– Mauritius –
2005 – We just spent a week on the tiny African island of Mauritius,
which is located in the Indian Ocean, 550 miles east of Madagascar.
Mauritius, with a population of
1.2 million, is about the size of Washington, DC. The main source of
revenue for the islanders is sugarcane and tourism. We were
not visiting as regular tourists. My husband had traveled to Mauritius
with a dozen other scientists from around the world (USA, Monaco,
Russia, Australia and Japan) to investigate submarine
groundwater discharge in a basaltic coastal zone. While
they all worked, I explored the island and took lots of photographs.
is a humid tropical
island. Right now it's the rainy season in Mauritius, very hot and
very wet. We never saw a single sunny day. Near the end of our visit
a tropical cyclone. Our bungalow was right by the
beach so we had a ringside seat for the storm. Fortunately "Hennie"
was a relatively weak system, however she closed the airport and brought
the country to a complete halt. Over a foot of rain fell on some areas
If Hennie had struck a day later, we probably would have missed our
I spent a great deal of time at the Royal
Botanical Garden – impressive for its many speciman plants, including
of giant Amazon waterlilies, which you can see below. Other species
of tropical waterlilies flourish at the botanical garden, along with
countless varieties of
palms, ferns and exotic plants I couldn't begin to identify.
The people of Mauritius were friendly enough,
but it was the flora and fauna that stole the show. One day I traveled
upland to see an enormous, and scenic, tea plantation. (Mauritius is
famous for its vanilla tea.) Over the next few days I visited the island's
largest and most famous Hindu shrine, saw some beautiful deer (species
unknown) and witnessed giant tortoises
in the throes of passion. The birds of Mauritius
were colorful, but they couldn't compete with the amazing range of
colors found in the hybrid hibiscus bushes that pepper the island.
Below are some favorite views of Mauritius...
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