Saturday, August 22, 2015

still more Mauritius Aug 2015

We got all ready to go to Madagascar.  We took down the genoa and put up the twin jibs in our 'twizzler' formation so we could go dead downwind to Isle Saint Marie, an island off the east coast of Madagascar, where we planned to clear in.  Then we got notice that the marina in Reunion was opening in a few days and decided to wait two more days and arrive in Reunion when the first visiting yachts were allowed.

Down came the twins .  We have two dinghies taking up most of the space on the foredeck and the sails need a lot of room to get them to fold up nicely so we can store them in their sail bags.

Anyway, we had a couple more free days in Mauritius, but little money left.  We try to spend every last coin just before we go.  Luckily, the supermarkets here take credit cards. I hit the market again for meats and a few fresh things and decided to take a few more photos.  I wandered around the street markets snapping shots so thought I'd post them here for you to see, too.

We went to dinner at an expensive Chinese restaurant with the man who'd been the Port Captain in Rodrigues, and his wife.  Three other cruising couples that had been in Rodrigues with us joined our group.  The port captain is now back here in Mauritius, driving the biggest tug boat here in the harbour in Port Louis.  His was only a temporary relocation to Rodrigues until they could find a permanent Port Captain that would live and work there, which they have now done.
 A view of the market from the second floor. They make such nice displays of their fruits and veges in stacked heaps.  I went to grab a few onions from one such display and the guy about had a heart attack.  He waved me off and scolded me that the whole heap would fall down if I plucked out the onions from the  pile. He had to pick the ones he sold me from behind his elevated  position.  I like picking my own and won't go back to him again.  He got snooty when I wanted just a small piece of fresh ginger; his were all huge hunks of the stuff and I just don't use it enough.  He refused to break a big piece in half and after showing me a bunch of different ones. I told him to go back to the first one.  He wasn't happy, so I won't give him my business anymore.
 Another shot from above.  Such colorful offerings.  I still don't know all the greens that I see.
 The hustle and bustle of the produce market in Port Louis.  It is in a huge old stone building and you can see the cobblestone floors.
 YOLO is tied up in front of this yacht.  The tour buses come along and park on the sidewalk next to us as we are at the far end of the quay.  People take pictures and gawk and talk about the boat all day long.  So far, we haven't had to shoo them off the boat, but have seen them jumping on unattended yachts to take photos. Sorry about the partial ugly sign on the left of my shot here.
 Words have such different meanings in different parts of the world.  This is a pedestrian crossing on a speed bump.
 The back side of the quay where we are tied up.  Not much tourist traffic on this side, as all the shops open to the other side.
 An stone building that stands mostly unused now.  Nice stone work; a shame to see it sit empty in such a prime spot just outside the quay.
 Folks sell just about anything on the streets here.  Just lay down an old rice bag or blanket and throw the clothes, shoes, toys or whatever on it and start shouting what it is and/or how much it costs.  Locals actually but a lot of things this way.
 Even underwear is a big seller on the streets.  I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable buying bras and underpants on the street.  Hawkers have the street edges and walkways packed until mid-afternoon.  If they are illegal ones, they pretend to pack their stuff away as the cops come by but then put it all back out as soon as they leave.
 One guy sells these Spiderman window walker toys that stick to the windows and then let go and seem to crawl down the smooth surface.  He chants the first few bars of the Spiderman theme song all day, every day as he throws the sticky toys against these glass partitions.
 Not much room left for pedestrians on the sidewalks, so folks walk in the streets.
 If you can't find it on the streets here, you probably won't find it.  If it's clothes or household goods.  They all get packed up in cardboard boxes and put into vans at the end of the day.
 More street market shots in Port Louis, Mauritius.  They seem to go on forever, down little lanes covered in tarps.
 Need a pan for cooking large quantities of rice?  Metal utensils?  Colanders?  Anything made of plastic?
 Even produce gets sold on the street corners by hawkers.  Lettuce, mangoes, eggplant, pineapples, etc.  Huge woven reed baskets are just piled with the offerings and when the day is done, they are just put into a truck and driven away til the next day.  Packing and display material is one and the same.
 The entrance to the casino on the Marina Quay boardwalk in La Caudan Waterfront.  The large golden lion is on the bowsprit of a ship front for the entry.
 This woman has a removable veil to shield her face.  Usually, they are part of the entire burka outfit.

 A fresh fruit juice stand on the walkway.  Coconuts, pomegranates, bananas, apples, oranges, pineapple, etc. can be custom juiced for your pleasure.
 More of the Rasta man's wood carvings.  The artist is a grey-haired guy with the red/yellow/green hat on his dreadlocks and chips and carves away here some days to make these faces and fellows.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Botanical Gardens, Pamplemousses, Mauritius Aug 2015

We're still in Mauritius.  Pamplemousses is the city where the Botanical Gardens are.  It's midway between Grand Baie where we are anchored and Port Louis, the capital.  We took the bus and it let us off just a few blocks from the entrance. Pamplemousses is also the name for the giant grapefruits that were so popular in the Marquesas Islands in the Pacific.  It's the French word for grapefruit, but here they have normal grapefruit and the pamplemousse.

Here I am at a stand of giant bamboo. inside the Botanical Gardens.  A selfie.
A lily pond with green water.  Lots of things growing in here.  And we heard croaking of frogs!
 Yep, the little frogs were hanging out in the lily pond, sitting on the lily pads or swimming to the edge to say hello like this little guy.
 More big bamboo.
 Some cool curly-Q roots on a tree.
 A water hen near the water where there was a big school of koi swimming.  Colorful bird.
 These giant lily pads are a highlight of these botanical gardens.  They are Victoria amazonica, if you are into species, and they can grow to a meter in diameter.  These are about that big.  Very unusual.
 The flowers and new lily pads grow up from the bottom.  You can see a blossom and some new buds coming up through the green plants that surround them.
 A pure white blossom in the background and the newer lily pads in front.
 These look like Alice in Wonderland kiddie ride boats.  Huge platters turned up at the edges.
 Myra checking out the spiky-looking pink undersides.  Yes, the spikes are sharp!
 A large grouping of these amazning plants in this one place.
 Looks like a calendar shot.
 Many of them are heart-shaped and look so romantic.
 A new lily pad unrolling itself as it grows.  You can see the spikes on the pink underside of this one.
Looking back down the length of the lily pond.
 Jason in front of a talipot palm, another unique plant here.  They can grow to huge heights, but they only blossom and bloom once in 60-100 years and then they die.
 An old ruin on the grounds of the gardens,
 Some colorful flowers growing on the old ruin above.   Sort of like an ivy-covered cottage that nature has reclaimed.
 Some gnarly roots stand up out of the ground on these trees.
 Another view of a talipot palm
 A stand of golden bamboo in a patch of sunlight.
 The golden bamboo without the couple in the shot.
 This is a massive tree that would be over a hundred years old.  The gardens were started 300 years ago.  What forethought!
 Some funky looking nuts hanging from some kind of palm.
 The dark spots are golden fruit bats/flying foxes hanging out in the treetops here in the gardens.
 A jackfruit tree.  These huge fruits grow bigger than a baby and they have a sweet creamy yellow flesh around hundreds of giant seeds.
 A very, very large baobab tree.  This one looks like several grew together from the get-go.  That is Myra standing in front of it to give you some scale.
 Getting closer to the baobab.  We couldn't get the whole tree in a shot.
 Karen at the giant baobab tree.
 A much smaller baobab in the background here.
 No, it's not a dead rat or frog on a stick.  Jason is holding a seedpod from a baobab tree.  They have a velvety exterior and the sign claims you can eat the insides to make lemonade-like drinks.

 Shiny, smooth bark made these huge trees stand out in the light.
Back on YOLO, the sugarcane has been burning and the ash is falling on the boat.  The stuff is very light and carries a long way in a faint breeze.  We don't see or smell the smoke usually.  Here, the wind is blocked by the rest of the boat and the ash falls onto the steps of the transom.
 On the shore at Grand Baie, this catamaran was towed onto the beach.  Doesn't really look like there is much to salvage, but it sat there for weeks and was still there when we left to go back to Port Louis.
 Looking at the cat from the beach side.  A few nice cleats still on it, but most everything has been stripped off.
 The back end of the cat.  The engines are corroded by the salt water they were obviously submerged in.  This looks like it has been tumbled on a reef and started to break up.  We never heard its story or why it was now on the beach.
 The dinghy landing at the Coast Guard station in Grand Baie.  This is where we tied up our dinks to go ashore.  The pontoon doesn't reach all the way to the shore, so we had to step off and into the water to get to shore the last ten feet or so.   At low tide, it was ok, but at high tide, we had to roll up our shorts and be very careful climbing off and on the end; otherwise, we'd end up with soggy clothes.  The Coast Guard dinghy needs some repair and attention, but they drove it around for over a week like that before they finally got it to hold air.
A rainbow over the boats in Grand Baie.
 Back in Port Louis, we found a space on the wall in the marina.  This IS the marina.  Many folks raft up to another yacht as there is very little space here.  The boat center right, in front of the motor yacht, is Saol Eile, our Irish friends.
 The view back out the channel from our place on the wall where we are tied up.  That is a big bulk sugar terminal across the channel.  Mauritius is a top sugar exporter.
 The corner of the Marina Quay building.  Once upon a time, it was said there was a guard here that monitored the marina security from the turret, with a gun.  I'm not sure that's true; Security here is really pretty lax and we've seen tourists hop onto the big fancy boats to take pictures on them.
 Dawn and calm waters in the marina.  Looking back towards town from YOLO.
Another view of the marina on a calm morning. Saol Eile is reflected nicely in the placid waters.

Karen next to YOLO in La Caudan Marina, Port Louis, Mauritius.

 The boat in front of us.  Hona Lee lost its propeller along the way here from Rodrigues and is stuck here til they get a new one.  He's dealing with his insurance company in the UK and it's not a quick process.

 Looking across the harbor towards the sugar terminal.  The water is only this calm at night or very early morning.  Then the winds and boat traffic pick up and we get the wash and wake and spring back and forth on our lines at the wall.