Samstag, 30. Mai 2009

Zeit für einen Regenbogen....Time for a rainbow...

Heute ist der 30. , da sind Regenbögen immer besonders willkommen...Dieser ist von Silke Bender, an ihrem letzten Tag im Februar...

Today is the 30th, one of these days when rainbows are especially welcome...This one is of Silke Bender, taken on her last day in February ...

Danke Silke...!

Freitag, 22. Mai 2009

" Bread & Cheese..."

Schon mal was von Bread & Cheese Pflanzen gehört...? Diese ist eine, wie ich heute durch Maudlyn Gebert erfuhr, die mit dieser Aufnahme ebenfalls bei Couleurs de Mai vertreten war...

"The Bread & Cheese plant is a very common one in Rodrigues, in different regions of the world it is also known as cat's claw, black bad, doctor long, griffe-chatte, collier-diable and bébèl. The part of the plant I photographed is called legume. Usually 5 to 10 cm long, coiled or curved and splits open to reveal 4 to 6 mm shiny, black seeds, surrounded by white to red fleshy arils.
When I made the photo, it reminded me of my early childhood ; as other kids I enjoyed eating the fleshy parts even of its persistent flavour."

Maudlyn was not only so kind to tell us more about the plant she had chosen as her exhibition photo, she also let us know how she experienced the workshop.

"I have always been interested in photography. I believe this is due to the fact that my dad was a police photographer. But it has been only for a few years that I started learning how to take photographs. The workshop was very interesting and helpful, all participants have one thing in common: Photography as passion. So I enjoyed everything, the classes and group works, where we learned about proper care and cleaning of camera and accessories, the theory about copyright related questions...Most interesting for me the part about manual photography, how to take control of your camera, light, speed and composition."

"Many people find it easy to point and shoot which is the easiest way to take photos. But what we should rather do is to shift to Manual Mode and to make photos instead. We should not abide to preferences of the camera auto settings mode but command it to make the photos we want. "

"Preparing the photo exhibition was exciting from A to Z too. It was a pleasure to see us all working together, sharing ideas ; it was also an occasion to socialize. I enjoyed being seen else than a police officer. We are all enthusiasm and motivated, full of ideas for future projects...! "

More to "Bread & Cheese" plants here (pdf/engl), they belong to the Fabaceae family, last link leads to a German botanical site showing some other species of it. I didn't find anything about the origin of it's common name which was so uncommon to me...

Donnerstag, 21. Mai 2009

Couleurs de Mai...

Nach der Tochter nun die Mutter - Martheline Gentil, die Mutter unserer Nachbarin Ann Carleen und somit auch unsere Nachbarin, nahm ebenfalls an dem Fotografie-Workshop statt.Hier ihr Foto in der Ausstellung.Mutter wie Tochter scheinen eine leichte Schwäche Rosa-und Lilatöne zu haben...-

And here a photo of Martheline Gentil,who participated together with her daughter Ann Carleen, so she too is our neighbour...Mother as daughter seem to have a soft spot for the colours purple and pink...

Couleurs de Mai - Farben im Mai- Colours of May....

Zwischen dem 16. und 20. Mai wurden in Port Mathurin die Ergebnisse eines Foto-Workshops ausgestellt, an dem 30 Frauen und Männer aus Rodrigues teilnahmen...Hier ein erstes Foto von Ann Carleen Gentil, die übrigens auch eine Nachbarin von uns ist...Weitere Fotos zum Ausstellungsthema Couleurs de Mai werden in losen Abständen folgen... -

During the past days visitors and inhabitants of Port Mathurin were invited to a photo exhibition, 30 participants from Rodrigues presented the outcome of their workshop under the theme Colours of May...Here a first photo, taken by Ann Carleen Gentil, who by the way is a direct neighbour of us.... More photos will follow...

Sonntag, 17. Mai 2009

AIDS Candle Light Memorial 2009 in Rodrigues

The “International AIDS Candlelight Memorial”, an initiative of the Global Health Council in Washington DC/USA is one of the most ancient communitarian mobilizations on HIV/Aids at world level. It started 1983 in San Francisco and has been celebrated ever since on a yearly basis (with one exception), what started as a grassroot movement, involves today 119 countries and 1,200 communities throughout the world. Kick-off place this year is Haiti, and the celebrations take place everywhere on today's Sunday, May 17, with the theme :“Together, we are the solution”.

In Mauritius the celebration of the International Candlelight Memorial will be held at about 30 different places including 3 in Rodrigues. More than 20 groups and associations have been involved during the mobilization. The activities in Mauritius related to the International Candlelight Memorial began already 6 months ago on December 1, the International Day Against HIV/Aids. During the next six months numerous workshops around HIV/Aids will occur throughout the island in order to reinforce both education and prevention around this disease. Beyond the symbol that this Memorial represents, tribute and respect to the people who died from consequences of Aids and providing support to people living with HIV, this event is an outstanding opportunity of communitarian mobilization.HIV progress & Actual Situation*
With a close 4,000 screened (remember in May 2005/669!) and a national incidence estimated around 1,8% (source:UNAIDS), Mauritius is the most affected country by HIV in the Indian Ocean zone. Each month around 40 to 50 new cases are detected with half of the cases detected in prisons. More women and children are gradually being affected.

Presently, the sole indicators in terms of epidemiological monitoring are found at the level of prisons, pregnant women (in the public sector) and blood donations. Studies focusing on the youth, intravenous drug users, sex workers and immigrants are needed.
Anti-retroviral molecules presently available in Mauritius have to be renewed. Several patients already are resistant to these molecules and experience a treatment failure. There are not enough referent doctors and nursing personnel qualified for the treatment of patients. An action plan for the treatment of patients living with HIV was designed, but is not applied. Prevention and care for people living with Hepatitis C is nonexistent, which might cause on long term sanitary failure not only among addicts and their families but also within the sanitary units’ employees.

The NDCCI (Centre Bouloux) being disconnected from a medical structure, patients have to undertake tedious roundtrips to the hospital for their analysis and this at their own cost. Often they experience job-related issues and are fired when they absent themselves (casual work).
The NDCCI is the only place where referent doctors are and where patients may go in order to receive treatments. Some patients live at remote distances and must take leaves to attend consultations. Due to this, some have lost their jobs. Consequently, others have stopped their medical followup and treatments. Decentralisation as in line with the National Strategic Framework 2007-2011,would be an essential improval.For HIV-positive pregnant women, there is an increasing amount of failures in prevention
of Mother-to-Child Transmission of the virus (PMTCT). Several HIV-positive women refuse to come to the Cassis care center; too far, stigmatization, rejection by the family. A prospective solution could be the weekly consultation in regional hospitals and an awareness campaign on the
importance of prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of the HIV in hospitals and
dispensaries. Testing No clear national policy planned on counseling, screenings in the private sector, the “routine testing”, confidentiality/anonymity and training for health officers practicing testing.No screening-aimed campaigns among the most vulnerable groups (the youth, sex
workers, intravenous drug. Poor quality of reception and of screening structures in the private and public sectors. No prevention, called “secondary level prevention”, among people living with HIV.

The death rate of patients in the Aids phase is presently highly worrying.
This situation is attributed to:
Patients devoid of immune defenses are hospitalized in a non-sterile environment. A lack of referent doctors to undertake the follow up. A lack of nursing personnel in the caring of PLHIV
A lack of trained referent doctors in taking care of certain opportunistic infections and absence of appropriate care. No suitable care of co-infections with hepatitis. No doctors trained to the managing of PLHIV in the private sector. Unsuitable care of addiction.

Prevention and sectored (closed) caring and nonsectored in prisons No care for dependence of
prisoners to methadone. Stigmatization of convicts living with HIV. Prevention and sectored (closed) caring and nonsectored in prisons No care for dependence of prisoners to methadone.
Stigmatization of convicts living with HIV.

While the numbers we hold clearly display an increase in the number of young people
contaminated by HIV, information on HIV/Aids and reproductive health still struggles to reach primary and secondary schools. Our youth is in danger!

Primary prevention lacking
- Very limited access to male and female condoms (dispensers)
- The Femidoms (femalecondoms) are inaccessible on the market or at non-affordable prices.
- Not enough information through the media especially on TV
- Condoms distributed and sold in Mauritius undergo no quality control upon their arrival,
even if we possess a factory specialized in this type of testing (VALENDOR) and which works
for Europe, Asia and Africa.
- Little or no communication on the need to use of a waterbased lubricant with condoms.Risk reduction program for intravenous drug users
The introduction of methadone for people dependent upon heroin has been one step in the right direction, but there esist still numerous problems:
The project is still at the “pilot” stage; a high quantity of demand and not enough availability.
Distribution times are not appropriate and do not allow patients to assume a professional activity.
No psychological support for patients under methadone resulting in relapse, multiple addictions and overdose.Traveling patients under methadone cannot resume their treatment upon their
return. Protocol is devoid of provision for methadone.No consideration for dependence, no risk reduction program for young addicts (under 18) despite their large numbers.

Needle exchange program (NEP)
Why is there no more meeting of the multisectoral NEP committee?
Needles given by the MOH&QL are often too big. Materials donated should also include a disinfectant (swabs) and filters to prevent hepatitis C transmission.

Housing problems & Poverty
Several people living with HIV are homeless. Two shelters for men were set up by the Catholic Church these are often full. Provisionary housing should be built for both men and women sleeping in the streets, accompanied by reintegration programs.



- 18 - 20 h à Port Mathurin (MCB)
- 18 - 20 h à Grande Montagne
(terrain volleyball)
- 18 - 20 h à Citron Donis/Petit Gabriel
( Centre de Jeunesse)

* ALIME ZOT LEKER *Related articles:
Le Mauricien du 09.05.2009/en frc.
About Candlelight/ engl.,
About Indian Ocean and
AIDS Candlelight 2008/dt. & engl. here, Photos of 2008 on Picasa here

* Main text source Advocacy Document provided by Mauritian organizers of AIDS Candle Light Memorial.

Freitag, 15. Mai 2009

Inselbegabung...oder einfach ein wirklich wunderbares Buch...

Inselbegabung – auch Savant-Syndrom genannt – ist ein Phänomen bei dem Menschen, oft mit kognitiver Behinderung, in einem kleinen Teilbereich außergewöhnliche Leistungen vollbringen. 50 Prozent der bekannten Inselbegabten sind Autisten. Sechs von sieben Inselbegabten sind männlich"...und einer von ihnen heißt Christopher Boone...-

Sorry, there is not such an intriguig term as Inselbegabung in English, there is just the term Savant Syndrome, defining a rare condition in which persons with developmental disorder as autism have one or more areas of expertise, ability or brilliance that are in contrast with the individual's overall limitations, a prodigious memory of a special type, a memory described as "very deep, but exceedingly narrow". Six of seven savants are male..., one of them is Christopher Boone...Das gute an Inseln und Weltumseglern ist unter anderem auch, dass man Bücher tauscht...Im Falle des Tausches mit der Avocetcrew, bin ich wohl die Gewinnerin, denn so ein wunderbares Buch habe ich schon lange nicht mehr gelesen...

Ich werde jetzt den Teufel tun und den Inhalt dieser außergewöhnlichen Geschichte wiedergeben. Dieses Buch hat offensichtlich nicht nur mir gefallen, denn es hat bereits einen Haufen Preise (17) gewonnen und demzufolge ist das Internet auch voll von Inhaltsangaben und Querverweisen, es ist also ein Leichtes für jeden, zu entscheiden, wieviel er vorher über Christopher Boone's kriminalistische Untersuchung wissen will, zu der er sich moralisch und logisch herausgefordert fühlt, nachdem er Wellington findet, einen Nachbarshund, tot, mit einer Mistgabel aufgespießt...Ich für meinen Teil habe übrigens für heute entschieden, dass es ein Superguter Tag werden wird, auch wenn ich gestehe, dass ich noch nicht 5 rote Autos hintereinander gesehen habe, dafür aber schon 3 Federn...

Another good thing about circumnavigators coming to Rodrigues is the possibility of swapping books...In the case of swapping with the crew of Avocet, it' s me being the lucky one as I haven't been reading such an extraordinary book for a long time.

Don't expect a summary now, I won't spoil the fun, although this book has already got so many prizes (17) that probably you will know all about it already and it's only me being late...Anyway, just the cover text to make all the ignorants, the one's who haven't heard about it, want to read the book...

" Fifteen-year-old Christopher has a photographic memory. He understands maths. He understands science. What he can't understand are other human beings. When he find's his neighbour's dog lying dead on the loan, he decides to track down the killer and write a murder mystery about it. But what other mysteries will he end up uncovering?"

So and now go to the next library or book-shop, should you happen to see 5 red cars in a row, you might end up having a supergood day...In my case it have been 3 feathers...

Donnerstag, 14. Mai 2009

A message for Zac....

Some of you mentioned him already in the comments of last week (Hi Dumba!)....

That's Zac Sunderland, the young circumnavigator who had an unplanned stop in Rodrigues last year in November, and who set out to become the world's youngest circumnavigator as he started at age 16.We haven't checked on him for a while but he is well and heading now to Panama, after a stop in Grenada. Before arriving there he had some trouble with his radar and as during his stop in Mauritius some work on his boat Intrepid had to be carried out there too.And that's Alex, the young Mauritian from S/Y Avocet. Talking about the other yachts calling at Port Mathurin in the past, it turned out that he met Zac last year in Mauritius. So here is his message for Zac:

Hi Zac,

A little Hello from Rodrigues where I am prepari
ng a trip around the world. Looks like I got contaminated. No record breaking but the same will for adventure! Anyway keep strong and we might catch up some day somewhere! Enjoy...

Alex (from the Beach House in Grand Baie)
So hope, Zac will get Alex' message soon, for all who would like to follow his last part of the trip back home (which will not take a long time anymore!!) or who would like to read about what happened until now, please check Zac's blog which is always an interesting read even for people not into sailing...

You find as well a couple of entries about Zac here in the blog when you visit the November and December archive ....

Photo credits: Zac Sunderland's blog
Today just in English..., sorry for not translating...

Dienstag, 12. Mai 2009


Wer erwartet hat, nun mehr über den Säbelschnäbler zu erfahren, vielleicht sogar eine Geschichte zu lesen über einen unglaublichen Irrflug, der diesen hübschen Vogel nach Rodrigues gebracht hat..., Pustekuchen, denn nicht um den Vogel geht es, sondern um einen anderen "Zugvogel" gleichen Namens...-

Who expected to find now an article explaining more about the Avocet, maybe to get to know an interesting story about an unbelievable odyssey bringing that beautiful bird to remote Rodrigues, way, as it's not about the bird but about another "bird of passage", operating under the very same name...Hier die S/Y AVOCET aus Irland am Tag ihrer Ankunft..-
So, meet the S/Y AVOCET from Ireland on the day of her arrival...

Leider nicht so elegant und gut getroffen wie obiger Vogel, doch zu meiner Entschuldigung sei angeführt, dass die Lichtverhältnisse mir keinen besseren Winkel geboten haben am 27.April, als Laurent mit seiner TAO ging, und die AVOCET kam...Und dann noch überragt von einem kommerziellen Hochseefischer, der für ein paar Wochen Fischer aus Rodrigues an Bord genommen hat.

The day Laurent on TAO left, S/Y AVOCET came. That was on April 27, the same day a fishing vessel collected some fisher men from Rodrigues to work on the banks far out, they will come back in a couple of weeks. Unfortuantely the S/Y AVOCET does not come out as elegant as the bird, for which I blame the light, not allowing me a better angle.
Nein, weder Rodrigues, noch Hamilton Island. Das ist Cork, die Insel, von der die Avocet ihre Reise startete...Kerry auf Cork Island ist die Heimat von Derry und Quentin Ryder, Bootseigner und Vater der eine und Skipper und Sohn der andere...Und Cork ist auch eins der Küstengebiete, wo der Avocet zu Hause ist, in einigen Gegenden immer noch bedroht, nach dem 2.Weltkrieg in England galt er bspw. als ausgestorben. All seine Eigenschaften schienen ebenso gut auf das Boot zu passen, ein Boot, das eine Crew bis max. 6 Personen an Bord um die Welt tragen sollte... Avocet ist überlebenserprobte Schönheit,Eleganz, Bereitschaft zu Schwimmen, Sebstverteidigung im Notfall, Segeln über große Strecken....

No, neither Rodrigues, nor Hamilton Island. That's Cork, the island where sailing yacht Avocet started her voyage...Kerry on Cork Island is the home of Derry and Quentin Ryder, as captain and skipper, as father and son too...And Cork is one of the coastal habitats of the Avocet which is in some areas still considered as endangered. In England it was nearly extinct by the end of WW II. So Avocet was thought to be the convenient name for a boat supposed to carry a crew of max. 6 members around the world...Avocet is survival-prooved beauty, elegance, readyness to swim, self-defence if necessary, sailing long distances......und das durchaus auch den anderen Weg herum als gemeinhin üblich, wie man auf dieser Positionskarte sieht. Normalerweise kommen die Weltumsegler aus der entgegengesetzten Richtung mit dem Wind aus dem Osten im Rücken.-

...even the other way round..., as S/Y AVOCET came this way as shown on their
position map on the net. This is very rare, normally the circumnavigators prefer to come with the winds from the east in the back.Hier eine erste Begegnung am Hafen mit James Waterstone, der seit Jahren die ankommenden Segler persönlich begrüßt mit der Bitte ihm etwas in sein Segler-Besucherbuch zu schreiben, das versucht, so viele Weltumsegler wie möglich zu erfassen. Ohne James gäbe es keine Aufzeichnungen etwas persönlicherer Natur über Rodrigues als Zwischenstation.
Auf dem Foto von l.n.r. Jacqueline Ouchard vom Hochseefishingboot Why Not?, James Waterstone, Quentin, der Skipper von Avocet, sowie Sim und Alex, die seit Mauritius mit zur Crew gehören.-

Here a first encounter on the jetty with James Waterstone who tries to welcome each incoming boat personally, asking for an entry in his Golden Book of Visitors in order to document as many arrivals as possible. Without James no records would exist about Rodrigues as a stopover for navigators, often entries are done with photos and personal accounts of the itinery, making it a fascinating read.From l.t.r. Jacqueline Ouchard of big game fishing boat Why not?,James Waterstone, Quentin, the skipper of Avocet, and Sim and Alex, members of the crew since Mauritius.
Aber es gibt auch noch Rudy, mit dabei seit Südafrika, dessen Wunsch nach einem Job ganz offensichtlich erhört wurde, wie man im Avocet-Logbuch lesen kann. Er ist mittlerweile schon wieder unterwegs zu neuen Ufern.-

But there is also Rudy, member of the crew since South-Africa whose T-shirt appeal turned out to be successful, as he has left Rodrigues already for new waters...-

Here so far the latest entry of their logbook...
"we have finally moved from mauritius to rodrigues this long stay in mauritius was because they are so nice and friendly and did not want us to go away we met lots of lovely people who wanted to feed us show us the island bring us to nearby islands etc it is very difficult to leave such nice people.we had a fast trip here but a bit rough winds from 4 to 8 lots of torrential rain.we are again looking for crew as rudy our south african has been tempted away to take a paid crew position on a charter yacht from rsa based in mauritius so if there is anyone out there interested please call me..."

Wie man hier erfährt, wird für Rudy Ersatz gesucht, im Gegensatz zu anderen größeren Yachten, die auch bezahlte Charter Crew an Bord nehmen, um Kosten zu decken, sucht die Avocet Crewmitglieder, wann immer jemand gebraucht wird, 4-5 sei für die Größe des Bootes und den Wacherfordernissen bei ihnen ideal. Der Posten von Rodrigues nach Australien ist noch offen, Verpflegung zahlt jeder selbst, Logis und eine sicher nteressante Erfahrung warten...

As far as we know the position is still on! Instead of looking for paying charter clients as some yachts do to have a little income, the Avocet takes unpaid crew whenever they need hands on board, in exchange, the crew members get an interesting experience but pay for their food.

Und hier Derry Ryder, der mir sein Navigationsequipment vorführt. Es ist der erste Trip rund um die Welt für den Neuro-Radiologen, die Leidenschaft zum Segeln hat ihn ein Leben lang begleitet, sein Sohn Quentin hat davon wohl einiges mitbekommen, er hat die Leidenschaft gleich zum Beruf gemacht, eine fundierte Seefahrtsausbildung hat ihn in der Vergangenheit auch schon auf große Schiffe gebracht, mit ihm als Skipper dürfte die Avocet also in guten Händen liegen.

And here, last but not least the captain D
erry Ryder, showing me his navigational equipment. It's his first trip around the world although his passion for sailing dates back a long time. He and his son Quentin have left home last year in August. With Quentin as skipper the boat is in safe hands as he brings in some good experience acquired as marine officer already in charge of bigger vessels.

Und zum Abschluss für heute: So sieht es aus , wenn man sich mal schnell auf einem Segelboot rasiert....(Sim hat meine Knippserei nicht mitbekommen...) -

And to end with for today: That's how a quick shave looks like on a sailing boat...(Sim was unaware of me and my camera...)

Photo credits: Bird Avocet and pic of Cork Island/Internet

Donnerstag, 7. Mai 2009

Breaking news first...Best Job In The World....- And the lucky one...

Wir erinnern uns, im Januar tauchte auf einmal eine Stellenausschreibung im Internet auf, die es in sich hatte und zum zeitweiligen Zusammenbruch des Servers des Tourismusoffice in Queensland führte..."Ein halbes Jahr als Inselwart auf einer Insel im Great Barrier Reef, sonnenbaden, schnorcheln, tauchen und sich in einer Luxusvilla verwöhnen lassen. Gehalt umgerechnet Euro 78 000, Kost und Logis frei. Einzige Bedingung, ein Internet-Tagebuch führen..." Einsendeschluss war der 22.Februar und um die 34000 Bewerbungen gingen ein.

Vorgestern ist die Entscheidung gefallen, von 16 Endrundenkandidaten machte der Engländer Ben Southall das Rennen...Am 1. Juli geht es los !

Hamilton Island ist schon jetzt in aller Munde..., was für eine geniale PR!

We remember, in January the Internet surprised the world with a job offer never seen before: "6 months as ward on a little island, just snorkeling, diving, sun-bathing and enjoying accomodation in a luxury villa. Food and accomodation free. Salary about Euro 78 000. Only condition, to write an Internet diary..." No wnder that the server crashed repeatedly, until February 22 which was the deadline, 34000 video applications from over 200 countries were submitted, 16 made it into the final round, 10 men and 4 ladies. The decision fell on Monday- it's him on the photo, Ben Southall from England made it...The lucky blogger and charity fund raiser starts his work on July 1. The biggest winner is already the tourism industry - just now everybody knows about Hamilton Island. I must admit this is public relations at its best!See: Hamilton Island , off. Hamilton Island web site, the finalists/die letzten 16, Focus-Artikel/dt.

Mittwoch, 6. Mai 2009

The Avocet....

Dies ist ein Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta), auf Deutsch auch Säbelschnäbler genannt. Was dieser elegante Vogel, den man normalerweise weit verstreut an den Küsten Europas findet, mit Rodrigues zu tun hat, ist morgen Thema...Es ist mit großer Wahrscheinlichkeit nicht das , was Sie jetzt denken...-

This is an Avocet and you might ask yourself now, what this elegant bird, usually living on European coasts, has got to do with Rodrigues...So for the curious ones, by tomorrow you will know...It is not what you think, at least I think so...

Photo credit: Marburger Vogelwelt, with more pics to see

Dienstag, 5. Mai 2009

Die ersten Segler sind schon da....The first circumnavigators have already arrived ...

...Und in diesem Fall schon wieder weg...

Das ist Laurent auf seinem Segelboot TAO. Er kam als erster Segler der Saison am 17. April hier an nach einer etwas längeren Überfahrt von Borneo ohne Zwischenstop. Seit 5 Jahren ist Laurent alleine unterwegs, er ist übrigens ein waschechter 1968er aus Nancy stammender Franzose. Sein Lieblingsstop war bislang Patagonien.Die Geschichte, wie sein Großvater alleine während der Kriegszeit durch ganz Deutschland gelaufen ist, erzähle ich jetzt nicht, das würde zu lange dauern...Letzte Woche Montag brach er auf zu neuen Ufern, noch ist er unterwegs nach Madagaskar...

Normalerweise geht die Saison nicht vor dem 15. Mai los, dem offiziellen Ende der Zyklonsaison.Doch das Wetter und diese Saison meinten es gut, keine raue See und keine Zyklone dieses Jahr für uns in Rodrigues....

This is Laurent on his sailing yacht TAO. He was the first circumnavigator to arrive this season in Rodrigues on April 17 after a long turn from Borneo without stops. Laurent has left France with TAO for 5 years now and he is full of stories as how his grandpa walked alone through Germany after being rescued by the Red Cross during World War II...too long a story to tell now.
Last week on Monday he left Rodrigues already for Madagascar where he has not yet arrived.
Normally the season for circumnavigators to come starts only after the official cyclone season has stopped on May 15, this year we had no cyclones in Rodrigues and the sea is not the boats come in earlier.

Photo credits:
Laurent , the first pic shows TAO in Brazil, arriving here the boat was in a bit different condition...

Montag, 4. Mai 2009

Cardinal Rouge....und eine Echse....

Diese Fotos kamen diese Woche an aus Deutschland, von Frank und Marion, die hier Anfang des Jahres eigentlich angeln waren...Wie das Angeln gelaufen ist, kommt in einem anderen Beitrag, wobei diese beiden Fotos aber meines Erachtens nicht zu toppen sein werden. Ichhabe esniemals in all denJahren geschafft, einen Cardinal so nahe zu fotografieren...Von den beiden gibt es auch schon ein paar Fotos im Artikel von gestern...-

These photos arrived this week from Germany, Frank and Marion sent them who were here for some big game fishing at the begining of the year...How the fishing turned out, you will get to know in another posting, although I think that these photo can't be topped...they are just lovely, I never managed to take a shot of a cardianl like this...There have already been some photos of them in the posting from yesterday too.

Thank you so much for sharing, Marion and Frank!

Photo credits : Marion & Frank

Sonntag, 3. Mai 2009

"The best kept secret in the Indian Ocean....."

Diesmal ein Bericht über Rodrigues auf Englisch, Paul Richardsons Artikel für den Guardian über seinen Aufenthalt hier im März liest sich gut und hat mich inspiriert nach ein paar zusätzlichen Fotos zu suchen, damit es sich gleich noch etwas heimischer anfühlt, der Lesbarkeit halber bleibt der Text im Original, damit sind wir quitt, wer sich erinnert, der Artikel von Thomas Worm über die Tintenfischstecherinnen blieb ja ebenfalls unübersetzt...

Just to make up for the article of Thomas Worm about Rodrigues and the lady octopus fishers which was in German, here an article of Paul Richardson in English. The article was published on April 12 by The Observer/Guardian... It's Paul Richardson's account of his stay here in March, the photos I have added just to make you all feel a bit more familiar...Enjoy the article!-

Claudine Moneret came to the door in bare feet. A big-boned lady with a big smile, she had been in the kitchen making lunch: a fish curry with aubergine pickle. Sitting me down on the front porch of her guest house, just a few steps behind a coral-sand beach fringed with coconut palms and casuarina trees, she brought me a glass of rum punch.Dazed with jet lag I couldn't quite work out what it all reminded me of. The Caribbean? The South Pacific? West Africa? Or all of the above? There aren't many places left in the world that not even your best-travelled mate has heard of, but Rodrigues may be one of them. This island is so very remote and so little known, only the poshest of atlases reveal its existence.

When I first heard the name, I assumed it must be one of those windswept uninhabited rocks somewhere in the South Seas, maybe a military base, or some tiny Polynesian atoll where the population subsists mainly on Spam. Then I Googled it, and sure enough, there it was: an island in the Indian Ocean, 600km (in fact it is 650km/B.R.) east of Mauritius, named after a Portuguese explorer, population 40,000, religion Roman Catholic. The last scrap of Africa before you reach south-east Asia, Rodrigues is a dependency of Mauritius, and is often described as its sister island. In reality, they are siblings who have little in common. Where Mauritius is lush and verdant, its tropical woodlands alternating with vast fields of sugar cane, Rodrigues is drier, rockier, more sparsely wooded, and has no sugar cane at all - which is ironic, since 97% of its population is descended from African slaves brought to work the plantations.

Just two flights come into Rodrigues every day, and both belong to Air Mauritius. The connection takes 90 minutes, but the only alternative is a 36-hour crossing on the weekly cargo boat that constitutes the island's main commercial link with the outside world.

After the 12-hour night flight from London, the buzz of the turboprop engine sent me into a drooling slumber, from which I awoke to the shock of an all-blue world: powder-blue sky, dark blue sea to the horizon, and a big splotch of dazzling turquoise: the wide lagoon, twice the size of the island, that is Rodrigues's greatest natural asset.

Economically, Rodrigues has very little going for it - no industry, no commercial fishing to speak of, and it lacks the hugely profitable machine of Mauritian tourism or the honeymoon island's dazzling array of five-star hotels. Agriculture is strictly subsistence: every family has its vegetable plot, its fruit trees, its pigs and goats. Some of the men have small fishing boats, and the women go out to hunt for octopus in the lagoon. The extent of Rodrigues's tourism industry is a handful of three-star hotels and between 30 and 50 guesthouses (no one seems to know the true figure) known here as chambres d'hôtes or gîtes, where you stay with local Creole families
and share their tasty home-cooked meals.
Chez Claudine is one of these places. It is a chalet-like house in the hamlet of Saint-François, at the beach end of a quiet valley grazed by flocks of goats. On the window of Claudine's front room it said "Joyeux Noel" in snow spray. We were now in March, which tells you something about the pace of life on Rodrigues. My room had peach-coloured walls, a fan, plastic furniture, a fridge with nothing in it, and a papaya tree outside the window.On Sunday morning I walked out of Claudine's house onto a tropical moorland strewn with rocks and dotted with strange stubby trees called screw pines.Rodrigues was once thickly wooded with ebony forest. Giant tortoises roamed the island in huge numbers; birds unique to the island flitted among the branches, or, in the case of the flightless solitaire, a relative of the dodo, pottered about on the forest floor. Then humans arrived to colonise the island and created an ecological disaster zone. Now most of that forest has long since gone, and most of the birds too, though a few native species have recently been dragged back from the verge of extinction.

But, despite the disappearance of the forest, the island looks extraordinarily beautiful. I couldn't suppress an audible "wow!" as I rounded the headland on the coastal path to see a string of delectable bays, ringed by white sand. No beach bars, sun-loungers, parasols, or any of the usual seaside paraphernalia here - nor the hawkers, masseuses, cocktail waiters, and sunglass-cleaners that work the beaches of Mauritius. Where much of the coastline of the big-sister island has effectively been privatised by the swanky hotels, pushing out local punters to ever more crowded public beaches, all Rodrigues's beaches are public. But with one big difference: they have no public on them.At Trou d'Argent, the island's most photographed stretch of sand, the only signs of life were a cow lying on the grass behind the beach, and a hen with her chicks, clucking and pecking among the rock pools. Earlier generations would have passed Rodrigues by as insignificant, terminally sleepy, primitive, even dull. To me it's precisely the absence of stuff - I mean hotels, restaurants, entertainment, other tourists - that makes the island so appealing. It is so new to tourism that people still seem genuinely delighted to meet a foreign visitor. Service is gawky and informal. There is no luxury accommodation as such but more than enough homely, unpretentious comfort.

After leaving Chez Claudine I checked into another chambre d'hôte, Fantaisie, which stands at the top of a hill in the island's fertile interior, with views down the valley toward the lagoon. In the field below my cabin, two ladies in straw hats whacked away with mattocks at a maize
plot. The nights were silent and starry; I awoke to the sound of cooing pigeons.

From here, I moved on to what is almost certainly Rodrigues's most upscale accommodation. Cases à Gardénias belongs to Fernand Verbeeck, a Belgian, and Marie-Line Comarmond, a member of one of Mauritius's grandest families.Before pitching up on Rodrigues, the couple lived in a château in Bordeaux, and they have brought most of their furniture, paintings and glassware with them. The rooms at their chambre d'hôte are tastefully done up in the European style, and surrounded by lovely gardens with splashy fountains.Marie-Line has her own bees, and keeps herself as busy as them. She makes delicious preserves from island fruits and vegetables, and brews her own fruit wines. Like most of the female hosts of the island's establishments, she is also an excellent cook. One of Rodrigues's main attractions is its delicious Creole cuisine. The island's volcanic soil is ideal for vegetables (they are practically
organic, since farmers here cannot afford expensive imported
pesticides).The local meat - pork, beef and kid - is also good, as is the octopus from the lagoon, typically served in a vinaigrette salad with chives. But the staple food is fish. I ate grouper and parrotfish, sea bass and dame berri;all tropical species with meaty white flesh. Favourite cooking methods for fish and meat are rougail (a kind of casserole, with tomatoes) and cari (curry) gently spiced with ginger and garam masala. As a first course you might have cono cono: abalone, sliced and marinated with lime juice and spices, or smoked marlin. Everything comes with side dishes of achard (pickles) and chatini (chutney), and a paste, made from crushed green chillies, that is a misleading shade of avocado green but as piercingly hot as wasabi. For afters there might be gâteau maïs, a yellow pudding-y sweetmeat; piavre, a deep-fried doughnut drenched in honey; or the pride and joy of the island's patisserie, la tourte rodriguaise, a thick-crust pie with a jammy filling of coconut and papaya.

When I wasn't eating, I was buzzing around the island with Jean-Paul, my driver, in his big 4x4. Before becoming a driver, Jean-Paul was a boxer. He is probably the island's coolest guy, to judge by his fancy shirts and the number of times his cellphone rang. Jean-Paul drove me on the switchback roads, many of them potholed and overgrown, until I started recognising not just places, but faces. He waved at everyone we passed: he knew them all.His CD player played mostly French pop and Mauritian séga, a tropical party music with African roots. But Jean-Paul also had some real Rodriguais folk.This is a strange mélange of old-fashioned European dances - the waltz, the mazurka, the reel - given a rustic makeover with accordion, triangle and thudding drums. It is the kind of music that you could almost imagine Jane Austen's heroines dancing to, but with a backdrop not of Regency ballrooms but colonial lawns, with slaves peering through the bushes.There is a story-book quality to island life. Even the place names - Grande Montagne, Rivière Banane, Malabar, Château de Fleur - sounded childish and innocent, like the names on a Treasure Island map. At the seaside hamlet of Gravier, a pig ran across the road, pursued by a little girl in a dark blue school uniform.Rodrigues has cultural oddities that charm and puzzle. You drive on the left, and the road-signs are UK-style, with curvy white letters on a green background. The currency (the rupee) and the spiciness of the cooking plainly reveal the influence of India. The French were in charge here for
just 74 years, from 1735 to 1809, and the
English for the next century and a half. Yet it's French culture that has triumphed, oddly. English may be the official language, yet most locals speak Creole French and/or French. The shops are all quincailleries, tabagies, boucheries. Even the island's name, a Portuguese word, is pronounced the French way, with two syllables instead
of three.

The island gained its independence from the UK in 1968, along with Mauritius. But there are still signs of the British way of life, if you look hard enough, in the three-pin plugs, the sandwich biscuits, the Weetabix, the Embassy fags.

Despite being only 18km long and 8km wide, Rodrigues has plenty to see. One day Jean-Paul took me down to Port Mathurin, the island's diminutive capital. It was market day, and it seemed le tout Rodrigues had turned out in force to buy or sell fruit and veg, fish and meat, home-made preserves, cheap clothes and Chinese-made homewares.
In his book Golden Bats and Pink Pigeons, Gerald Durrell describes Port Mathurin as the perfect set for a Somerset Maugham novel. I know just what he meant. The town's few thoroughfares have names such as Victoria Street, Johnston Street and Rue de la Solidarité. It has a low-rise, somnolent,villagey feel. The government buildings are single-storey colonial houses with corrugated roofs under the shade of giant banyan trees. There is a branch of Barclays Bank, a bookshop called the Bold Endeavour, a cyber café with the slowest internet connection I have ever experienced (So true!!! B.R.), and a general store, the Magasin Mackoojee ("Fondé en 1901"), which sells kitchen mixers, brooms and palm-leaf hats.

The tourist office in Port Mathurin is a room in a colonial residence dating from 1897. Two keen young people, Sandrine and Cliff, talked me through the island's range of tourist possibilities. I could dive the island's coral reefs, or walk the trails of the interior. A popular excursion was the boat trip to Ile aux Cocos, a desert island where the rare birds of Rodrigues enjoy protected status. Something more active, perhaps? The wide, calm lagoon is a perfect place for kite-surfing, explained Sandrine. She showed me a list of the tourist figures for the previous month: there
had been 3,555 visitors from Mauritius, 1,486 from Réunion (ie France), a handful from South Africa, Australia, Italy, and 47 from the UK.
And how is it going, I wondered? Sandrine rolled her eyes. Not so good.There is the global economic downturn, of course. And with only two planes a day, visitor numbers are unlikely to increase much any time soon.

We drove west out of town towards the island's main tourist attraction, the François Leguat Giant Tortoise and Cave Reserve, named after a Huguenot exile who arrived on Rodrigues in 1691, when the island was still uninhabited and pristine. The park and its installations, which include a small museum and a long cave through which visitors are take n on tours to
gawp at the stalagmites and stalagtites, were founded in 2007 by the Australian naturalist Owen Griffiths. There is plenty to keep you occupied here for an hour or two, what with the cave, the tortoises in their picturesque surroundings, and the fruit bats in their special enclosure. The
Rodrigues fruit bat, Pteropus rodricensis, very nearly met the same fate as the solitaire. At one point in the 1970s, there were only 70 left in the wild, and it became the world's rarest bat. Now it's up to several thousand,though the species is still endangered.
Life on Rodrigues can seem such a convincing version of paradise that it's tempting to ask: what's the downside, then? The answer is surely the delicate environmental situation, the pressing problems of erosion and drought, and the chronic over-fishing of the lagoon, which has reduced
stocks of octopus to unsustainable levels.There is another shadow in the island's political and economic life: many Rodriguais harbour a simmering resentment towards Mauritius, which, they
feel, funds the island meanly and strangles its attempts at self-develop
ment. According to the World Bank, 37.5% of the population lives below the poverty line.

If there is any serious discontent or hardship, it lurks below the unruffled surface of island life. There is almost no crime on Rodrigues. The island's prison accommodates five or six, in a come-and-go-as-you-please regime. No one can remember the last murder. In any case, dangerous felons are promptly shipped off to Mauritius.One afternoon I left my posh new Havaiana flip-flops on the beach at Anse Ally. Hours later, when we were sitting down to dinner, I remembered, and ran back along the beach like a paranoid Londoner, fully expecting they'd
been nabbed by the gaggle of kids I'd seen playing on the sand.

"Oh, ils seront là," said Claudine nonchalantly, mixing up a glass of rum punch for when I got back. And it was almost comically predictable, somehow, when she turned out to be right.

You find Paul Richardson's article here...including some additional rate infos...
Here something about Gerald Durrell, the well-known zoologist from Jersey Zoo - auf dt. hier

Photo credits:
Guardian (1), Chez Claudine (2,4), Carantini (5), Fabrice Bettex (3, 6, 10), Casa A Gardenias (7),
ROD (8,9,12), Internet (11), Marion & Frank (13, 14, 16) , Jan Erik Johnson (15)