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Anouchka Morinière, Diving Instructor, Paradis Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa : "Here you are at last"

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For more than twenty years, Anouchka has been sharing her love of the ocean with the visitors of Paradis Beachcomber. We all hold "the little girl with the big smile" very close to our hearts.

Anouchka had been waiting for this moment for a long time. "It was as if the sea was whispering to me: Here you are at last!"... says Anouchka fondly, describing how she stood at the foot of the Morne Brabant Mountain, looking out across the pier. It was at this moment that her love affair with the sea began, and it has continued ever since.

The doors of Paradise

"I was born in the centre of Mauritius, landlocked and far from the sea. My parents, like all the villagers, had a great fear and respect for the ocean. As a child, I was a bookworm, and it was in JMG Le Clézio’s novel ‘Le Chercheur d’or’ that I first truly discovered a fascination with the sea. The powerful descriptions and imagery of the sea spray, the high tides and the Morne mountain which borders the lagoon, really opened up my eyes to the mysteries that the sea holds in its depths," says Anouchka.

At the age of 18, she went to the south of the island, hoping to find herself and of course the sea. "I arrived with nothing - no prior knowledge, just an enthusiasm and a dream that I would one day become a diving instructor". She knocked on the doors of all the hotels along the coast, but it was all in vain. "People said, ‘you’re too small and frail for this job’". However, finally Paradis Beachcomber gave her a chance.

The sea is a book you don’t want to end

Paradis Beachcomber is perfectly situated, surrounded by stunning and diverse landscapes, both on land and in the water. "The ocean is bursting with delicate and beautiful coral reefs and shipwrecks that lie over 30 metres deep. You can venture into the nooks and crannies of the elaborate rock formations or you can simply float through the lagoon with the current, and discover the abundant and beautiful marine life - rays, turtles and parrotfish." says Anouchka. Each dive, and each individual or small group is adapted depending on the level of the divers. "There are several instructors at the Diving Centre with specialised qualifications. I particularly like diving with beginners and sharing their first moments in the water. Before their first dive, I reassuringly hold my pupils’ hands; hands that often tremble in mine. I read the apprehension in their face that seeks confidence in mine. As soon as we start the descent, you can see the fear melt away, as they marvel before the magnificent marine life. This is a unique moment, "says Anouchka, who views diving like reading a good book. "When you approach the end of a great novel, you slow down, you savour every moment, and you dread it coming to an end".

To love is to act

Anouchka quotes Cousteau's words as if they are her own: "We love what we protect, and we protect what we know". This sentence guides her approach to diving, and is a message that Beachcomber advocates too. The hotels work with their visitors and Artisans alike to raise awareness of ecology and conservation. "We have endeavoured to create a centre not only for diving but also for teaching guests what we can do to look after the planet.... The sea gives us a lot. It is crucial to learn how best to protect it”, says Anouchka, smiling.