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Seychelles: 2 weeks in paradise

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As I sit here typing I can hear the sleet pounding my windows. It’s hard to believe that a week ago I was paddling around the Indian Ocean in the warm sunshine.

My husband and I along with another couple chartered a catamaran for a 2 week sail around the Seychelles. The trip started with a 9 hour flight from Paris to Mahe. As we took off we flew directly over the twinkling Eiffel tower; the perfect start to our trip.

Europe had been cold and snowy. When we landed in Mahe we began to sweat. We took a cab to our boat, then provisioned in Victoria where there is a large open market selling fish and vegetables. There is also a modern supermarket nearby. We bought cases of SeyBrew, the local beer and Diet Coke. All averaged about $2 per bottle. Bread was about $1 per loaf.
Just FYI, we experienced a much better exchange rate with US $ than with ChF or Euro.

For 2 weeks we sailed including circumnavigation Mahe, St Anne Marine Park (fabulous), Praslin, La Digue, Cousine, Cousin, Curieuse, Aride and Grand Soeur.

Food:
We heard the Seychelles were expensive, so we brought a suitcase full of food from home (peanut butter, tuna, chips, bars etc).
We caught fish daily (Bonita) and usually grilled it on the boat. One day we caught a large dorado and had one of the resorts cook it for us. Delicious. We also ate plenty of red snapper, but the locals called it red fish so I am unsure what it really was, but it was very tasty.
We only ate at a restaurant once; Chez Marston in La Digue. It was incredible. We had fish curry, prawns in Creole sauce, grilled fish all washed down with SeyBrew and vanilla ice cream for dessert; $100 for 4 persons.

In one of the harbors of Praslin, a man was selling his wife’s Creole sauce. It was a mixture of peppers and spices, and we added it to everything: fish, our canned tuna from home, peanut butter sandwiches, and it made a fine dip for Pringles potato chips. We even pulled it out of our carry on bags and added it to our airline food on the flight home.

Wildlife:
The snorkeling was good. I saw dolphins, rays, octopus, lobsters, and many Hawksbill turtles in addition to the usual fish. The most amazing sight was 9 Parrotfish the size of a kitchen table swimming in the shallows. We also spotted two schools (? Heards? Groups?) of 40+ hawksbill turtles swimming in the open waters between Praslin and Curieuse. They look so comedic swimming above water with their heads raised.

The tortoises on Curieuse were great. They are like giant dogs as they love to have their heads scratched. When you pat them they stand up and try to lean against you. One of them was enamored with my pink flip flop sandal to the point of me taking it off while he flopped on top of it.

The islands are a birders paradise. The fruit bats (flying foxes) looked like they had come directly off a Bacardi rum bottle.

The people were so warm and friendly. I have always felt the world was connected by “The Bold and the Beautiful” soap opera as I have seen it dubbed in so many countries, but one of the rangers told me they love 'Santa Barbara'! Most folks speak English, French and Creole. The country was much richer than I expected. Very few touts or begging.

Also, be aware that the marine parks only take Euro or $. They do not accept their own currency for park admittance, which became a bit irritating.

The flight back was 12 hours due to strong winds, but it was fascinating to watch our progress up the coast of Somalia, the mountainous Saudi Arabia. We even saw the pyramids from the window.
It was a very restful time, snorkeling, reading, sailing and listening to 93.6 FM Seychelles radio mix of French Hip Hop , reggae and folk tunes. I wish I were still there!

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