Rodrigues

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Rodrigues is a tiny island in the Indian Ocean, and at 18 kms long and 9 kms wide it is the smallest of the Mascarene Islands. You’ll find it 560 kms east of Mauritius, and if you keep on heading east you eventually hit Australia, but that wouldn’t be for some time – it is a 3000 km swim. The island is surrounded by a huge, shallow lagoon that provides local fishermen with valuable catch, but it is a vulnerable balance between human demands and the health of the lagoon ecosystem. 
I was in Rodrigues for a couple of months, working for the Marine Education Trust. The charity aims to use education as the best conservation tool – by teaching children about their marine environment in order to develop their sense of stewardship for their resources.
My role in Rodrigues was to look at new educational possibilities, and to form an innovative and dynamic way in which to teach children about the sea. My job was made a lot easier by having a continual inspiration resource right on my doorstep: the Indian Ocean. I spent most of my free time diving and snorkelling, and I’ve included a few photos here of the beautiful Rodrigues – above and below the water. 
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Heading up from a 30 m freedive….

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A deserted beach at the eastern end of the island, called Anse Bouteille.

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A spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari) – a common site at our favorite snorkel spot, Pointe Source.

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On the way to a reef monitoring site, to record coral cover, coral health and fish species and abundance.

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The best way to get around Rodrigues was on the Suzuki 200cc. Unfortunately bikes have no boot, so all snorkelling kit had to be strapped to either the bike or me.

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Swimming through an underwater cavern at the best snorkelling site we found in Rodrigues – Pointe Source.

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The lagoon surrounding Rodrigues on an ebbing tide. You can just make out the specks of fishermen looking for octopus far out in the lagoon.

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A little bit of off-road fun after a deluge of tropical rain. With comedy orange helmet.

The end of the day – Rodrigues style.
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