Mike arrived in the pickup, fuming at some politics at the office in Port Louis and also at not being able to find the road to the beach in Le Bouchon. To me the off the beaten track nature of the beach was part of its magic – Mauritius had so many corners that seemed a world away from the busy active island elsewhere – but to Mike right now this was a huge cause of irritation.
We tried to calm him down by promising to show him the most marvellous view. We navigated him back around the cane fields and into the Pays geometrique, past some of the cattle fields and high stone walls till we opened out at Pont Naturel. We walked him up to the rocks and we sat next to the arch and drank some Phoenix Beer. It was still grey and cloudy but the sheer energy of this coastline was infectious, a uniquely important landscape to the whole republic. However, it was tragedy-tinged that day. We spoke with a local guy still searching the headlands. Two young adults were lost here and it was thought they had committed suicide at Pont Naturel; the search parties were looking for the bodies in the water, as was the helicopter from the airport. Regrettably this kind of occurrence was all too common, and Pont Naturel was a favoured spot as a lovers’ leap. Having strong communities of Muslim and Hindu means arranged marriages are a norm, and lovers who have affairs without the families’ sanction are destined to be isolated. Suicide could seem the only way, and the south east coastline was the spot. What a desolate last journey those kids must have gone on, from whatever part of the island they came from, through the cane fields and woodland, out to this clifftop where others picnic, play and come to see the beauty and force of nature, only to use that force for themselves to wipe out their existence.