|Al insisted on driving to Blue Bay ourselves with the rental car to meet the boat company instead of being picked up in a van. We head out about an hour before departure to ensure we find it on time. The roads are not too bad until we hit Phoenix, a city in the central part of the island where we experience rush hour. Policemen direct traffic at the traffic circles to make traffic run smoother. Hmmmm, strange because I thought traffic circles were supposed to relieve congestion.
Oliver and Fabio are the boat tour guides that we meet before boarding the boat. Everything is explained in detail and then we board the glass bottom boat. I am not excited about a glass bottom boat because Id rather snorkel or scuba dive but this bit turned out to be very informative. Good safety information was shared as to what to see what not to touch. Many underwater species were identified for us as well. I ended up appreciating the glass bottom boat part of the trip.
We soon found ourselves donning snorkel gear and jumping in, however I had a mask and snorkel that gave me problems. I wasted some time getting help before entering the water. Twenty minutes in the warm ocean water went by quickly and as usual on these type of trips time in the water was too short. The water was clear and coloured fish were around but this snorkelling area was not very impressive relative to what we have seen elsewhere.
Back on the boat we were offered drinks, non alcoholic and alcoholic. The drinking began for most people on the boat but for me I held off as more snorkelling was on the agenda later.
The boat ride continued through the amazing azure ocean waters passing a ship wreck and stopping for a short time at Isle aux Aigrettes Nature Reserve. We were not allowed on the island to explore but the quiet bay provided views of starfish, bird life and of course other boats.
Between islands Fabio showed off his boat maneuvering skills by picking up speed and turning sharply in both directions for a portion of the trip to add a little excitement.
The island with an old lighthouse was our next stop. We waded from where the boat anchored a ways out to the island to explore. It was well worth the visit and the views were great too.
The waters were too rough for snorkelling so we continued on to the waterfall up a river on Isle aux Cerfs. The boat took us right up to the waterfall and as we neared the rivers edge we could see monkeys in the trees.
A BBQ lunch was served on the beach island with tables set up in the shade. Lunch was served and drinks provided. We had free time after lunch to laze around or snorkel.
The boat ride back was quite long as we had covered quite a bit of distance up the east coast. Fabio has some fun once again maneuvering the boat at high speeds. He also let the tourists try their hand at driving. I had no interest though.
Back to our car and the ride home. Driving north back through the plateau area we stumbled upon Grand Bassin Lake which houses a huge Shiva statue on the edge of the lake. The Lonely Planet guide describes it as a pilgrimage site where pilgrims perform puja in February. Parking and sidewalks could accommodate thousands. It would be something special to see it during pilgrimage time. Being late in the afternoon we couldn't spend enough time here to really explore the lake. We think we will come back this way at some point.
We had a great day although Al was a little weary of the loud music on the boat by the end of the day.