getting dark fast after a nice sunset,
some rain and a glorious rainbow. We were hungry, but sought
in vain for a Mauritian restaurant of which there were none,
so Phuong smuggled me back into the hotel after which we went
for a self-grill late dinner in Morne Brabant while watching
a dance performance of the famous Sega : dragging one foot, wiggle,
raise skirt, get on knees and crawl back sexily,
with a leading man who was French-Irish Creole.
I enjoyed the show, but Fuong look inscrutable and grandmotherly
even though she was only 35.
At 23:00 we went back to the hotel and sat on the deserted terrace
till well past midnight practicing French conversation.

Again, a wonderful day -
I loved Mauritius and contemplated becoming a planter
like the guy in "South Pacific" ... qui parlait Francais aussi...

"On October 30, 1964 occurred the famous " Night Of the Sega".
Held on Mt. Le Morne, it was a musical and theatrical happening which Mauritians still remember.
In some ways this happening was the official reinstatement of the sega and the first step towards
an awareness of Afro-Mauritian cultural identity.
Four years away from independence and cohabitating with Indian, Moslem, European, Chinese ethnic groups,
the Afro-Mauritian, so called Creole community felt the need to assert its identity through
a rediscovery and conservation of its roots.
On that night a sega contest was organised after which Ti Frere was crowned " King of sega"."

Scuba Diving in Mauritius - Beaches of Mauritius
Tridacna - Tridacna Species and Clam Culture
aquafauna photographs

BLO fecit 20090811 - Index of 1978 Tour