Swimming with Dolphins in Mauritius…

DSCF5147Endless white sandy beaches and turquoise blue lagoons are what Mauritius is famous for.

The offshore reef that surrounds almost the whole island is the main factor in creating this paradise of beaches and lagoons (and keeps the sharks out!)

So a wellness week wouldn’t be complete without watersports and this morning I was up early for a very special kind – swimming with Dolphins- in their natural environment of the open water- not a pool.

We met at 7am at the hotels boathouse and headed off to Black River Bay. Not long after we arrived, schools of dolphins glided past, some jumping and spinning in the air around us, not worried about the attention they were generating. Popping on our snorkels, we jumped in the water, waiting for a flash of silver to pass…

We are told to just ‘swim, swim, swim’ to keep up with them, me trying to remember my best open water swimming technique ….and at one point I was completely surrounded by dolphins!

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I’ve done quite a bit of scuba diving in the past and am an advanced open water PADI diver. But it’s been a few years since I last dived, so once we returned from the dolphin swim and had breakfast, I took a quick refresher session in the pool, under the instruction of Emanuele Senatore from the hotel’s dive school.

IMG_8858We then headed back out to a dive sight called ‘Aquarium’ and spent  35 minutes spotting Carpe,  Halfmoon Butterfly fish, Yellowfin  Goldfish, Black Spotted Puffers, and Vagabond butterfly’s, swimming amongst coral.

IMG_8859-001In the afternoon, we have a session with leading aromatherapist, Shirley Page who designs the LUX Spa products, which are all geared towards purity; high grade, organic ingredients, so no pesticides that can penetrate the seed and cause skin irritation. Shirley gives us a demonstration of her products. ‘Oils can affect our mental state,’ she says, ‘ as well as our body and skin. Essential oils are the only substance that can pass down the hair shaft to the blood stream, so we can use them as mood enhancers, to help us decide how we feel. Memory and smell are deeply linked and can bring back old memories, including love hate.’

IMG_8853-001She has small pots of oils, in light and deep versions. Evening primrose for oily skin, camomile for inducing sleep, lavender for disturbed skin, camomile is anti-aging as it binds collagen together when it’s coupled with rose, which works on cell regeneration. We try the face oils, which you can use alone or mix into a cream or before sunscreen. I take home a pot of rose oil and head off for another massage at the spa which is really quite special, with a ritual of ‘singing bells,’ feet washing and mandarin face sprays before each treatment.

The night’s dinner is also a toxin free as the beauty products….. an amuse-bouche of ‘scrambled egg, citrus cream and herring roe, a starter of Okra with green bean salad, a main of poached reef fish in a seasonal vegetable broth and a pineapple flambé with cashew nut cream to finish…. I really was beginning to feel virtuous….

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