Updated on the 19th of November 2014
Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of seeing live creatures being enclosed in a limited space. I do my best to (try to) stay objective while writing about those but my opinions might still pop up from time to time!
During our little stay at Le Coin de Mire hotel, we made the most of being in the North and decided to go visit the aquarium.
Our last visit to the Mauritius Aquarium, both for my husband and myself, went back to many years. I still had a very clear memory of the aquarium building, but I also remember that at the time the culture of algae on the fish tanks were more noticeable than the animals inside, so I was wondering if this had changed.
Indeed, it had… as well as the location!
We went back and forth three or four times in Trou-aux-Biches (where it was located before), trying to find the aquarium building that we both remembered. We had aimed to get there for the shark feeding time, and time was running out…
So as we were getting nowhere, we finally asked our way in a little ’boutik’ and were told that the Mauritius Aquarium was now – and had been for quite a while – in Pointe aux Piments! So much for checking that out.
When you get to Pointe aux Piments, it is actually quite easy to find as it is right on the coastal road and well indicated by several banner signs. This new aquarium has apparently adopted an ecological system of operation, which is quite nice.
We finally got to the aquarium just in time for the shark feeding and the little family ran to the shark tank while I paid for the tickets. So we started with the sharks, tortoise and big eels first, (which is usually kind of the end of the visit) and then went back to the beginning to follow the right path for the visit.
The tanks are clean and we enjoyed seeing all the different kind of fish.
In fact, they were actually so clean and well lit that it was difficult for me to take photos without having my reflection in the tank! Like in this photo:
The whole visit took us just under an hour, but I was a bit slow taking photographs and filming the different fish… I think that without all the snapshots it will probably be quicker than that.
There were some really beautiful sea creatures (that I think I would much rather see swimming in the sea, but hey!).
I had never seen a ‘laffe feuille’ (leaf scorpionfish) before. Here he is accompanied by a little female – I think as it seems that the male is bigger with a long fin – Lyretail Anthias.
The ribbon eel (anguille ruban) is quite interesting as they start their life black and are male in gender. As they grow up their fin becomes yellow and they become blue as adults. At some point, the yellow color starts taking over and this indicates that the eel is going to change gender and become female to reproduce. Don’t you think this is fascinating? I do!
Here is a Banded Cleaner Shrimp, hiding in the rocks…
…and a Durban Dancing Shrimp coming out.
Some of the tanks had us be a bit more attentive to find their inhabitants!
Can you find the Honeycomb Grouper? It is nearly the same color as the rocks and could easily be missed.
And here, a Coral Crab is hiding between two rocks.
As for the Stone fish (Laffe Laboue), I might have missed it if it were not for the sign. What an ugly little bugger (and quite dangerous too!)
In a bigger tank, we saw lots of different kind of fish. Here are some silver moonies (silver & yellow), a surgeonfish (yellowish & black), a painted sweetlips (the black & white one) and a couple of Seychelles butterfly fish (the two yellow ones)…
… a beautiful scorpion fish (laffe volant) who didn’t want to swim a bit lower to allow me to take a more decent photo – what an impertinent! …
… and some very big batfish & a goldline seabream, but who wouldn’t stay still either, which resulted in blurry photos.
While another one didn’t like our company and turned his back on us.
A tank crowded with very nice lobsters.
And another magnificent one here.
A moray eel coming out of hiding.
There’s many more fish and sea creatures than the above but I couldn’t include all of them, so here is a little video of some of the other tanks. I particularly like the little Nemo fish (clown fish) swimming in the anemone, and the big tank makes me think of a windows screensaver!
The shell display however, should be cleaned on a more regular basis as it was a bit misty from the sand and didn’t give us a clear view of the beautiful Mauritian shells. The display itself could also be refreshed I believe.
Ah! And I forgot to mention that they have a very modern and elaborate way to fix the algae to the rocks in the aquariums… elastic bands! :) Just for the smile of the day!
At the end of the visit we went through the little gift shop, where Fred picked up ‘Le Cerneen’, one of the very first Mauritian newspaper, founded by Adrien d’Epinay in 1832. When it ceased publishing in 1982, it was about the oldest newspaper in French in the world. Here is the edition from the 11th of september 1882.
During my visit to the Photography Museum, I also saw some editions and the old press machines that were used to create newspapers at the time. Quite a hefty job!
A little cafeteria finishes the visit if you feel like something to eat or drink.
On the left above is what is supposed to be a feel and touch pool (I think)… but there were no signs or explanations that mentioned its purpose, at least none that I could see, and the water didn’t seem all that clean, so we didn’t try it out. (Update April 2012: there will soon be a sign posted for the touch pool.)
Address: Coastal Road, Pointe aux Piments
Tel: 261 4561
Fax: 261 5080
Monday to Saturday: 9:30 am to 5 pm
Sunday & Public holidays: 10 am to 4 pm
Closed on 25th of December & 1st of January
Feeding time: 11 am & 3pm daily
Prices (at time of page update):
Adults – Rs 300
Children – Rs 150
Family ticket (2 adults & 2 children) – Rs 800