Ile-aux-Cerfs, Deer Island

Despite what the name suggests, there were no deers on Ile-aux-Cerfs, however there were many sea urchins, sarongs and views.

Bloody awesome captain
Bloody awesome captain.

We awoke early enough to meet Vijay on the beach and from there he drove us to meet the rest of our party who were 2 couples, one German and one French, we had a feeling we were paired with them because we speak both French and English and the German couple’s English was amazing.

The journey to the port (or pontoon) was about an hour long down to the south-east of the island which gave us lots of the island to marvel at as it whizzed by. When we arrived at the pontoon, we were introduced to our captain who lumbered us onto his speed boat where he started pumping out Backstreet Boys and Sean Paul, and at that moment, I knew it was going to be a great, great day.

The two halves of the island.
The two halves of the island.

We arrived at Ile-aux-Cerfs when the tide was down, walked through a couple of stalls and then onto the island. It is split into two halved with a lagoon in the middle which you can walk across at low time, the bigger half has only one house on it which takes up a small proportion of land. There is also a small obstacle course, an inflatable raft point and a small bar, but really the whole place is very quiet and you can feel very at peace and alone very quickly and it’s just perfect.

While the tide was low we walked to the smaller part of the island which was full of wildlife and palm trees, and then back onto the bigger half where we explored some more, climbing over lots of coral and rocks and tripped over tree roots a lot. After a while we vegetated towards the vast lagoon, you could walk out into the sea for about 5 minutes and still the water wouldn’t be touching your knees, and at that distance you could take in the views of the mountains on the mainland. We came back to the beach where we had a beer/cocktail and gazed at our surroundings.

View of the mountains from the lagoon.
View of the mountains from the lagoon.

We then got back onto the speedboat where he took us to the most western point of the island which we couldn’t get to by foot for our lunch. We were directed towards a table and chairs on the beach next to a barbecue built on rocks. For our meal we had marlin steak (yay!), salad, pheonix, and for desert we had banane flambée au rhum (which was strangely refreshing). It was really nice sitting down to a meal with strangers, kind of like how the Narrator talked about single-serving friends in ‘Fight Club’, we swapped stories, broke bread, the German couple were in fact on their honeymoon and booked the trip 10 days before so we definitely toasted to that, there was also another party close by and one of them had a guitar and loved the Gipsy Kings. After taking a few pictures we then got back onto 20140616_142502the boat and went round back towards a quieter part of the mainland to the Grand River South East Waterfalls which marks the end of the longest river of Mauritius where we also saw monkeys! We were pretty disappointed not to have seen any during our visit to the Shivatree Temple so seeing them scrambling over branches of trees was awesome, and they were mega cute.

MONKEYS!
MONKEYS! They’re there I promise…

It started raining so we went back in between the rocky cliffs to the pontoon where our lovely French couple from Toulouse went back to the airport, as this was the last stop on their tour of the island, and we sleepily headed back to Trou Aux Biches.

When we got back we went for a walk, had dinner and this night for some reason we were served the most amazing rich and fresh salads so we went slightly overboard, had a Mojito served by Nitesh who was our favourite barman, danced, and headed back for an episode of GOT.

 

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Going back to his roots…

After a slow morning and taking time over a light breakfast, Gladys, Claude and Melissa (Loums’ aunt, uncle and cousin, you may remember them from a few posts ago), picked us up and we drove across the sugar cane fields and through the mountains to Goodlands, where the base of the family lies at his grandmother’s home. She lives almost in the centre of Goodlands, the main street of which was a very long main road filled with grocery stores, clothes shops, mobile food stands, so the smell of the place was filled with fried breadcrumbs and nuts. One of his mother’s younger brother’s Jean-Noel and his wife Leticia, built their home adjoining to Loums’ grandmother to expand the hub of family life.

Salade de tomates
Salade de tomates

We stayed at theirs for a while, talking over a cool bottle of Pheonix and little samosas. His grandmother then entered the room to announce that it was time for lunch. She had pickled mangos and made Cari au Poulet, very similar to the one we ate at Eureka the week before, salade de tomates with rotis and rice. As grandmothers do, she insisted that we had eaten too little after we took time to pause, so we ended up eating far too much. When she saw that we were fading slightly, we chuckled and cleared our plates, had a little walk around and started to play many rounds of dominoes.

Cari au poulet with rotis.
Cari au poulet with rotis.

Her brother Lewis, who Loums was very anxious to see again arrived, he was a wonderful man who insisted that she fix the holes in her ceilings as during monsoon season it lets all the water in, to which his grandmother said that due to the heat, when the water evaporates it creates a lovely atmosphere in the house! We looked onto this debate (I tried to understand as much as possible) which ended with a big hug and kisses all round and words of “you’ll never change”. Florence, Loums’ aunt then arrived before she went to church, while she and Loums caught up, I carried on playing dominoes with Melissa and granny, who were very patient with me whilst I learnt the rules.

Gladys arrived at around to pick us up to take us on a slow drive home so we could take in all the views. It was wonderful to be welcomed into their family without hesitation, and it reminded me of how my own family are when we reunite in Cornwall. When we arrived back, we went for a walk along the beach which we definitely needed after that lunch! The walk seemed to do the trick, and along the way I found some spices and little souvenirs for my sisters.

We then had an appéro by the sea, had a light yet very tasty dinner which is very easy with Mauritian food! The moon was especially huge that evening so we went back down to the sea before going up to bed. Another end to a day full of laughter and with Loums’ family.

 

Loums' vivacious, warm and wise grandmother.
Loums’ vivacious, warm and wise grandmother with her brother Lewis.