I’ve been lucky enough to have been working for WiseOceans at Four Seasons Resort Seychelles for 9 months now and I’m still loving it, but when I was asked to go cover our Marine Educator Jo in Mauritius for a month while she went on leave I jumped at the chance. It’s always great to visit a new country, meet some new people, see a new reef and I was also keen to experience WiseOceans life and work in a different Four Seasons Resort. I heard a lot of good things about Mauritius before I left and it didn’t disappoint. I found the people I met very friendly if maybe a little competitive with Seychelles! There was a common question I regularly got asked, “which do you prefer Seychelles or Mauritius?”. Honestly I couldn’t choose, for two tropical islands they are very different places. For a start Mauritius is 1,755km further South which makes a significant different to the temperature (especially if you’ve become used to a pretty much steady 30° C!) and then there is the size difference, being used to compact Seychelles, I was a little overwhelmed to find myself on an island with many towns, dramatic large mountain ranges and even larger shopping malls! But they are both incredibly beautiful places. In Mauritius the fringing reef is far enough offshore to create a shallow lagoon between land and reef, and it was great to explore this during my stay. Although the windy winter weather didn’t allow me many trips, I loved the times I did make it out to the reef. A 20 minute speed boat ride away, still inside the lagoon is a beautifully bright patch reef called Eau Bleu where we take our snorkelling guests. The few more degrees south, cooler waters and the ‘well-timed’ cyclone Fantala collectively lessened the impact of the global coral bleaching event and it was great to see some healthy corals and lots of the small reef fish (like damselfish and anemone fish) which live inside the lagoon.
Besides the new reef and great people the highlight of my time in Mauritius was definitely our World Oceans Day celebrations. World Oceans Day is an international celebration of our oceans, all the important services they provide us with, and brilliant life they hold. So a great opportunity for us to put on some fun activities, spread awareness and a lot of ocean love. We had a jam-packed day of marine fun in Mauritius, starting with a visit from students of the local GRSE Government School. After a shuttle ride over to Ile aux Cerf just across from the Resort, we spent the morning with a great group of students (and staff) learning about coral reefs and food chains in coral reefs. What better way to do this than by making our own fish masks and having a food chain game on the beach! Back at Four Seasons Resort at Anahita we had prepared a special World Oceans Day staff quiz which we ran at lunchtime and it was great fun to see people getting stuck in and quite competitive at the chance to win lunch for two and of course a guided snorkel with our Marine Educator Jo. The fun and activities didn’t stop there, we also took Resort guests on a complimentary guided snorkel through the beautiful mangroves that lie next to the Resort. The waters are a bit refreshing now winter has set in, but we still had a great tour, swimming between the islands of trees, looking through the branches to see what could be hiding inside. Our guests loved seeing the beautiful little white eyed eels, feather worms and lots of little juvenile fish hiding amongst the rocks, roots and small coral colonies. Then to top off a great day we had a marine movie night, showing a local documentary about the lagoons in Mauritius – Vey Nou Lagon (Living the Ocean).
I know our team in Seychelles also had a fun and full day, with school visits, snorkels and staff movie nights. We all loved our World Oceans Day celebrations and hope you did too!