“ Cruising around the coastline on a luxury 42 ft catamaran. „
I had the occasion, yes, I really mean occasion, to enjoy a catamaran trip from Mauritius Island to Ilot Gabriel. I am not an adventurous person, I prefer the luxury of a comfy room to that of the open, and that could be also because I am such a clumsy person.
Well it all started on a Saturday morning precisely, at 07h30 a.m, our little group was to meet at the minivan from the center of the island, to Grand Baie and we had to reach there y 08h30, if not the catamaran would have to go later by one hour, something about the tide. What started as a windy sunny day turned to a windy rainy day.
So we all were there, rather excited and frightened, some of us having never been on anything aquatic before, we had some apprehension, "would I be sea sick, would I be going overboard? And obviously would there be cute guys around" lol.
When we reached there, we had to wait, until our group leader went to pay in advance the fare, after that we had to go on deck, there you had to take of your shoes and put them in a basket, guess to avoid the 'falling overboard' misadventure. Being afraid of heights isn't great when you have to climb onboard of a moving thing but yet I went over my fright and gripped at the hand of the crew member.
Inside it was really cosy with a little kitchenette above and a stairway leading downwards to the toilets, that I avoided going to, I don't really fancy going up and down in the loo, and next to it a bedroom with a good soft bed. The person in charge of the catamaran trip then summoned us to the front, for a reunion, and once again I fought like mad against my fright to go in front. The view was wonderful.
There before of us laid the vast sea, with the coast and the tiny little houses, the man explained the trip to us; that is that we would be in shallow waters first then entering a channel where the sea could get rough, he mentioned something about sea-illness that I kind of managed to forget. So we all sat on the deck, which had a huge net and listened as the catamaran thrummed to life.
The sensation of freedom was exhilarating, the weather as I previously mentioned was windy and sunny, and at first the sea was pale blue then gradually it shifted to dark blue, we had the luck of seeing flying fishes, that accompanied us a bit before leaving us to the afore mentioned channel. The catamaran rocked and went higher with the waves so much that I got the sensation of flying, and diving at the same time, by then I was already wet and there already were some cases of sea sickness.
Reaching the channel, the in-charge guy, asked us to go to the back where there were comfy seats because it was going to be rough and that after that it would be difficult to go backwards. So with some help from the crew we went to the back, there we were served with drinks, alcoholic and non alcoholic; from coca-cola to whisky, beer and wine.
From this position we could see the "Coin du Mire" which I think looked like a mountain in the middle of the ocean, we also saw the famous "Trou Madame" literally meaning 'woman's hole' sorry ;(. The waves carried us higher and higher but the sensation of being free never left me. Having finally gotten away from those dark seas we arrived by 10h15a.m to two islands, one private with a little creole type house on it and the 'Ilot Gabriel'. We went towards the island on little speedboats, and I felt the crystal water under my finger, it was pure pleasure
The sand was pure white, the sea was turquoise and finally the sun seemed to smile at us as the blue sky reflected itself in the lukewarm water, there were little kiosk and tons of tourists, while some when to take a dip in the inviting water, others like myself laid down under the sun for a bit of tanning, not that I need any lol.
By noon, our meal arrived, there was rice salad, lettuce. Chicken, pasta, fish, cucumber salad; and the desert flambéed banana, which was delicious, after having filled our starving stomachs, we went back to the catamaran for some snorkelling, there were lots of corals, coloured fishes and some junks, but it was fun.
Finally we had to leave Ilot Gabriel as a news report said the weather would be changing, we went back on the catamaran and some of the more adventurous decided to stay in front, the in-charge man told them that if they stayed now they would stay until we returned to Grand-Baie.
On our return route, the sea and the skies became grey almost black, and our little catamaran rocked from left to right, the water was cold and I immediately thought of those poor fishermen that usually make a living like this, we were all shivering as the air was filled with the same cold the water was sending on us, having eaten those that had been ill were a little better but in any case, it was very disturbing. We had a singer on board who sang typical sega to us whilst we tried to forget the rain and the sea splashing.
As we saw the coast we sighed in relief, those who had bravely wanted to stay in front came back, and I seriously would not recommend any one to do a brushing on a day like this, they were whiter than snow.
It was filled with a mixture of sadness and relief that I left the catamaran, sadness because I had really enjoyed the trip and relief because I was still alive lol. But in all it was a fairly good experience.
There are various places to explore on catamaran trips, here are some websites:
Thanks for the reading though it's a bit long lol
You have to know that one of the reasons I was eager to explore Mauritius is because along with being a shop alcoholic, I also happen to be completely addicted to the sea. There is nothing which will ever equal the sensation of being surrounded by open water during my catamaran cruises/ mini shipboard cruises in Mauritius. The first cruise I went to was a mini cruise around the North of the Island upon the M/S Mauritius Pride. That was when I fell in love with cruises and open water. It was an amazing experience- my very first experience at being surrounded by open water. We went back to dock at 4pm in the afternoon, and I have to admit that I felt a painful tug at my heart while leaving the ship. Which was why, to cheer me up, my friends organized another cruise for me, but this time, it would be quite different on a catamaran!
Did I mention that I do like the sensation of open water, but ONLY when I am safety aboard a huge ship like the M/S Mauritius Pride? I was apprehensive when we all decided to go on a catamaran cruise around the west coast of Mauritius; the coast which is reputed for both sharks (fortunately very rare) and dolphins. I've never been on a catamaran before but pictures of it did not really wash my fears away: a small square thingy with a few strands of rope preventing us from being projected into the water. My sense of adventure won, though, and in the end, I was glad that I went. The catamaran cruise, was even more memorable than my first cruise. If I enjoyed the sensation of open water upon the Mauritius Pride, then this one exceeded expectations!
We boarded at 9 at Black River. The weather was fantastic, lots of sun which was glittering off a turquoise sea...well, you get the picture! In fact, the catamaran trip gave me a marvellous opportunity to work on my tan, something which I was not able to do within the shelter of the M/S Mauritius Pride. The program for the day was thus: Sail towards a dolphin spot for some dolphin watching, snorkel and swim in high sea, a delicious barbecued lunch (of garlic bread, pasta salad and various barbecued meat, chicken and sausages) on board, and finally, the highlight of the day: Sail towards a magnificent coral rock formation in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Called "La Roche Corail" by locals, it is most definitely a sight to see! I enjoyed climbing on the rock and diving off it. It was certainly something out of a movie! The rock is found in front of another islet called 'Ile aux Benitiers'. We climbed into a smaller boat which was being tugged along by the catamaran and sailed towards the little island. I was astonished to see that despite the fact that no one lived on this island, there were some hawkers loitering around the white sand! After a chat with one of the hawkers (who was selling cinnamon and vanilla sticks), I learned that many of them boat from Mauritius to Ile aux Benitiers early morning, sell their stuff to tourists and then leave late afternoon. I also learned that they were the one who built some fantastic wooden shelters on the beach to protect both tourists and locals from the sometimes scorching sun. I have to say that all Mauritians are extremely friendly and polite. I really enjoyed chatting to these sellers, as well as some of the Mauritians on the catamaran trip. I also have to mention, that we did see quite a few dolphins that day! They are so amazingly fast that I was not able to get pictures, but I was quite disappointed by their lack of domesticity; I was expecting Flipper but instead got poor scared dolphins who kept jumping away from the approaching catamarans. I have to admit that at one point I felt extremely sorry for them! Lots of boats kept closing in on the poor dolphins and it were quite obvious how scared they were! Luckily though, they were fast and swift enough to cleverly give us the slip!
My favorite part of this trip was when it suddenly started to rain and rain and rain, and everyone rushed to the safety of the cabin, while I remained alone on deck. It was an extremely peaceful sensation: Despite being soaked to the skin, I remained standing on the slippery deck, watching the angry drops fall on the sea, and feeling the whipping wind on my face. For all the nature lovers out there, this is one experience that you cannot miss! Unfortunately, and Fortunately (for most of the group) , the rain stopped as quickly as it arrived. I guess that's why we call it a tropical island! At £24 for the whole day- food, drinks, snorkeling gear included, I personally believe that it was worth every penny!
I would describe it was a romantic, exhilarating and liberating experience. Liberating because nothing on earth can, according to me, equal to the sensation of being surrounded by open sea. I must give snaps to the Indian Ocean for the wonderful, amazing, out-of-this world, sometimes turquoise, sometimes deep blue water.
If you ever visit this wonderful island, I would highly advice you to go on at least one catamaran cruise in Mauritius! Completely worth it!
As you may or may not know, I was lucky enough to go on holiday to Mauritius for 2 weeks in November of last year. I knew when I was there that I was going to want to experience as much as I possibly could, as chances were that I would never go back. So when we were told about the opportunity of a Catamaran Day-Trip, I managed to convince my partner into going. I am glad that I did as we had a lovely day, and it is something I won't forget for a very long time!
What is a Catamaran you may ask? Well to be honest, I didn't actually know what a Catamaran was until I arrived at the beach and my sister in law pointed one out to me. It is basically a ship which consists of 2 hulls connected by a frame. They have been used for hundreds and hundreds of years, and are now very popular for sporting and leisure trips, such as the one I went on.
We managed to arrange this trip on one of our excursions to Grand Baie, one of the tourist areas in Mauritius. Several businessmen have licences to book these trips for tourists, and tend to come up to you on the beach to tell you about the excursions and activities that they offer. Our trip was arranged through the same man who booked our Underwater Walk trip (which I have also reviewed on this site!) so we knew he was reliable.
We were told that we had to book it a few days in advance, so that they could make sure the Catamaran was full to capacity for the trip. I think we booked it on a Wednesday and went on the trip the following Tuesday. We were told that the price for the day trip was going to be 1200 rupees. This is equivalent to about £20 which is quite good value considering what happened on the trip! He informed us the boat would be leaving at 8.30am from Grand Baie and to be on time!
Now, we were staying on the other side of the island so we had to get up at about 6am and catch the 6.30am bus to Grand Baie. The traffic was quite bad but we managed to make it to the beach by 8.30am. Just after 8.45 we were shown to a small glass-bottomed boat which would take us out to the Catamaran. We were only on the small boat for about 4 minutes. When we got there, we had to climb from one to the other, but we were all helped by 3 men who worked on the Catamaran. It was a bit wet and slippery but we all got on board safely! In total, there were 7 people from our family and about 6 others from another party, so the boat was quite full.
We all had to stow our bags and possessions below deck so that they would be safe while we were sailing, and then we took our seat. We chose to sit at a round circular seat as we had Harry, who was quite poorly with teething at the time, so we wanted to make sure he was quite safe. The other sat at the end of the Catamaran, with mats to lay on and being splashed by the sea. Soon after leaving we were offered a rum punch, coke or water to drink by the boat men. Music was also being played, and with the sun beating down on us, I felt really happy and looking forward to the day.
Then the sickness came. Before having Harry, I prided myself on being the only one on school trips to France who never got sick on the ferry, I often helped the teachers dole out the sick bags! But this time around I felt so ill, it just wasn't funny. I tried just closing my eyes for a while, but the boat men moved me to the end of the boat, where they splashed water on my head and pushed on my pressure points in my wrist, which alleviated the sickness feeling for a while. Eventually, I was a bit sick and spent the rest of the boat curled up on the seats with my head in my partner's lap feeling dire!
The boat ride lasted about an hour over to the island, and I just couldn't wait to get off the damned boat by the end! When we docked, we were the first boat to arrive. We were given our bags and then we had to climb off the boat, onto some large rocks which led to the beach. This was a bit hazardous for my mother-in-law but the boat hands were very helpful. We were all led to an area to put our belongings down so we could all go swimming. Soon another 2 or 3 Catamarans arrived with many more people!
The island itself was beautiful. It had a pure white sandy beach, with a gorgeous turquoise blue sea. The Catamarans made it look so tropical and fantastic. We all went off to swim for a while, the sea was cool but a pleasant relief from the beating sun. We were given unlimited drinks, each Catamaran had a table where the men from their boat were serving drinks and you just asked them for whatever you wanted. They offered the rum punch, coke, sprite, water and even beer! After a couple of hours, they began to cook a barbeque, and about 20 minutes later they started to tell us the food was ready.
It looked so delicious! We were all given a plate and told the men what we wanted. They had chicken drumsticks, sausages, lobster, other fish and salad as well. They were generous, giving everyone at least 2 bits of everything. And when everyone was served, if you finished your food you could go back and help yourself to more! After the main food was served, they bought around barbequed bananas which I hated but my partner loved! They were very sweet and smelled funny in my opinion! After eating, we were serenaded by a few of the guys singing some James Blunt songs to a guitar, so relaxing and fantastic!
Again we were then given a few hours to swim and sunbathe. The boats also gave out snorkelling masks and snorkels which a lot of people used. The sea was clear so you could swim out to the rocks nearby and see some fish and other sea life nearby. There were also many people just sunbathing on the b each, but as I had a poorly baby on my hands, I sat in the shade with him for a while. The men kept coming to check if we were okay which was nice. When it was time to go, we found a little hut where we went and changed out of our swimming stuff so we wouldn't be too wet on the ride home.
People from the other boats got on board first, as they had to use our boat to get across to theirs. Eventually when we all boarded, we set off all at the same time. However, our Catamaran was much bigger and we got ahead of the other boats quickly. Although the sea was a little rougher this time, I didn't feel seasick luckily as I had a nice full tummy! Harry was asleep for most of the journey so we spent it looking out across the great expanse of turquoise sea. Again we were offered drinks and music was playing, but it was much more relaxed this time around, with everyone tired from a fun day.
Arriving back at Grand Baie an hour later, we were again put onto the glass bottomed boat to get back to shore where we were given our shoes and bags and left to go our own ways. A plate was handed around to tip the men who worked on the boat for us, and we all left a good amount as they did such a super job. However the French people who were shared a boat with (who didn't leave the drinks and food table by the way!) shoved a load of tiny change onto the plate, amounting to about 75 pence. What a thank you, huh?
Would I recommend it? I certainly would! For our £20 per person, we got a full day of entertainment and it is certainly something you can't do just anywhere you go on holiday! All the food and drink was included in the price and cooked fresh. You could help yourself to as much as you wanted, and the men were keen to ensure you were having a good time. They were very kind when I was feeling queasy, and really looked after me. They were polite, friendly and people who clearly loved their job, and who wouldn't?!
Obviously if you are a person who is afraid of sailing then this isn't the trip for you as it involved at least 2 hours on a boat on the open sea. But if you like boats and sailing, this is a great opportunity to have a wonderful day of sun, sea and sand, food drink and fun for just £20! It was a nice relaxing day and I shan't forget it ever!
Thank you for reading!