|One of those pictures, which will forever be
engraved in your mind! Despite the thunder of this powerful monsters crashing on the
corals, this was the most peaceful place for me. No chatting, no people. Just nature,
water, energy! I took it easy for the first two waves I took. This is a place, which works
in a different way every day, where you have to know the wave and it is definitely not a
childrens playground. Mistakes are not to be recommended. The next big set was
around. As I was still alone I could take the wave I wanted. Never take the first one of a
set, rather the biggest! This beauty was just a big big mountain on the outside,
accelerating towards the reef. I always had an eye downwind to see if it was closing out
and another eye on the wave behind me. Good timing! The monster started to build up and
build up. So much energy! I took a lot of speed down the line early enough to make the
next section. The face was so clean, and under myself I could see the corals just an inch
under the surface. The crystal clear water got sucked away, I had to go more downwind, always
accelerating more and staying on the wall. No mistake. Then I went for a dedicated bottom
turn, the rail of my board digging a curve into the glassy surface. I just made it up to
the lip for the cutback nearly upside down before tons of water of this monstrous barrel
would be crushing on me. The sound of an explosion behind me. In the spray of the cutback
I could see a rainbow, waterdrops on my face. Than again full speed down the line, this
was definitely the fastest wave I ever surfed, one turn after the other, the powerful lip
throwing me into the air.
I sailed myself in such a kind of flow. I felt so good in the water, so at home! I just let my feelings guide me. And somehow I was always on the best waves. It was like a conversation between me and the ocean, telling me where to go, where to turn around. Like all the molecules of the water would tell me about their journey from far away to this beautiful place. All this energy getting unloaded right here in front of me and I was allowed to observe a glimpse of that power, to be part of it! Just unreal! After, I guess two hours, two friends of mine an Italian guy Renato and Roman, a wave sailor from Austria, came to join me. It was just we three for the whole day. Great to find people to share such experiences!
In the evening we all went to our local restaurant Mama´s as we called it. A little snack place with some plastic tables and chairs in the inside. A big fat mama cooking really good local food for an incredible cheap prize. Once again we had to wait for two hours, but today it didnt matter. In the meantime we had one beer after the other, everybody telling his experiences from today. All had a great session somewhere. I could see it in their shining eyes. The next three days we were still very lucky with the conditions. All the Austrians were very motivated to get a good photo session outside on the reef. So in a two weeks work we had organised some iron rods and a lot of wood from some construction sites from local people. So we could build a five meter high platform, which we transported with fisher boats to the reef right in front of one eye. So we finally managed to get some really good shots from that spot! But this one big big day was just for myself. There are certain moments in your life where you cannot, should not, take photos. The image will stay in your mind anyway!
One week later the next big swell hit the island. But this time directly coming from the west, which meant that all channels were closing out. The rescue boats of the station where on the beach, the station closed. If you have fun in your life you shouldnt even go out in the lagoon. It was choppy anyway and the current much too dangerous. We just went to the beach to observe the waves. I never saw an eight-meter wave breaking on a 30cm deep reef, throwing a fountain of spray 30 meters in the air. This time I had nothing to do out there! But I couldnt stop taking pictures from the land. It was time to profit from the swell and go surfing! There are also world class famous surfing spots on the island. One of them is near the quiet, unhurried village of Tamarin. It is a beautiful beach, locals are sitting around, playing guitar, drinking their beer, listening to Seggae their local music, and smoking whatever. And in the back a beautiful mountain reminding me of the Swiss Matterhorn. I couldnt close my mouth when I saw the breaking wave of the main break. There was a reason that every year the Billabong Challenge has a stop at that place. A 600 meter long wave of 3 to 4 meters height tubing all the way down the line.
The locals were definitely enjoying their time, they got tubed one time after the other, throwing their cutbacks and 360s into that hollow monster. I just had to swim outside. But definitely not to take a wave but to take some pictures of this perfection from the water! Awesome! In that big bay of Tamarin we found a second spot called Black Rock, which can also be surfed by lets say surfing windsurfers like me. We had to walk around the whole bay, cross the little river and continue in a beautiful little forest to get there. It was as well a very clean wave, but the reef was deeper and so the wave was not so powerful and hollow. We had a great session. Sharing the waves, talking bullshit, getting washed, just having fun and once again enjoying just being in and under the water. Sometimes I ask myself if I was a fish in earlier times?
Days like this with either a too big swell or not the right wind direction, are perfect to discover the island in the search for other spots. With southwind and big swell there is another reef in Petite Rivière Noire. But you need a boat to accompany you, as the reef is far outside. It generates a beautiful wave, but unfortunately breaking on a dry reef. There are a lot of good freestyle spots around the whole islands, you just have to check out that the water in the lagoons is not to shallow. There are spots on the east cost, especially Blue Bay, which is also a famous destination for kiters. The wind is a bit onshore there and not that strong. In the north at Cap Malheureux you have a great sourrounding, lagoons, little islets everywhere, beautiful beaches and this place works with north-east to east wind. I guess there are as well other wavespots on the island, but I think we should leave them for the Locals.
To do's besides sailing and surfing
This island is definitely too beautiful not to spend some days in exploring other places beside the Windsurf spot. The interior of the country contrasts with the coastal stretches. The temperature is lower and the scenery is lush and green. I just can give you a little recommendation, but the rest you should discover yourself. Definitely you shouldnt miss the capital Port Luis with its daily market. The fragrance of spices is in the air and the atmosphere of this crowded place is great. Just go around and see all the people selling their fruits, veggies, textile stuff, saris, very nice fabrics and materials, spices, meat, fish. Take a little bit of cash with you and enjoy bargaining! Or even better just sit down beside the street and observe the people and their mentality.
A real nature experience is the tour around the southwest of the island. You start with the National Park of Black River, climb up at Chamarel where you have a great view from the Brabant until Tamarin, then here are waterfalls waiting for you to be discovered, Hindu temples, and driving down over the mountains to Suillac you get an impression of the landscape with the cane fields etc. In Suillac you should take your time for some impressive beaches like GrisGris. The reef is the closest to the shore here, so you can see the waves breaking directly on the beach. Driving back to Le Morne, you again pass by at waterfalls, the Rochester Falls. This is the most beautiful coastal drive I know! In Le Morne, the little fisher village, you should stop and get some Marlin steaks, squid, or whatever fresh fish you like, from the people selling their catch from the morning.
I also wouldnt miss to climb one of the mountains - either the Le Morne Brabant , the highest one Black River Peak, or near Port Luis the interesting looking Peter Boos. Great views on a sunny day everywhere! And - dont forget to talk to the local fisherman. They are happy for to take you on a tour to other little islands, or show you places where youll most possibly meet dolphins. Snorkling with the dolphins was an unreal, unforgettable experience for me. There is a lot more to see, but you find that information in every normal travel guide. Just go on your own adventure! Lost in thoughts and finishing writing that story, I get myself a typical Mauritian drink. On the bottle of the island´s best rhum I find Mark Twains sentence again: You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first, and then Heaven; and that Heaven was copied after Mauritius. I might come back here.
text: Uli Hoelzl , photos: John Carter, Michael Kalensky, Uli Hoelzl © windgirls 2006