Surprise, guess who’s back. This is Anna blogging from Mauritius, I was lucky to be selected in the Part 2 of the internship program. So, day 4 a Sunday was spent touring the south of Mauritius whilst the Day 2 was spent touring the North. For those who have never been to Mauritius, the south is quite untouched with national parks, holy sites and waterfalls.
First stop, we visited the Mare aux Vacoas Reservoir – a giant lake stretching across the scene, located in the southwest of Mauritius, it has the capacity of holding 25.89 million m³. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see it in its full glory due to the dry season. I’m sure you’re wondering how this is connected to the blue economy, water is important for all households and businesses so it helps run those who are part of the blue economy; for example providing water for research labs. Subtly, it also reduces marine debris, as the Mauritian water system is potable and SYAH Mauritius has been promoting drinking tap water to reduce the use of plastic bottles which makes up the majority of marine debris.
Boarding the bus, we were greeted with the site of a giant, shining statue. We have arrived at Ganga Taloa, a holy site for the Hindus. That 33 metre statue towering above us was Shiva – the supreme god in the Hindu religion. After craning our necks to stare at the copper statue, we boarded the bus and went to the Grand Bassin, a lake in the Ganga Taloa where Hindus go on a pilgrimage. The first step out of the bus makes it clear the site is a holy one; despite the tourists it is a quiet and peaceful place. Even the monkeys were quiet, no, I was not referring to our interns – there were ACTUAL monkeys. It presents an important part of the blue economy sector – CULTURE, something I did not think of before. The Hindus light candles and throw offerings into the lake, a busy time especially for the New Year. However, there has been controversy on the topic as some of the offerings are not biodegradable and thus forms part of the marine debris.
Next stop, we arrived for lunch at Alexandra Falls with a breath-taking view of the north side of Mauritius. Where some interns got in touch with their monkey side and decided to climb the tree, I’m sure you’ve seen some pictures. We also visited the viewpoint from the Black River Gorges National Park, where you can see the peaks of the Mauritian mountains and Alexandra Falls, there it feels like the world is at your feet. Though, it was a sad sight to see such a touristic place marred by the overflowing rubbish bins.
Last stop for the day, was passing by the salt fields near Tamarin Beach. Making salt is also part of the Blue Economy as it is made from sea water. So, as you can see folks, there are many unknown parts of the Blue Economy that I learned and I hope you have as well.