Second visit to Seychelles

Our trip starts, as usual, at Amsterdam Airport, where we meet before our flight and have a nice drink together. We are a small group this time, only eight people, sailing on a Lagoon 380 catamaran. After a long and sleepless flight, we arrive in Mahé. Since it’s our second trip to the Seychelles, we pretty much know what to expect and what to do. The arrival routine goes very smoothly this time. We pass through customs, get local SIM cards, and exchange some cash just before a minibus picks us up and brings us to the marina. On the spot, we receive good news: our boat is ready, and it’s only ten in the morning. The base manager recognizes us (maybe because of all the issues with the boat last time) and gets us through the paperwork fast and ahead of the line. While I check our catamaran, part of the crew goes to Spar to get finish our provisioning. Provisioning is quite pricy in Seychelles, so we also try to bring as much expensive stuff, like alcohol and coffee, from Europe.

We are ready to leave the pontoon around noon, although I haven’t slept for a long time by now. We are not going far, just a few miles of motoring to our overnight anchorage at Saint Anne. After we drop anchor and check that everything is in good order, I get a beer and go to bed. I wake up around seven to find myself surrounded by the rest of the charter fleet.  Few of the boats are only 20 meters away, but the weather is calm, so it’s not a big issue.

Day Two

We decide not to follow the rest of the charter fleet to Praslin but stay at Mahé for one more night. This way, we can have all the anchorages to ourselves and avoid the crowds. We sail to Baie Beau Vallon and decide to go ashore, which is easier said than done. Quite strong breaking waves build up close to the shore, and our dinghy almost rolls over. This is a very busy part of the island, you can find pretty much anything here. I personally cannot resist the temptation and rent a jet ski. I always do this when it’s convenient and not crazy expensive. 

We also find a place with a view and decent sushi. We spend the rest of the evening onboard. To get back, we devise a new tactic to overcome the breaking waves. Two people hold the dinghy’s nose to the waves while everyone else gets inside. Then we walk the dinghy as far as possible, sometimes with water up to our necks, so the waves are less intense, and only then do the last two people get inside the dinghy. This approach needs some extra time and effort, but it works quite well.

Day Three

This trip, we decide to dive a lot. In total, we are planning six dives in three sessions of two dives per day, and today is our first two dives. The dive boat comes quite early and picks us up directly from the catamaran, which is very convenient. We don’t go to the dive sites directly, first, we go to a fishing port where a pickup truck drives us to the dive center where we get our gear and do some paperwork. It’s a fun ride in the back of the pickup through the island.

The same truck brings us back to the dive boat, and we head to the first dive spot. I test out a new waterproof case for my DJI Mini, but unfortunately, all my photos end up blurry. Trust me, the dive sites are quite good with diverse nature and sea life. The dive boat drops us back at our catamaran after the dives, where we have a dinner and some drinks.

Day Four

I don’t sleep in late on boats, but today I wake up especially early, before sunrise. After some consideration, I decide to sail to Silhouette Island while everyone is asleep. It’s a short crossing, no more than 12 miles, and we arrive at the island just in time for breakfast. 

The island is private and has a Hilton resort located there. There’s also a Hilton academy, dive center, couple restaurants and bars. We need to ask permission to enter the island and pay an entrance fee, but we can refill our water tanks and deposit trash here. When all the formalities are over, we split into two groups. Some of us explore the island and enjoy a hike in nature, while others decide to chill in one of the restaurants. At the end of the day, we meet for a nice dinner all together.

Day Five

Today also starts quite early, we need to be at the dive center at 09:00. Despite the high class of the hotel, the dive center is much simpler, with quite basic equipment and boat. However, the dive masters and dive sites are great. Each dive lasts a full hour, and you can see stingrays and all kinds of different fish. We return to the shore around noon, quite tired and hungry, so we decide to go for some pizza for lunch. 

Day Six

Today is our longest leg, we are sailing towards Praslin, 35 nautical miles to go, or approximately 7 hours. The wind is very mild, and we have to motor, which is not the most exciting ride but is chill and easy.

Upon arrival, we need to get some supplies, first of all, fuel for the dinghy, which is not that easy. The closest gas station is in the city, 20 minutes away by car, and the local taxi rate is not very friendly. At least I can chat with locals, who tells me about development plans for the island and all the associated issues. While in the city, I also get a cable for our stereo (that breaks almost immediately) and some provisioning as well. We are done here and can go to our overnight stop at Curieuse Bay. On the way, we decide to catch some fish, and oh man, this is a big mistake. Apparently, local rangers don’t really like when visitors fish in the national park. We honestly did not know that we were already in protected waters. We need to surrender our fishing rod to the rangers, no other options. No more fishing for us, shame. We decide to pay a visit to the rangers and say sorry, there was no bad intent from our side. They are quite chill guys and care a lot about nature, which is great. To soften the emotional damage from this failure, we hang out with giant turtles, they roam free on the island and like being petted a lot.

Day Seven

While it’s not crazy hot, we decide to go for a short hike to the other side of the island. It’s cool, but we are too lazy to go both ways. Very conveniently, there are plenty of speedboats there. They just came with groups of tourists and are now just chilling. For 15 bucks, one of the captains agrees to bring us back to the main bay. 

The rangers offer us a BBQ for lunch, it’s a bit pricey, but everything is extremely fresh and quite delicious. In the second half of the day, we head to Anse Lazio, an incredibly beautiful place with a very cool spot called Honesty Bar. After we finish the supply of Slow Turtle Cider they had, we head home to make another round of BBQ on board.

Day Eight

I am not really a beach person, but the beach at Anse Lazio is way too nice to skip, plus it looks like we can get some breakfast there. Unfortunately, it only looks that way. In reality, one place is closed, another is only for hotel guests, and so on. I go back to the boat to cook myself a great breakfast, and my intolerance for beaches just grows a little. It’s time to go to La Digue. It’s only two hour sail, this is a very convenient thing about the Seychelles, everything is close by. We drop anchor next to the entrance to the harbor.  The place looks way different than last time. In the two years since our last visit, a new harbor has been built with quite some room for commercial and visiting vessels. The rest of the island remains the same. We get some beers and watch the sunset from the beach. For dinner, we go to the same old place we visited last time next to the fish market, Fish Trap Restaurant & Bar, a cozy place with reasonable prices.

Day Nine

This island has one of the best bakeries in the whole Seychelles, always fresh bread and pastry and of course a decent line, but worth it. On the same street, there is a bike rental shop, and we head there. The plan is to cycle to Petite Anse Beach through the island. It’s a bit hilly and hot but fun. The beach is really nice, with white sand, huge waves, and, most importantly, a bar, my favorite part. On the way back, we stop at an amazing Italian restaurant, a perfect place for lunch. After some more cycling, we return the bikes, buy some presents for parents, and call it a day. Time to go back to the boat.

Day Ten

Today we need to take care of our boat and improve living conditions by getting more fresh water and doing some laundry. How hard can it be to do laundry on the island? To accomplish all this, we go to the Praslin Marina, but the laundry service is closed today, everyone is off. Ok, let’s check some hotels, maybe they can help. Most are not interested at all, but one says yes to our request. Hurray, let’s get a taxi to the other side of the island just to find out on the spot that they are actually busy and cannot help us today. Maybe tomorrow. Great way to spend time and money on a taxi ride. Long story short, we do all the laundry, including bed sheets, ourselves on the boat in two buckets. Fun! 

The second half of the day is much better, we sail to Félicité. The place is so beautiful, and snorkeling is gratifying here. In only a few hours, we spot 12 stingrays, a shark, and a huge variety of different fish. We finish this day with drinks and BBQ on board.

Day Eleven

After a fun night, today’s morning is very chill, and conveniently, we don’t have any big plans for today. We just need to get to Anse Volbert, where we staying for two days. The bay is quite spacious with a couple of restaurants, supermarkets, and most importantly, a dive center. We go there upon arrival to arrange a diving tour for tomorrow. In the evening, we go to one of the restaurants for dinner. Today is an easy and calm day.

Day Twelve

Today we dive for the last time during this trip. We start early as usual, at the dive center at 09:00, and the dive boat is ready to go at 10:00. The dive sites are nice, and we spot octopuses and some cool fish, but our dive masters are a bit too invasive, grabbing and poking everything they see. It’s our second dive with this dive club, and unfortunately, nothing has changed since last time. It’s not that bad, but a dive master should care the most and be a good example for everyone. 

After the second dive, we go to Arts Café to relax and have some beer. At the same time, a tropical rain arrives. We suddenly realize that we might have forgotten to close some hatches on the boat. I don’t mind cooling off and having a fun dinghy ride in the rain, the boat is not that far anyway. For lunch, we get some takeout from a great little store and enjoy it on the beach. While getting food, the crew buys a huge fish from local fishermen. Perfect to go on the grill in the evening.

Day Thirteen

It’s time to go back to Mahé. We start our passage quite late to do the crossing in the hottest part of the day and arrive at the Sainte Anne Marine National Park around 17:00. There is a cool beach bar at Île Moyenne, upon arrival, we hop in the dinghy and go there to relax after the five-hour crossing. At the bar, we get an invite to come tomorrow for a BBQ at lunch. Yeah, we can do that, sure.

Day Fourteen

Yesterday my crew noticed some hiking trails on the island and wants to explore a bit. I am way too tired since it’s almost the end of the trip and decide to stay on board instead. We agree to meet for lunch on the island. I am glad I decided to stay, around 11:00, all the charter boats start arriving at the same spot and dropping anchor left and right, some way too close for my comfort. It’s a last-day stop for everyone before returning to base. After making sure the boat is safe, I join my crew ashore for a BBQ. After that, it’s time to head back to the base for us as well. 

We almost have a trip without any issues or problems with the boat, but not quite yet. When starting the engines, I notice that the batteries are not charging, which is a problem since we need a running generator to raise the anchor. After some discussion with the charter company, we decide to raise the anchor by hand and go straight to the marina, skipping the gas station, and deal with the generator there. The marina is busy with a lot of boaters enjoying the last moments of their vacation, and it would be wise for us to do the same, but it’s a bit boring.

Instead, we head to the party happening in one of the bars ashore. To our surprise, we are not allowed inside because we are not dressed appropriately. Well, we are not going to give up that easily. Back to the boat to find the fanciest and cleanest outfit. Now I am wearing shoes, a shirt, and glasses, very representative. After such a transformation, we are allowed to join this fancy party, which we celebrate with a bottle of rum. Not the smartest move before a long flight the next day, but what the hell, it’s our last night in this island paradise. Hopefully, we come here again in a couple of years.