Mauritius Monochromes

5th to 9th October 2015. Mauritius.

The images that follow are monochrome conversions of colour images that appeared in the four previous posts covering my recent visit to Mauritius.  The images are in chronological order.  Click on a link below an image for the post containing the colour version of that image and other contextual and historical information.  If there is no link with the image, look for the last link in the preceding images.  Similarly, if there is no label the previous one applies.

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Architecture, Black and White, Fishing boat, Flowers, History, Isle aux Aigrettes, Landscape, Mahebourg, Mauritius, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Wildlife
Mahebourg.

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Vieux Grand Port.

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East Coast.

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The point of no return.

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South coast, near Souillac.

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La Roche qui Pluere.

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Mahebourg.

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Sugar mill, Bras d’eau National Park.

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Far north of the island.

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Notre Dame Auxiliatrice Chapel.

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Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens.

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Mahebourg.

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Mahebourg Harbour.

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Pink pigeon, Ile aux Aigrettes.

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Dodo (frozen in time).

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Black-spined flying fox.

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Near Ile aux Aigrettes.

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Grand Bassin.

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Black River Gorges National Park.

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Chamarel Waterfall.

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Seven Coloured Earths.

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Aldabra giant tortoise.

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Black River Gorges National Park

9th October 2015. Black River Gorges National Park, Mauritius.

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From Ile aux Aigrettes, I stopped off at the nearby Blue Bay.

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This is my route for the day, including Ile aux Aigrettes in the previous post.

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I visited a Hindu temple at Grand Bassin.

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There is a festival here attended by 500,000 people for several days during February or March, the largest Hindu festival outside India.

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Here is a view in the National Park, looking south towards the coast.

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Chamarel Waterfall.

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Seven Coloured Earths.

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These are natural exposed rock strata.

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And also a few Aldabra giant tortoises at the Coloured Earths.

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Ile aux Aigrettes

9th October 2015. Mahebourg and Ile aux Aigrettes, Mauritius.

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I woke up early and wandered down to the Mahebourg waterfront at dawn.

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A couple of cottages in the streets on the way back.

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Later in the morning I had an appointment at the Ile aux Aigrettes, just offshore from Mahebourg.   I probably took this from the boat on the way over.  In a different era one might have wondered whether Bob Marley was on board.  Even a skull and crossbones at the stern.

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The Ile aux Aigrettes is the Island of Egrets but the Egrets are long gone.  Edith Piaf lived a life with no egrets (“je ne egrette rien”) so maybe she would have liked it here.

The island is a nature reserve, sheltering the remnants of Mauritius’s wildlife.  There were a couple of species of giant tortoise on Mauritius but they have been extinct for centuries.  This is an Aldabra giant tortoise.

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The rare pink pigeon.

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Telfair’s Skink (surviving in the wild only on the small Round Island off Mauritius)

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Day gecko.

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The dodo is commonly thought to be extinct but I was lucky enough to encounter one.

This is the rare brass subspecies, known for the slowness of their movements.

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Black-spined flying fox.

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I was waiting on the wharf for the return journey to the mainland.  A couple of boats sped past.

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Looking past the edge of the island to waves breaking on the distant reef.

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It looks as though Bob Marley may have a speedboat as well

(though the name is not so clear unless you click on the image to expand it).

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My lift to the mainland is going back to the island.

I had paid a little extra for a personal tour, and my guide (whose name I now forget) is on the left.

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Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden

8th October 2015. Mauritius.

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This is Notre Dame Auxiliatrice Chapel, on the very northern point of Mauritius.  A wedding photography event was happening.

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Here is the quiet coastline behind the church.

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I headed south to Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden, named after the first Prime Minister of an independent Mauritius.  Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport is not the same place and their botanical inspection zone is called “the runway” and access can sometimes be hazardous.

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This is the runway at the Botanical Gardens.  More suited to drones than 747s.

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What mainly caught my eye though were plants in ponds….

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A few more images of an Aldabra giant tortoise, from the island of Aldabra in the Seychelles.  The only surviving species of Indian Ocean giant tortoise, they live over 200 years.

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Mauritius – East Coast

8th October 2015. Mauritius.

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This is around the time of dawn, looking across the street from the window of my room in Mahebourg.

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My route was as intended for the previous day.  The map applies to both posts for the day.  Up the east coast and then back inland.

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Early in the morning I headed off to get some cash from an ATM and here are a couple of shots from the centre of town.

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People on the beach or fishing, just north of Mahebourg.

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I stopped again for a few images at Vieux Grand Porte.

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This one and the next two though, are further north at Bras d’eau National Park.

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These buildings are the remains of a sugar mill.

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There is not much left of the original ecology of Mauritius.  This national park is a rare pocket of forest that still has a few ebony trees and some smaller but still rare wildlife.

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We are now near the northern tip of the island, at or close to Grand Gaube.  The traditional boats are charming but much of the coast of the island in the north, is dominated by resorts.  They commonly take up large areas and try to prevent non-paying people accessing beaches and coastline.  Not peculiar to Mauritius, of course.  I saw some toxic examples in Hawaii, for example.  This is a modern form of economic colonisation (and applies as much to Hawaii which was after all, seized by force in the 1890s).  Given the extent of transfer pricing by multinationals, as revealed in the Panama Papers, it may be questionable how much Mauritius benefits economically.  Personally, I’d never stay in one unless there was no alternative.  What’s the point of visiting another country and not experiencing its culture or meeting its people?

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A bit further on, very close to the northern tip of the island, I came across some wind surfers.

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Takeoff!

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Mauritius – South Coast

6th to 7th October 2015. Mauritius.

The last post was the last monochrome lighthouse post which also finishes a burst of fifteen monochrome posts on lighthouses and on Iceland.  So now I return to posting on my 2015 journey to Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar, Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island and Atacama Desert.  For details and links of the whole journey, see the itinerary, which I shall update as I post.  This is the first post, of my first full day in Mauritius.

 

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I had a long flight, from Canberra via Melbourne and a long stop on Kuala Lumpur, and arrived late in the afternoon at Mahebourg, the old capital, where I was staying.  This is down at the waterfront probably just after sunset.  There was a group of men nearby sitting round a table playing rummy.

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This is a map of my travels for the next day.  I went up the east coast but my way was blocked so I doubled back and drove along the south coast, then came back inland.

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Soon after I left in the morning, this is the remains of Vieux Grande Port, the site of the original Dutch Fort from the first settlement on the island.  The ruined buildings we see though are actually French, from a later date.

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The original Dutch fort was built in 1638, a simple defence work surrounded by earthen walls and a pallisade.  It had to be rebuilt each year after the cyclone season.  The fort burned down several times, including in 1694 by maroons, or escaped slaves.

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The remains of a Dutch lodge built by the commander Diodati in 1698 lie under the later French lodge.  The Dutch abandoned Mauritius in 1710 and burned down the fort before they sailed away.

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The French arrived five years later and named the island Isle de France.  The French buildings we see here were built between 1753 and the end of the eighteenth century.  The fort was abandoned in 1805 and much of the stone used in the construction of Mahebourg.

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Explorer Matthew Flinders stopped off in Mauritius in 1803 as his ship needed repair but France and Britain were at war and he was interned.  In 1810 the French won a naval battle near here but the British successfully invaded three months later.  Flinders was influential in persuading the new administration to allow the inhabitants to retain French language and law.  Consequently, Mauritian Creole (derived mainly from French) is the main language and French is more widely spoken than English.  The British also conquered nearby Reunion in 1810 but in 1815 they gave back Reunion to the French while retaining Mauritius.

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A wharf just north of Vieux Grande Port.

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It was not possible to go for a sail in this boat as there was no-one around to ask.

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One of a couple of cannon at Pointe du Diable, part of a battery presumably dating from the Napoleonic Wars.

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Driving up the east coast, this was as far as I got.  A power pole had fallen over the road.  No one was going to get through for some hours.  Already the traffic was backed up.  Where my car was there was no turning area off the paved road but I was driving a very small car and able to do a U-turn.  Not so easy for most of the others.

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Much later, we are now on the south coast near Souillac.

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I also had an excellent lunch at a restaurant near here.

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Also nearby is La Roche qui Pluere, where the water from the receding waves give the appearance of tears.

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There is also a natural rock formation here, said to resemble the poet Robert Edward Hart, who spent his last years at Souillac.

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This is a section of the south coast, somewhere not far before Le Morne.

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And in the distance we see the monolithic peninsula of Le Morne.  This was a haven for runaway slaves up to the early nineteenth century.  When slavery was abolished in 1835, a contingent of Police headed there to tell the slaves they were free.  However, their intention was misunderstood and many threw themselves over the cliffs to avoid being captured.

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Considerably further north on the coast, this is the beach of Flic en Flac and le Morne is still visible in the distance.

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A tree in an old cemetery at Flic en Flac in the late afternoon light.  The cemetery was closed though, so I was unable to go in.

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Mauritius

6th to 10th October 2015

I’m in Madagascar now and actually have a viable internet connection tonight.  I nearly had this post ready to go a week ago but ran out of time.  Here are some images from Mauritius.  Not much time tonight.  Probably have to get up about 4am to catch a plane….

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Giant Aldabra Tortoise.

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(Images only.  Next post may be some time….)