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The blue waters of Grand Baie

Grand Baie

Thursday, June 17, 2004
Brendon stumbles across an exotic island paradise above and below the pristine water.

Mauritius lies north of the Tropic of Capricorn in the Indian Ocean, 6000km west of Western Australia and 2000km east of the African coast. It is fringed with coral reefs, soft white sand and coconut palms. Inland is a rich blend of mountains, tropical forests and colourful wildlife. Its people are an interesting mix of French, British Indian, Chinese and Creole and their cultures have given the small island great diversity. Local cuisine is the result of three centuries of tradition, enhanced by the use of tropical fruits, vegetables and seafood.

The tourist resort Grand Baie, on the north-west of Mauritius, is lively by day and night, with a good variety of fashion and craft shops, hotels, restaurants and nightclubs. Its emerald waters are safe for swimming, sailing, windsurfing and water skiing.

With the help of Blue Safari Submarine, you can enjoy the beauty of the water's depths. The vessels take you to a depth of 35 metres. Their pilots are trained in marine biology and are able to accurately describe everything seen.

A one-hour tour on the BS1100 allows you to see many fish, a beautiful coral reef, the wreck of a Japanese fishing boat and the remains of a 17th-century sailing ship, all from the air-conditioned comfort of your cabin.

You may prefer to dive as a family or couple on the BS600. The little five-seater has a completely transparent cabin, so you can see 360 degrees around you. Curious surgeon fish always seem to accompany the vessel and are so close you feel you can touch them.

There are just 12 submarine excursion bases in the world and Blue Safari Submarine is the only one offering lunch 40m below the surface. During the hour-and-a-half tour, you enjoy delicious food accompanied by special wines such as Pouilly Fuisse or Château La Lagune. What a wonderful way to celebrate something special or to just have fun!

If you've ever wanted to walk on the ocean floor, this is where you can do it. Through the use of a custom-made helmet attached to an oxygen hose, the experience is yours. You don't need diving experience or even know how to swim. You are fitted with rubber shoes, the top half of a wetsuit, a weight-belt, a helmet and off you go.

Walking trips go in groups of seven with two instructors and are shown hand signals to communicate in the depths. There is a briefing prior to entering the water and you will be down for around half an hour.

The Veranda Group of Hotels aims to extend Mauritian charm and hospitality. The recently refurbished Veranda Hotel is strolling distance to the action of Grand Baie. It has eight apartments, 12 bungalows, eight deluxe rooms and 66 standard rooms. All are air conditioned and have a balcony or terrace.

You can dine on La Baie Restaurant's terrace or by either of two pools, all while enjoying ocean views. Cocktails are served in the bar and lounge.

The hotel's gardens are magnificent and there are many activities to enjoy, including water skiing, wind surfing, snorkelling, sailing, kayaking, pedaloing, tennis, boules, table tennis and beach volleyball.

There is a supervised club with loads of activities for children from four to 12 years of age. You can indulge in beauty treatments, learn to dive, cruise on a catamaran, go deep-sea fishing, hire a mountain bike or simply do nothing.


The north-western coast of Mauritius


Blue Safari Submarine costs around $185 per person and undersea walks cost around $85. They operate each day.

Air Mauritius flies weekly to Mauritius from Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Mauritius Holidays has six-night packages, including return economy airfares and accommodation at the Veranda Hotel, starting at $1749 from Perth, $2179 from Melbourne and $2199 from Sydney, per person.

Please note prices are valid at time of filming.

More information

Air Mauritius
Ph: 1300 658 572

Mauritius Holidays
1/91 York Street, Sydney 2000
Ph: 1300 362 166
Fax: (02) 9262 6318 with MessengerShare

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