Back on vibrant Mauritius
Since yesterday I am back on the Mauritian mainland. It was a hell of a helicopter flight, I mean really, really nice. It was the first time to fly back from Round Island by helicopter. And to see the reef that surrounds pretty much the whole island of Mauritius is so impressive. It’s special as well that an island of the size of Mauritius (only 1860 km2) is surrounded by the third largest coral reef in the world. And then the helicopter took us closer and closer to the shore, where it becomes more and more obvious why Mauritius is also called “Green Island”. All the sugar cane fields that you can see under you and stretching to the mountains on the horizon are massive.
Now being back, the island life with its amazing but also challenging moments becomes even easier to grasp at all. When I was on the island, it was simply not possible to zoom out. Now I realize how amazing it is how simple life is there, and yet people do like it, for the restricted time they stay there. How amazing is it, that you can live there with the only water supply being the rain falling on the roof of the field station. The drinking water is UV-filtered into plastic containers where it keeps fresh under the house. All the other water for washing stuff or having a shower is just chlorined and then ready to be taken out of the barrel with a jug. The jug is in fact THE measure when it comes to water - it holds 2 litres. One and a half you can use for a shower. For washing your clothes once a week you are granted 1 jug for soaking and another one to rinse all of it. So you can imagine how happy a feeling it was this morning to stuff my laundry into the washing machine here at Black River and get it nice and clean. For living on Round Island, water is THE precious resource. And you don’t wanna run out of it till the end of the dry season, which lasts almost 6 months. Last year, Zayd told me, they were already considering a water supply transport by helicopter, when there was just a few millimetres of rain one night. Imagine that relief!
How amazing is it, that the sun alone provides you with electricity on the island? People say that the system is so well set up on Round Island, that even with reasonably small solar panels there is truly enough electricity. There is a fridge, even with a freezer, there, which is the only way you don’t have to be eating tinned food only. There is electricity to charge batteries for your equipment, or have electric light. But it’s all about timing. Charging is only possible during the hours when the sun is high, from around 11 to 16h. A couple of weeks ago, it was overcast for 4 days in a row. No rain or strong wind, that would make life harder, simply an overcast sky. And it made life a lot different. Suddenly, power is getting a major issue. Can we charge the batteries for the head torches? Is there a chance to charge a mobile? Does the field station laptop work at all? And you are 8 people that live very close together. A real challenge.
Now, back on the mainland, everything is there in excess. You wanna have a shower? Just go for it! Internet? Even that you can use in the Black River house in a usual way. And there are other people again. Truly one of the things I missed most on Round was chatting to a few other than the 5 common faces.