Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Looking down at the anchorage. 

We have been living the quiet life here in Rodrigues.  We have been actively exploring the hilly island, having taken 5 of the 8 hiking trails with plans to do all 8 before we leave. The topography consists of hilly ridges and valleys. The island was almost completely denuded at one time, now the valleys have pockets of forests with introduced trees such as eucalyptus and thorny acacias. Some slopes are barren with cattle roaming about and we felt as if we were strolling across a Saskatchewan landscape. We were making our way down a hill yesterday and there was the most perfect climbing tree you ever saw. 
                                        There were huge limbs close to the bottom enticing me to hoist my way up into its branches.  I guess I still am young at heart. There are usually guava trees on   our hiking routes, with ripe guavas sitting on the ground, we have been enjoying their sweet taste  on most of or hikes.  Most days consist of going ashore to get a fresh baguette and visit the fruit and veggie market to get whatever supplies we want for supper.  I have been trying to fit in some kite surfing lessons but so far the wind has not co-operated, maybe tomorrow. 

The other day 6 of us set out to the turtle sanctuary.  In the 1800's Rodrigues was covered in tortoises, one report in the museum said you could walk on top of them for a long way. 
 They were nearly all slaughtered for their meat, but have been restocked from Madagascar and there are now almost 2000 on the island.  They are not as large as the tortoises we saw on the Galapagos Islands but the largest weighed  200 kilograms and the oldest was over 110 years old. We were allowed to touch them and they would stretch up their necks to be scratched.  Their skin was very dry wrinkly but soft. We went to visit a limestone cave afterwards. It was very large and there were stalagmites and stalagtities that would reach from floor to ceiling.  The guide had stories for all the different shapes seeing crocodiles, frogs and even Santa Claus in the limestone shapes.