One of the many great things about being a Marine Educator is that sometimes you get asked to cover someone’s vacation. When that someone lives in Mauritius you don’t think about it too much and just say yes. I’m normally based in Seychelles so my life is pretty much filled to the brim with tropical marine paradise but you can never have too much as they say!
The most frequent question I’ve had since I’ve arrived is ‘how does Mauritius compare to Seychelles?’ To be honest it’s been a really tricky question and it depends what you’re comparing. The most obvious difference is size. Mauritius is just over 2000 km2 in area whilst the whole of Seychelles (all 115 islands) is 459 km2 with Mahé (the largest island) being a mere 157 km2. Size isn’t everything of course but it really is quite noticeable. More people, more roads (even a motorway), more resorts, more shops, more nightlife, more activities. However, both are tropical islands in the Indian ocean so there’s the familiarity of lush landscapes (although swapping granitic landscapes for volcanic), palm trees, beautiful beaches and the island lifestyle and island mentality is remarkably similar.
What about the marine life? Again, there are similarities and differences. The reef fish are broadly similar but with some differences in abundance of specific species. You don’t see as much mega-fauna on the sites we snorkel on in Mauritius as we do in Seychelles but that is more than made up for in other ways. The reef in Mauritius is jam packed with large schools of damselfish and other reef fish alongside some super coral – perfect for a self confessed coral geek like me!
However, for me the most exciting thing has been snorkelling in the mangroves around Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita. There are mangroves in Seychelles but for whatever reason I haven’t explored them much. Here, we take guests out around the mangroves and I’ve just been wowed with the diversity of interesting marine life. It’s like a treasure hunt. Every time you go out there you never know what you’re going to find and you need to look in all the nooks and crannies to find the best stuff. I’ve become slightly obsessed with cowrie shells (it’s not quite taken over my obsession with clams but it’s close!), seen so many moral eels, and seen my first seahorse. Sadly I didn’t have a camera on me at the time but trust me – I saw a seahorse!
It’s been a great adventure, seeing great things and meeting great new people and all this has actually been my job!