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Knorr’s scientists and crew rely on water taxi driver Pierre Louis Alain for transportation from the ship across the harbor to Port Louis. Alain left school at age 12 and started driving the taxi at 13. He speaks seven languages. “I learn so many things by driving a water taxi,” says Alain. “This is where I became educated. The taxi is my window to the world.”

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Thumb-shaped Pouce Mountain pokes up from Port Louis’ waterfront. It is part of the Moka Range, one of three main ranges on Mauritius formed long ago by volcanic activity. While the island’s mountains do have unusual shapes, none are incredibly high (the highest, the Piton de la Petite Riviere Noire, is 2,716 feet).

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