I worked this morning, while Marjolaine went for a swim. She always comes back beaming after a swim in warm clear seawater, whether it’s the Caribbean (where we usually encounter such conditions) or the South Pacific or the Indian Ocean. Pretty much anywhere where the water is warm and she can see the sea life.
For lunch we drove into Mahébourg a few miles away where there is a restaurant we enjoy very much. It’s called Les copains d’abord, which could be translated several ways, but Friends First, is a good one. The title comes from a song by Georges Brassens, a very popular French singer-songwriter, who died in 1981. It used the metaphor of a ship named Les copains d’abord, to speak of true friends and friendship. It was very popular and spawned all sorts of restaurants that use the name.
This one prepares excellent fish. When we stay in the south of the island which we usually do, we always come here at least once. We both ordered seabass, Marjolaine with a creole sauce and I pan-fried with vegetables and fries. We each had a glass of rosé with the meal to celebrate our day off.
As we ate, we faced Grand Bay, which was the main port of Mauritius (which has changed names many times) before the center was moved to Port Louis (which has also changed names many times) on the west coast. There was a famous naval battle fought in the bay in 1810 during the Napoleonic wars. It resulted in a very rare French naval victory. The French removed all the navigational buoys from the tricky bay, so two of four British frigates ran firmly aground and were burned to prevent them from falling to the French. The five French frigates surrounded another British frigate and sank it before capturing the last one. This British disaster left the French in a powerful position in the Indian Ocean, but not for long. A few months later the British returned with another, larger fleet, and a ground-invasion force. They captured the whole island, the last French presence in this ocean. Napoleon was a master in land war, the British navy was the most advanced, complex, and powerful military presence up to that point. Napoleon compared the conflict to the elephant and the whale.
We then drove back to our hotel where I did more office work. We have the International Leadership Program coming up and I’m having to make travel arrangements for the participants little by little as they receive their passports, which some have still not received. This requires daily attention. We also repacked our suitcases on preparation for our departure tomorrow.
Since we had eaten a late lunch, we decided to eat at our hotel; we could easily wait until 7:30. It is beautiful to watch dusk deepen the shadows along and on the water. The best light for photography is dawn and dusk.
The restaurant offered an extensive buffet at quite a reasonable price. We had a table overlooking the beach and the bay. Although it was dark by this point, so we heard rather than saw the waves.
As we’re on the flight path for the nearby airport, we would have a heavy airliner pass over our heads every so often. Tomorrow that will be us flying over.