in the eye of the storm
Although we enjoyed our stay in Mauritius (how could one not?!), it did not wow us in the same way that our visits to Zanzibar and Madagascar had. This is partly because we skipped some of the island’s most scenic locales and partly because the timing of our visit, coming at the tail end of the cyclone season, was less than ideal. We arrived to clear skies and flawless weather; a cyclone warning went into effect less than 48 hours later.
All things considered, we made out quite well given that the warning remained in effect for several days and a major tropical storm passed only 10-20 miles off Mauritius’ shore. A colleague recounted how she once visited Mauritius for ten days only to spend nine of them cooped up in her hotel room because of torrential rain. By comparison, our stay was considerably more pleasant.
The cyclone warning went into effect well before the storm actually approached the island, which meant that we still had blue skies and sunshine for a day even as the resort staff began winding down operations. The boathouse closed, as did the resort’s smaller restaurants, spa, and most other services. Fortunately, we were staying along the island’s northwest coast while the storm passed to the southeast. The island is not big and we had some inclement weather, but we definitely missed the worst of the storm.
It rained intermittently for a couple of days, but not in an entirely unpleasant way. The temperature was still warm, as was the water in the pools. Munchkin did not care that it was raining because he spent the bulk of his time – literally 6-7 hours each day – splashing around in the pool. We joined him on occasion or passed the time reading and doing crossword puzzles, which was not too different from our first day in Mauritius, when the sun had shone brightly overhead.
The morning after the storm had passed was admittedly rough. The resort had decided to close down all of its restaurants and instead serve breakfast to guests in their rooms. A panic-laden letter advising guests not to set foot outside their rooms was dropped off the previous evening. Of course, the execution of this well-intentioned plan was more than a little chaotic. D took Junebug for a walk down to the main building around 10am – two hours after the promised breakfast had failed to materialize. The branches littering the walkways provided ample confirmation that a storm had passed, but otherwise the resort did not appear any the worse for it.
We subsequently learned that the Mauritian government suspends all public transportation while a cyclone warning is in effect, and car rental companies follow suit because insurers refuse to cover storm-related damage. Also, the staff told us that while men typically go to work if they deem it safe to do so, women are not allowed to venture out to their jobs during a cyclone warning, which meant that the resort was short-staffed for several days. This also means that even if we had attempted to go exploring during one of the pleasant days leading up to the storm’s passing, we would not have gotten far.