From Chimneys and Banyan Trees to Playing with Fire on a Tropical Island

This is a repeat of a facebook post of mine from the end of last year before my Flog became a Blog.  We are back on this magical island and I thought that the story was worth a revisit ……

There are things to discover about Mauritius that seem to come straight out of Walt Disney’s Fantasia. The French and later the English, planted sugar cane and erected sugar mills, two hundred and fifty nine of them by the year 1858. These family owned farms were slowly swallowed up as many became part of large companies over the years. As a result, there are numerous ancient and ruined chimneys across the island, some from the disused sugar mills, and some that were used in the preparation of lime from corals.

A few nights ago, Dave, our son Steve and I, went on a mission, armed with cameras, tripods and a snack supper, to look for a chimney that was not too close to any villages or settlements, with a view to photographing it alongside the Milky Way. Unfortunately the sky was hijacked by numerous passing clouds but, when we reached our destination, we optimistically set up our equipment and it turned into a magical evening.

We had used google earth and maps to choose our location and fervently hoped that we wouldn’t be trespassing. When we arrived, we found a chimney that stood out beautifully against the sky, with a tall ficus tree attached and aerial roots running up and down the brickwork. A perfect photographic subject.

I have a deep love for trees, believing that all have a story to tell and as luck would have it, off to one side was a MASSIVE Banyan Tree (Ficus Benghalensis) so, with the heart of an eight year old and stirred by a memory of Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree, my instinct was to explore it immediately.

Lo and behold, buried in amongst the dreadlocked hanging roots was another chimney, so hidden away as to be COMPLETELY invisible from a distance. It was difficult to photograph showing the scale, but here are a few images which I hope will give you some idea of how magical it was. When you look at the image of the whole tree, the chimney is buried in the far left hand side. We used a lantern and a torch to light it up so that you can see bits of it in the closer version.

Who knows how long it will be, or if I will live long enough to see the other tower swallowed up in the same way, but what a lovely imprint I have in the deep hollows of my imagination and I’d love to go back there one day.






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