Tuesday we took the bus over to Blue Bay just to have a look around our future place of residence. At the grand total of 40 Rp (less than 50p) for both of us it made for an interesting experience. The bus itself must have been about 50 years old with no suspension and torn seats and we were conspicuous as the only non-locals on it. We were impressed with the way that the driver would wait for anybody in the distance who was obviously hurrying not to miss it, unlike the driver of the Addlestone branch-line train at Weybridge station!
The first impressions of Blue Bay were of significant wealth and a total contrast to Mahebourg. Large beach-front houses line the approach road, many with swimming pools and the entry to the town (village?) is guarded by the exclusive Preskil Beach resort. This looks a bit more like the Mauritius that we would have thought about back home but we were quite glad to be seeing it from the perspective of the locals on the bus, rather than seeing the locals on the bus from the perspective of the tourists in the resort!
There are absolutely no shops in the village, not even a kiosk, which is going to make our regular shopping trips logistically challenging. There are 3 ice-cream vans parked by the beach, a beach-side café/restaurant and a handful of street-food stalls. Along with loads of taxi drivers touting for your business – 2000Rp (£40) for a day trip round the whole island, (maybe one day). The bay itself is amazing, as per the photo. This area has been designated as a marine park although there’s no obvious evidence of this fact – apart from a tired old sign at the very far end of the bay. It’s also where our employer, Lagon Bleu, have chosen to deploy their conservation project as, (in their own words), they fear that the local authorities aren’t going enough with their protection measures. It’ll be interesting to learn more about the dynamics of the relationship between Lagon Bleu and said local authorities. Lagon Bleu themselves have got no obvious presence in the area which again I found surprising, indicative either of a lack of funds or restrictions placed upon their operations – tbd.
The bay is flanked to the east by another luxury beach-side resort, (currently closed until November for refurbishment) and the Deux Cocos resort on the other side. Both quite recent which, along with the building work going on in the village itself, makes you wonder how seriously the marine park concept is being taken. I guess it’s very tricky to find the balance between the tourism economy and preservation of the local environment – this is what we’re going to learn all about, first hand!
We did find the Lagon Bleu office, located in a large house on the main road into the village and we went in and introduced ourselves to the two bemused fellow interns who were sitting there working. (Bemused because we were older than their parents!). We had a quick chat with Rachele the project manager about the sort of things they’re looking for us to do and then she informed us that they were all off to an arts-eco festival up-country and were a bit too busy to welcome us until next Tuesday.
Guess we’ll just have to continue chilling then! (Pity we’re under an anti-cyclone until next Wednesday!).