|Mr Louis-Alexandre Anselme - 2011 (Source) John Buchanan, Mark, Mimi, Me, Alan Gawith Circa 1976 (Buchanan)|
It is lovely when research leads you to discover the unexpected. I was looking for a photo to go with the poem below and discovered an interview conducted in 2011 which was made with the very gentleman I had just written about (See Photo Source above). I remember Mr Louis-Alexandre Anselme as ‘Mimi’. I had the pleasure of diving from his boat in 1976 when I was thirteen. Back then he told my father that at 50 he considered himself old, I am glad that the years in between appear to have treated him kindly.
And so to the memories;
Mimi would meet us on the beach in his boat and there would normally be considerable jocular discussion about how many fingers of rum had been consumed the night before. Once the boat was loaded we would set off for one of the many dive sites around Trou aux Biches. I remember he called one; ‘Jenny’s Place’ after my mother.
My lasting memory was of his laugh lined face staring across the bay while he lined up the marks, perhaps a tree with a house or some other prominent feature in the far distance, he would then order the release of the anchor which was in fact a stone on a rope. On submerging we would invariably find the rock sitting plum centre on the dive site.
When it came time for us to leave Mauritius we had a final dive at Trou aux Biches. After the dive Mimi invited us back to his tiny house where he offered our whole family large beakers of Advocaat which at the age of 12 and 13 my brother and I found much too much to handle. I seem to remember the two of us slipping them to my Dad, and Mum having to drive us home.
This poem is about Mimi’s anchor which being improvised sometimes fell short of the bottom.
Early Memories Mauritius I - Mimi’s Anchor
Mimi was a fisherman,
he owned his own pirogue.
He used to take us diving;
according to my log.
Mimi was a master,
he knew every local mark.
When he dropped the anchor over
he knew exactly where he’d parked.
Mimi’s anchor was a rock
tied to the only rope he owned.
When we were out diving
his goats were sure to roam.
Sometimes on the deeper dives
you’d hear his propeller turning
and if you didn’t spot the rock
your head would soon be burning.
For hanging ten feet from the bottom
the rock would hurtle round
providing that vital anchor line
that keeps divers safe and sound.
John Carré Buchanan
18 April 2012