On my latest long trip I watched a documentary on the plane entitled The Last Tourist. It makes one think about the future of travel and whether or not we are destroying places economically or environmentally. I wished I had done a little more research beforehand but I think I lucked out! I have always tried to book local lodging instead of chain hotels that are headquartered elsewhere. And rather than buy souvenirs I tend to tip the local workers. I found out years ago that some of the mementos I was buying were manufactured in some other part of the world. I realize that there are items to buy like art or clothing that you know are created domestically, but since I live in a small apartment I’m happy with memories.
I booked a resort because the island of Mauritius offers so many water activities and having opportunities to engage in these various endeavors right at the site is easy. And the LUX brand of resorts happen to be local. Saving the planet for the future is another concern and the Grand Gaube Resort has made a serious commitment by joining with a community initiative to make their island more respectful of people and environment. There was no plastic. Their goals: To be recognized as an eco-friendly company in our country; To work in harmony with nature and the community towards a sustainable and inclusive future for Mauritius; To have our name listed alongside those who will be creating a greener environment for present and future generations.
While my main interest in going to my 150th country was to swim with the dolphins, I realize there are concerns about safety. The various charters all claim this is a safe activity for both the dolphins and the humans since it is in the wild and only takes place for two hours each day. However, upon seizing this opportunity and seeing how many boats and swimmers were involved I’m not sure that it was. My personal experience was exciting, scary and a little bit overwhelming…probably for the dolphins as well. There were 25 boats in the area along with about 5 kayaks. There were only two tourists on my boat and the plan was for us to sit on the edge with our fins dangling and masks on and jump quickly when told as the dolphins were under us at that time.
My first effort was not successful as I was so excited that I forgot to put the snorkel in my mouth and proceeded to drink seawater laced with gasoline. Choking and coughing left me no time to look around. The guide hurriedly got me back on the boat. The second attempt was futile as well since the mask slipped off my face. Ignoring these signs I tried once more. I was ready, set and when given the command, almost landed on one. I decided to spend the rest of the time on the boat watching as they dove, swam by and delighted me much more with the distance between us.