There is something utterly compelling about seeing the island from above, especially when one can easily recognize its natural geographic features and outlines, similar to a gigantic map. The sense of fulfilment and self-exaltation one gets from travelling to high altitudes is unique. The view, be it from a mountain top, an aeroplane or simply from Trou aux Cerfs (dormant volcano in the centre of the island), can only trigger one feeling : happiness. In the air, literally. I embraced a new adventure : a helicopter ride in early July, one which I will gladly share with you.
As soon as the formalities were completed and the safety instructions were given, the hostess invited me to head to the heliport, where all the splendor of the landscape was unveiled to me. In front of a scenic blue-colored mountain range background was the brand new craft in which I was going to fly. Our pilot, standing there all dressed to the nines, immediately boosted my confidence.
Helmet on the ears, the proper operation of the microphone checked, safety belt buckled, last control procedures done and we left for a discovery full of wonders and very pleasant surprises. The lavender to light pink-coloured sugar cane flowers, like feathers in the slight breeze of the twirling wind, seen from above, made me dream with my eyes wide open. The sublime beach of Trou aux Biches, like an ivory-white ribbon, contrasted with all the shades of blue and green water of the lagoon. Swiftly, we were over Grand Bay, where the numerous white sailboats appeared to be hovering over the water like red-tailed Phaeton birds (Straw-tailed birds of the Round Island nature reserve).
A slight drift of the helicopter to the left and we got closer to the Coin de Mire. That is when we were informed that migrating whales could be found there … By the time we spotted them, we were already flying over Grand Gaube, then over Amber island, still in its natural state, as, as seen from above, no concrete structure stood out.
Above the mainland, the crisscrossed sugar cane fields, devoid of grinding stones, reminded me of the golden days of sugar factories, when the old chimneys smoked. The immensity of these open lands contrasted with the agglomerations and residences scattered here and there. We then flew over the Château de Labourdonnais and the village of Pamplemousses. The giant water lilies of the Gardens, the Victoria Amazonica, looked like giant pie pans, sunbathing in the middle of the lush vegetation.
The pilot announced that it was time for us to return to the fold, and that we would gently begin our slow descent to the base of operation, much to my regret. He pointed at the capital, swarming with people on that weekday. This brought me back to the harsh reality. I cherished all those exquisite emotions and would purposefully keep them as treasured memories forever …
My island, from above in the sun, so glittering, made me love her a little more each day … The Euphoria in the sky is worth experiencing … at least once in a lifetime!