Sailing around the World ( presently in Mauritius )

A Lady
Stephen Hyde
Thu 21 Oct 2010 05:30
TUESDAY   19th   OCTOBER   2010
06.00hrs Aileen up and off to Mass again,
Its another beautifull day in Paradise again, and we spent some time planning our day and decided we would do the Tea trail.
08.00hrs  The diesel truck arrived, An interesting here, there is no fuel berth at the harbour , or in fact for yachts any where in Port Louis,
so we were lucky that the W, ARC were able to organise a truck to come to the marina, otherwise it was going to be delivery by jerry cans,
We took on board 650L of fuel , which just about topped up the tank.
Skipper took the last of his tablets and did the blog, while A did a quick trip around the town, Neil had a day off from his diving course
but decided to stay around locally while the rest of us went off on the Tea trail ..
10.300hrs  We left port Louis and drove to The Colonial house of the original owners of the tea plantation , which we were about to visit.
The house , made mostly from local timber and pieces from wrecked sailing ships , was interesting in that it had very steep pitches on the roof,
something the skipper is very keen on.  A Paris type roof,,   They reminded us of the roofs on " Watergold " in Douglas , Cork, A building which was
designed by skipper.    The residence was called   " Domaine Des Aubineaux" and was located near Curepipe  towards the south of the Island.
We spent 1.5hrs there and enjoyed all the photographs, the antique furniture, and the history of the place which our guide gave us.
We then drove some 20 km to " Bois Cheri " where  the Tea plantation and the Factory where located.
We started our visit with a tour of the factory while it was still operating, The whole place looked like something from another era, and the machenary
was definatly the original stuff, except it now had diesel engines driving it all.
The Tea plant was originally introduced to Mauritius around the mid 1600's by a Priest and it flourished in the climate here.
They export only about 25% of what they produce, the rest is comsumed domestically.
Most of the tea leaves are still picked by hand, and then brought to the factory where they are put on warm air beds for 24 hours, this removes about 30% of the moisture and from there thr leaves are chopped up and sent over a slow conveyor belt to ferment,
Eventually it is all packed in bags,  most of it loose, and the remainer in tea bags,
Talking of tea bags, When they first hit the market in ireland, my father and all his generation were convinced that tea bags were filled
with the dust swept up from the floors after the real tea was packed into their bags,  thats true,...................... the reality is very different, The
tea bags are filled with tea made from the youngest tea leaves picked by hand from the top of the tea plant and carefully matured
in the factory..
The whole operation and rattling iron conveyor belts reminded skipper of the Bottling Plant belonging to Cork Distelleries in Morrisons Island, Cork
where his father was manager, and the lines of girls sitting at the conveyor belt examining the whiskey in the bottles for any forign objects which may have found a way into the whiskey bottle.  I can still smell the Whiskey !
Later, after an interesting tour, we drove 1.7km to their restaurant and tea tasting rooms at the top of the hill, this overlooked a large lake and was surrounded with acres and acres of tea plants, and also had a great view down to the sea.
We tasted all the different tea blends, from " Black Tea" to " Green Tea" to " Jasmine Tea " to Vinella Tea, and Mixed Berry Tea ,
All very different and interesting,   Of course, the medicinal benifits of drinking tea was explained in great detail. so we sipped down
gallons of the stuff.
When we were tead out, we left the plantation and headed north again to the boat in Port Louis.
19.00hrs , we slipped over to the Hotel for dinner and some drinks,
The dinner was excellent and all five of us enjoyed the evning, hosted by Terry in honour of Colette's birthday.
Following a few night caps on board the boat later, we all headed for ther scratchers,  zzzzzzzzzzzz ZZZZZZZZZZZ zzzzzzzzz
Thats it for for now,
Signed  :-  Stephen Hyde   ( Skipper )