During their recent port visit to Port Louis, Mauritius, the crew of HMAS Anzac had the opportunity to participate in a beach sports day with members of the National Coast Guard of Mauritius.
Games of beach volleyball and soccer were played on the famous Tamarin Beach, with and paddle boarding in the Indian Ocean and the mountains of Mauritius providing a spectacular backdrop.
A keen beach volleyball player, Able Seaman Electronics Technician Andrew Sharp was impressed by the Mauritian team’s enthusiasm and competitive spirit.
“We arrived at the beach to find part of the beach cordoned off by the Police, with the Mauritian Coast Guard members formed up in squads, looking sharp and like they were taking things very seriously," he said.
“Once the games started, it was clear that we were all out there to enjoy the games and get to know each other a little.
“It was a great afternoon, and even though the Mauritians clearly beat us in the volleyball, everyone came away with a smile on their face."
Playing soccer on the sandy beach also proved to be a enjoyable challenge, with Able Seaman Marine Technician Kelly Chilton getting into the competitive spirit.
“Both teams had some good players, but having been at sea for the past few months, soccer skills have not been regularly practiced by any of our crew.
“It was probably lucky for us that the goals used for the game were very small – I suspect the Mauritian team’s victory would have been much greater otherwise,” Able Seaman Chilton said.
Being the only individual sport on the day, the paddle boarding event was keenly contested, with the number of participants limited only by the number of boards available.
The only female to participate in the paddle boarding was Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Supply Chain Gabi Bryan.
“The event kicked off with a beach sprint to collect our boards, then a paddle out and around a ‘buoy' (actually two of Anzac’s officers) and back to the beach.
“It was a pretty hard race out, with some keen paddlers, but Anzac’s team performed well, with Able Seaman Chilton winning the event.
“After all the events were finished, we all got to relax at the beach and later on enjoyed a BBQ with our Mauritian colleagues,” Able Seaman Bryan said.
Like Australia, Mauritius is a member of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, and events like these help to build the military-to-military (in this case Navy to Coast Guard) bonds between the two nations, particularly as increasing interoperability is a keen theme for development among the Indian Ocean nations.
Port Louis was the final international port visit in Anzac’s NORTHERN TRIDENT deployment, which has focused on commemorating the Centenary of Anzac, building interoperability with allies and strengthening Australian links to international communities.