After 18 days sailing and over one month onboard seeing the small island nation of Mauritius was a welcome sight.
“The island of Mauritius was unknown and uninhabited before its first recorded visit, by Arab sailors during the Middle Ages who named it Dina Arobi. In 1507 Portuguese sailors visited the uninhabited island and established a visiting base. Portuguese navigator Diogo Fernandes Pereira was probably the first European to land on the island at around 1511. The island appears with a Portuguese name ‘Cirne’ on early Portuguese maps, probably because of the presence of the dodo, a flightless bird which was found in great numbers at that time. The Portuguese did not stay long as they were not interested in these islands.”
From 1638 to 1710 the Dutch made attempts to colonize the island but failed due to sickness and frequent typhoons. They did succeed in decimating the Dodo bird before moving on. The French and British would later have succesful settlements before independence in 1968.
“During the Napoleonic wars, Île de France (as it was called during French Rule) became a base from which French corsairs organised successful raids on British commercial ships. The raids continued until 1810 when a strong Royal Navy expedition led by Commodore Josias Rowley was sent to capture the island. Despite winning the Battle of Grand Por, the only French naval victory over the British during these wars, the French surrendered to a British invasion at Cap Malheureux three months later. They formally surrendered on 3 December 1810, on terms allowing settlers to keep their land and property and to use the French language and law of France in criminal and civil matters. Under British rule, the island’s name reverted to the original one.”
We got off the ship late morning and part of the crew was bused to Port Chambly Hotel. After a month onboard I wonder if the company made it point to not put the whole +100 man crew all in once place and spread us out. Either way I feel like our group got pretty lucky as this place was a little slice of paradise before starting a full day of traveling home.
“The cuisine of Mauritius is a blend of Indian, African, Chinese and European influences. It is common for a combination of cuisines to form part of the same meal.
The production of rum, which is made from sugar cane, is widespread on the island. Sugarcane was first introduced to Mauritius by the Dutch in 1638. The Dutch mainly cultivated sugarcane for the production of “arrack”, a precursor to rum. However, it was during the French and British administrations that sugar production was fully exploited. Pierre Charles François Harel was the first to propose the concept of local distillation of rum in Mauritius, in 1850. Bee is also produced on the Island, by the Phoenix Brewery”
My time in Mauritius was short but it was nice to visit a place with such a rich maritime history. As early as the 1500s ships were pulling into the same harbor we pulled into on that sunny day. During the days of sailing, vessels Mauritius was a regular stop on voyage from Europe to India and the Far East. I don’t know if I will ever make it back but it was great to experience a small slice of what the place had to offer.