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.

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