Jim and Jane Hildebrand are on a four-month vacation to Mauritius and South Africa. Students from the Grade 9 English Class at J.M. Olds Collegiate in Twillingate pose questions to them about their experiences and the locale. Keep looking to the Pilot for future questions from students and travel highlights.
Q. Beth Burton - What is the weather like right now in Mauritius? It's snowing for the first time this season in Twillingate. (Note: This question was sent Nov. 29.)
A. Jim Hildebrand — It is hot! In Grand Gaube, Mauritius where Jane and I are staying this month, the temperature is around 29-30 degrees and at night it will go down to 24-25. Fortunately, because Mauritius is an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean there are beautiful sea breezes that make the heat bearable.
When I get up in the morning, the first thing I do (yes, before turning on the coffee pot) is to open the front and back doors of our apartment. Even at sunrise you can feel the onslaught of the day’s temperature, but with a cross draft going through the house it is actually quite comfortable. There is no air conditioning downstairs, so we rely on the breeze and a fan to keep it pleasant. Upstairs there are air conditioners in the bedrooms so it easy to adjust the temperature for a comfortable sleep.
At night time, just like home, the breezes subside. It gets hot and sticky in the house. We also have a gas stove, so at supper time if we are cooking inside, things get warm. Normally, at around 4 p.m., Jane and I will go for a swim in the pool. Although the water is warm it is still invigorating. Now that we are acclimatizing we have even found it a bit chilly. Imagine that. . .a shiver in 30 degree weather.
There are also plenty of beaches. We will sometimes go to the beach, sit in the shade of a tree with our e-readers and just relax in the gentle winds. I thought that swimming in the ocean would be refreshing but the water is also very warm. A gentleman said that it is around 25 degrees. I’ve had baths that weren’t that warm.
As an aside to this question, the fellow who talked about the weather with me said that in winter at 17 degrees the Mauritians won’t go to the beach because the temperature is too cold. When Jane and I visited the Pamplemousse Botanical Gardens many of the fruit trees were barren. Our guide explained that they had a very hard winter and many of the trees aren’t bearing fruit this year.
So, what is a hard winter in Mauritius? He told me that it had dipped down to 14 degrees. Time to dig out the parkas.
Just another note, remember that this is the southern hemisphere so the seasons are opposite to what we have at home. The country has two seasons: a warm humid summer extending from November to April and a relatively cool dry winter from June to September.