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Le Morne, Mauritius

09:25 22nd February 2012 by Letitia Hristodorescu
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Mauritius is a stunningly beautiful island,surrounded by tropical warm waters and lagoons, all protected by a corel reef. There are so many waves in this place all with their own character and magnitude. The ones we concentrate on are based on the picturesque peninsula of Le Morne. Mauritius is the paradise island, there is no other word to describe the place. A day into your visit you will lose all sense of reality. It is lush and green like England in spring time, the grass meets a white beach made of beaten up coral. The beach fades into a lagoon with water from a hot tap. The snorkling highlights the amazing life and small reefs hiding in the lagoon. Beyond the lagoon large sand, rock and corel reef get beaten by everykind of wave imaginable. Then there is the spicy food, combined with the fresh fish – Marlin, Shark, John Dory, White and Red Tuna. This place has it all.

Fact File

Windy Season All year. June – October windiest period
Water Temp In Summer 24 C
Air Temp In Summer 26-30 C
Average Wind Speed Force 5
Flight Time (From UK) 12 hours from London
How To Get There

This is going to a tricky one now. I flew with Virgin who were amazing, 2 boards, surfboard sails all for free and a great service.

Unfortunately they have stopped flying to the resort. British Airways is a no no because they do not take kit. Lufthansa cost a fortune to take kit. So if you want to take your own kit, the only company with a reasonable policy is Air Mauritius. If you are hiring kit then go with the package that gets you the best deal. Bear in mind though Club Mistral will not (rightly so!!) let you take hire kit onto Manawa or One Eye.

Car Hire

The usual companys AVIS and EUROCAR operate from the airport and the hotels. Car hire though is extremely expensive. For the smallest car you are looking at 300 Euros for ten days – ouch!! (But worth it, if that makes sense.)

Driving

Driving in Mauritius is easy enough, just be laid back about it and watch the comedy unfold in front of you. They drive on the left mostly, just like in the UK and the signs are in English. The coast road is just that and it is really hard not to get distracted by all the perfect waves breaking on the reefs!. There is not much traffic in the south at all. Watch out for the buses, they go really slow or sometimes just stop in the middle of the road. All in all we had no problem. Petrol is similar to European prices.

How The Wind Works

The Trade Winds blow from the South East and blow all year round, meaning it is very possible to have 52 weeks of the year with wind. However if the wind goes ESE then it will be a bit offshore in the south and can mean little or no wind. During the Mauritian summer, (Nov-April) the wind is more patchy, a cyclonic system bringing cloud and some rain can prevent the trades. In their winter (May-Oct) the anti cyclone system works with the trades and it can get up to 40knots. However if you go on windfinder or windguru, as long as it as got a SE in the wind direction you are going to have a good time

How the current works

At all times the current will exit the lagoon through the channel, and then wash round the back of the reefs and beyond. If the swell is from the South East then the waves break predictably on all reefs and the current is less (still not something to be blaise about). With a big South West swell and and out going tide the current could be as much as 15 knots and bye bye Mauritius. Get caught in the wrong place on a reef and your kit is not going to see much of the next day.

How the waves work

Like usual, SE swell breaks cleanly along all reefs. Manawa tending to take most of it before reaching little reef. One Eye still hollow, but a bit more predictable and cleaner. In a SW swell little reef can get up to mast and a half. One Eye closes out a lot, and the swell in the channel turns into good waves – but with serious current. Manawa again will be big and chunky. The Swells run deep in from the Indian Ocean.

The windsurfing

There are many places to windsurf all around Mauritius, however this article is going to feature on the main place, Le Morne. Le Morne hosts several windsurfing spots, the Lagoon, One Eye, Manawa, Little Reef, and the Flat Water Kite strip around the corner.

Safety

Be sensible and look out for each other is the key here. If you are an experienced wavesailor and have sailed reefs and heavy breaks before then you will know what to expect. Make sure all your kit is not perishing, especially the ropes. Mine kept snapping out back, lucky for me I was a boy scout and remembered the old reef knot! The main problem is in a SW swell. So if you are not too hot on water starting, then don’t go too near the reefs! Club Mistral are excellent and will always look out for you and come and rescue you, even if you are not hiring from them. There is a 20 Euro charge for a rescue, but please don’t moan – the other option is Australia – and it is a long old drift.

The Sailing Spots

The Lagoonv

Flat at low water, it can be very shallow. It is protected by the reefs of One Eye and Little Reef. At high water it is a little choppier. It is perfect for blasting and freestyle, the wind is generally stronger in the lagoon than on the reefs. There is plenty of warning of the danger areas provided by the guys at Club Mistral. Common sense prevails here. If the water gets dark then you are above a bit of shallower reef. There is not much to worry about in a SE swell. If it is a SW swell then you have to be a bit more on the ball and watch the currents. If you go too close to the reef to the right of little reef, you could get sucked across it.

Little Reef

As its name suggests this is the smaller wave break. It is quite choppy compared to One Eye and Manawa. It is a great training reef and is good for experts and intermediates alike. You are likely to get 2 or 3 bottom turns and a good section to hit, without too much of a drilling at the end to worry about. Catching the wave is easy as the swells are easily defined. In a SW swell this wave can get much bigger than normal and has got a big punch to it.It can get up to mast and a half! For jumping this is a good spot, although at low tide I wouldnt advise back looping. Go a bit further out to the right and their is a lovely back looping wave.

Manawa

About 1.5 K out, to the right is a long, big, clean peeling wave called Manawa. The wave itself is for riding, the face holds up for ages and you can really attack this wave with as much speed and torque as you dare. You can just sail the shoulder or go deep and hit a couple of sections. 6 or 7 quality bottom turns can be had here, the power of the wave is immense. If you do get a rinsing hold onto your kit because you are a long way out, and hope that your mast stays intact. Manawa is the kind of wave you dream of, big drops, long rides, endless turns, predictable peaks and a big easy channel to escape too. The bigger the better!! To get out to Manawa, a top tip is too tack up near the beach to the edge of the channel, then the current will help you get to the section a lot easier.

One Eye

One reef down from Little Reef is infamous One Eye. One eye is fast hollow and unforgiving. Where Manawa is fairly predictable, One Eye is not, it is not a wave for the feint hearted, especially for a first go. If you have a big wallet then you could spend a lot of time here. If you do get in the right place and the section in front of you does not close out, then this wave will last for ages, powering you down the line at full speed. One Eye takes no prisoners, turn to hard, too deep or time it slightly wrong and you will just have to drift across the reef collecting souvinirs of your visit.

The Bay

To the left and round the corner from the mainwindsurfing spots is an onshore, flat water bay. Perfect for learning and freestyle. There is more of a kitesurfing scene here than windsurfing. There is plenty of parking and nice grassy picnic spots to watch the action from.

Getting to the beach

Le Morne is very easy to get to. As you approach the sea on the peninsular, it is the second beach carpark on the right, just after a super tight left hand bend. To get to the kite beach, and flat water lagoon, keep driving past the Indian Resort hotel and through a dust track.

Club Mistral Centre/Skyriders for windsurfing/kitesurfing/surfing hire and lessons this the the place to go. Book just hire or the whole holiday through the club mistral website. www.club-mistral.com or www.myskyriders.com, ormauritius@club-mistral.com, phone 00230-450-4112. The windsurfing kit is comprised of the latest Fanatic boards and North sails. They are looking to stock Mistral in the future.

Clinics

Many of the guru’s have a clinic out there. Jem Hall is a regular and the man in the know and takes you out there at one of the best times, our autumn. For more information on his clinic deals the go too www.Jemhall.com This crazyheaded baldie is dedicated to your development!!

Accommodation

There are plenty of resorts to stay at in Mauritius, it is afterall the Honeymoon Island. Use Trip advisor to help you – two options are detailed below.

Inidian Resort Hotel

Website: indianresort.hotelinmauritius.com

The Indian Resort hotel is on the Lle Morne peninsular and is the home of Club Mistral. As with all the resorts it at a premium price, from £100 a day all inclusive. This is your kind of bread and butter resort, it has all you want for a eat, windsurf, eat, drink and sleep kind of holiday. Plus it is right on the best launching spot. If you are single, or just a bunch of windsurfers out for a good time then this is the place to go. For more luxurious and pleasent accomadation there are plenty of newer resorts on the island. They will however require you to have a car.

The Tamassa Hotel (Bel Ombre)

Website: naiade.com

By much searching and advice from tripadvisor, Liz found this resort, and it was incredible. Staying at this place was a step out of reality. The all inclusive package included fantastic food, all alcohol, afternoon tea (I say), SPA, snorkelling trips, watersports (sailing and beginner windsurfing), a superb gym and tennis courts, kids club, live entertainment, the lot in fact. The accomadation is of an extremely high standard and is constantly cleaned. The surroundings are lush and green, leading onto the beach, a lagoon and then a very gnarly reef. (don’t try to sail on this, I tried to get there, but the pillers of coral stopped my fin quite quickly). The Tamassa Hotel itself is a 20 minute drive from Le Morne, through small vibrant Mauritian towns. Try not to crash on the way as you are mesmorised by the all the waves breaking on the reefs on the way!

Renting a Flat or Apartment

Website: www.windhut.com

There are some nice flats and apartments to rent near the public beach. Matt, the manager of the centre has a blog which details these options.

Food

Fresh fish and spicy food all the way. The Mauritian cuisine is superb – we didn’t actually eat out of the resort at all – why would you leave an all inclusive!

Bored Of Windsurfing

Surfing The surfing in Mauritius is limitless! The island is surround by reef – most only really accessable by a boat and local knowledge. Little reef off Le Morne offers a great right hander, perfect for paddle boarding. Tamarin Bay, about 15 minutes from Le Morne offers a very accessable beach break and reef! Mountain Biking/Cycling, depending on the resort you stay in they will have mountain bikes and guides to take you on day trips. Sailing – Again depends on your resort.We had some boats on offer – white things with triangle sails, not sure what they were! Snorkling – the snorkling is something else, especially if you have never seen a proper corel reef before. At Tamassa, as the tide goes out the current is so strong that the boat just drops you off and you glide at 10knots under water, passing over some pretty diverse corel and fish before it picks you up 40 minutes later, this is highly recommended! Sightseeing – Well there is a lot of this, and a whole island to explore with some fantastic scenary. Apparently the markets at Port St Louis are worth a visit, although this wasnt particularly high up on my agenda.

Hot Tips

  • Windsurfing wise. If you are not confident with reef breaks (i.e quick waterstarting, duckdiving waves etc) then stick to little reef to get you into it. If you sail to far to the right of little reef it is possible to get sucked over the next reef which is pretty gnarly.
  • A large SW swell produces good jumping in the bay, but also a mega current. Speak to the Matt and the club Mistral guys for advice.
  • Best to avoid One Eye on a low tide and/or in a large SW swell.
  • To get to Manawa, tack up close to shore and use the left of the outgoing current to get you out there. Tacking out to sea, you go against the current. When at Manawa, if you get a cloud forming over the mountain then best to head back in, because it means the wind is about to drop and you don’t want to be 1.5 K out to sea.
  • Rescue - The Club Mistral guys will look out for you, even if you are not with them. They will come and pick you up if in trouble, and as ever your kit is not their priority, although they will try to get this. If you are rescued then be happy it only cost you 20 Euros! Unbelievably some people complain at this. Remember the next stop is erm, a lonely island far far away!!
  • Public beaches - On weekends they are very busy. Ladies sunbathing in bikinis – you are likely to get stared at a lot. We never had a problem with security, but be careful all the same.
  • Further information - checkout the www.windhut.com blog.
  • Matt Buzza runs this blog and also is the windsurfing manager at Club Mistral, he is extremely friendly and helpful, so don’t be afraid to approach him for any advice or tips.
Conclusion

I would have to say out of all the places I have been too, this is probably my favourite. I would love to have stayed there longer and experience some higher winds. The place is great for a non windsurfing partner, it’s a very beautiful island with plenty to see and do. The waves are perfect!

Tourist

The Tourists were Clyde Waite and Liz Eveleigh. Clyde is now a full time Chemistry Teacher in Bournemouth. His windsurfing travels have included Western Australia, Maui, South Africa, GOA, Morocco, Greece, Tunisia, Portugal, France, Spain, Ireland and Hayling Island to name a few.

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