Seychelles: 2 weeks in paradise

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Mar 7th, 2005, 01:38 AM
  #1
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Seychelles: 2 weeks in paradise


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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Mar 7th, 2005, 04:59 AM
  #2
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Queenie - Your trip sounds great. We thought to do one of the cruises around the islands, but I'm just not all that good on boats for more than a few hours. We stayed with land-based hotels instead, but did get out on the water on a few days. So good for you all doing the island cruise.

Pleased to hear that they now have a modern market at Mahe. When we visited, while we found an interesting market, it was rather shabby. But we did love the open market throughout that downtown area on Mahe where we spent our morning upon arrival (having come from 5-days on Praslin - w/ 1-day trip to La Digue) had the driver drop us in town, and deliver our bags to our hotel. After enjoying our morning at the market, we just hopped on a local bus to our hotel.

And have to agree that is was such a pleasure not to be bombarded with touts anywhere on these islands. There were more than enough shops to make purchases and it was never a hard sell.

Glad that you enjoyed these beautiful islands; for us they will always remind us of paradise.
 
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Mar 7th, 2005, 06:05 AM
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Wow, I would love to do a similar trip, but I think I'd only get a week, not two.

Can you provide a little info on how you went about making the arrangements and selscting your catamaran?

Thanks, Michael
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Mar 8th, 2005, 01:55 AM
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Sandi, yes there is a supermarket in Victoria, but it is still spartan compared to western standards. There is actually a supermarket in La Digue that we found even more complete than the one in Victoria.

Michael, we chartered our catamaran through Sunsail (www.sunsail.com). We have charterd through them in Turkey, Greece and Belize twice and have had no problems. We got a 38 foot (4 rooms, 2 heads) for 4 people and it was just the right size. If you do not sail, they also have charter with Skipper.

Moorings is also in the seychelles, but they were twice the price. They do a bit more hand holding with the customers, and the boats are a bit nicer.

The sailing was easy - we motored most off the time. Typically you anchor ourt and dingy into town. In La Digue we did anchor stern to quai and it was a fun community atmosphere.

Do not despair if you only have a week. The sample sailing route on the website (http://www.sunsail.com/brochure/bare...hp?rescode=sey) is set up for a week. You will see everything. The only issue is the long, long flight. If you are coming from the US, I would recommend a day or 2 in europe on both ends.

I also forgot to mention that we were there during Whale shark migration. Its the largest fish in the world. Unfortunately we did not see them, but some fellow sailers had seen them the previous week, so they are out there.

Sailing is really the way to go, because you can get into the nooks and crannies of the islands that most tourists never see. Would be glad to offer more details.
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Oct 22nd, 2005, 03:18 AM
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Topping for cybor
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Oct 23rd, 2005, 09:19 AM
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Hello Queenie,
Thanks for sharing your fabulous itinerary. It makes me want to leave now. We're doing a cabin charter so we won't have nearly the amount of flexibility that you had. It's a 7 day trip starting in Victoria and anchoring at:
Day 1 St. Anne Marine Park - snorkel
2 La Digue - Ride bikes
3 Cocos Islands - Praslin -hike
4 Grande Soeur - barbeque - snorkel
5 Curieuse - marine park - tortoise
6 Cousin Island - marine reserve,bird santuary
7 Return
It definetly sounds like it won't be nearly as layed back as your trip but still sounds great. Dream Yacht has a 11 day trip but we just couldn't think of adding any more time to our already gone away for too long itineraries.
Thanks again;
Sherry
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