We arrived in Mauritius three days before the ship was scheduled to depart. Our original flight had to be rescheduled due to problems with the shipping company. The R/V Knorr was to leave port in the Seychelles before our flight arrived. We decided to meet the ship in Mauritius, the final destination of the cargo (scientific equipment including the ROV Jason) that was rerouted. We stayed at the Sofitel. To the right is a picture of the pond at the entrance of the hotel.
We spent the next few days on the beach and by the pool. They were the last days we would spend on land for about 5 weeks. This is the Sofitel’s pool. Not bad.
While on Mauritius, we hired a taxi to take us on a tour of the island. One of our stops was Port Louis. This picture was actually taken from the Knorr while we were still in port.
The recent boom of tourism dollars had stimulated the economy of Mauritius. Most of the island is covered with sugar cane. Until recently, sugar cane and textiles were the largest industries on Mauritius.
We did a lot of snorkeling on this lagoon. Our hotel is just to the left of this picture. The lagoon is very shallow, about 2-4 feet deep. On the other side of the reef it drops off to about 20 feet. We ventured out past the reef a couple of times, but we spent most of our time in these chairs and in the lagoon.
The hotel is extravagant, as you can see. The price of a room here was a little over 20 days wages for the average Mauritian. This would explain the boost their economy gets from tourism.
About 70% of Mauritians are of Indian descent. Everyone on the island speaks 5 languages. English is the legal language (Mauritius used to be a British colony). In school, all children learn English, French and German. They also all learn their native religious language such as Hindi. In addition to these, the unofficial language that most speak at home is an African dialect. This diversity of languages makes Mauritius an ideal European tourist haven.
On our excursion around the island, we visited the botanical gardens. They really were beautiful. For two Mauritian rupees, you can hire a guide to take you through the gardens. That amounted to about 34 cents or so (in 2001).
These are African lillies. The are about two feet in diameter.
The Indian Ocean Cruise 2001: At Sea
(where I first met Dr. Cavanaugh)
Tools of the trade: Medea and Jason. Jason has now been replaced by Jason II.
Jason goes over the side. He’ll be down for about 48 hours this time. That means I man the data logging station from 8-12 am and pm. This was by far the best shift, except that it meant that we were free to refit the elevator from 12-8.
The elevator. We used this contraption to lower equipment and to raise samples to and from Jason. Theoretically, this allowed us keep up operations for days. We lost one of these in 20ft seas to the tune of around $80,000 for the elevator and cargo.