Planning For Two Days in the Seychelles
After our fun ceremony for crossing the equator, we headed for the Seychelles. The seas had been incredibly calm since we left Athens. On this leg, the winds picked up a bit and put the ship’s schedule in trouble. After much discussion with the corporate head office, the captain finally made the decision to modify our 2 day plan for the Seychelles. The order of the two ports we would visit was changed. We were planning to get a taste test of the Seychelles and had no firm plans booked. But both the ship excursion staff and those with private tours had to scramble to adjust to the change.
Approaching the Seychelles we got very much the same feeling as when we had visited the Maldives. The water was crystal clear blue and so inviting.
We had really wanted to scuba dive in the Seychelles. With rain in the weather forecast we had not made firm plans. It rained for both days in the Seychelles and when the schedule got changed, we were glad we had not paid for diving excursions. But we would still be looking to get a water taste test of the Seychelles!
Exploring Praslin By Taxi
The first port in the Seychelles was Praslin. This was an island with a small dock so we were anchored in the bay and tendered to shore.
We planned to get a taste test of the Seychelles on our own. On the dock there were taxis waiting. One of the drivers came up and engaged us in a discussion about what we wanted to do. After negotiating a price, we headed out.
We had done some research on the beach options. After debating various options with our driver, we decided on the smaller beach known for the “best snorkelling”. We were happy to learn that there was a fish bbq spot by the beach. The driver said we could head up to the larger beach at Anse Lazio or Anse Boudin after we snorkelled if we wanted to try a second spot.
Our driver had good English with a french cajun accent. He gave a running commentary as we headed up the island. David was able to get all of his questions answered!
Our Own Deserted Beach
The taxi stopped at a totally deserted beach at Anse Boudin. We were not sure about staying but the driver convinced us that this was the spot. He pointed to the sign that said this was the “Best Snorkelling” point.
There was indeed a small food stand across the street from the beach but it looked quite deserted. David finally found someone in the shop who admitted that there were only coconuts and bananas to offer. He did confirm that this was a good snorkelling spot. We were directed to head out and let the current take us to the rocks.
We were game to try this spot as our taste test of the Seychelles. After all, it was a beautiful deserted beach. The taxi driver got back in his car and said he would be back in 1.5 hours. We could then go to the bigger beach for lunch. David and I sure hoped he would be back. The local jitney bus passed by once while we were there. Having done no research on the bus system on this small island, we were not looking forward to that as our backup plan!
The “Best Snorkelling” Beach
We shed our clothes and headed into the water. The visibility was low and the current steady. Once we passed the sandy area, the bottom was covered in grass and kelp-like plants. We could see fish well camouflaged in the weeds. When David stopped, I knew he had spotted something. A sea turtle poked its nose up from the grass and then led David on a chase.
Heading over to the rocks, we could see more sea life. It was not the crystal clear blue waters we had been dreaming of for our taste test of the Seychelles. Certainly the water was not as inviting as it seemed as we cruised in. And not as clear as snorkelling in the Maldives! But it was a good swim and we did indeed find things to see snorkelling.
We enjoyed having the beach to ourselves. There was not another soul as far as we could see.
David went over to the SeaSide Cabanne to get his coconut drink. After watching the show, David hammed it up with the owner. Not the fish shack on the beach we had been promised but a good way to finish up our visit to this deserted beach.
The cab driver got back just as the skies started to get black. Rain was coming. We decided not to go to another beach but back to the ship. This would be it for our taste test of the Seychelles on this island.
Arriving in Victoria, Mahe
The next day we docked in Mahe at the small cruise terminal by the main town of Victoria. As the sun rose, we were greeted with a view of wind turbines against the sunrise. A great way to start a day! It was a busy port and through the day we saw ships coming and going. This was certainly a much busier island than Praslin. It would be an interesting contrast.
As we exited the ship, we got our first sign of Christmas. Around town we would find Christmas decorations and nativity scenes blending in with the palm trees. It was our reminder that Christmas was coming even if it did not feel like it for us. We would spend Christmas in Cape Town and hoped every sign of Christmas might get us in the holiday spirit!
This was one of the few times on this cruise when we were actually docked right at the cruise terminal. It was a short walk off the ship, through the working port and out the gate.
Walking Around Victoria
Taxis and tour guides were available when we left the ship. They were prepared with their maps of the island to lure you in. We decided to walk into town for our second taste test of the Seychelles. You could see black clouds in the sky but we chose not to take our rain ponchos. We did regret this decision!
The town of Victoria is surrounded by low mountains. When we looked at the map we could see that the centre of the island was quite high with the twisty turns roads characterized in mountains. One of the cruise ship excursions went up into the mountains.
We followed the path along the shore. Looking back we saw the ship in the harbour. This would be one port where we didn’t have to worry about finding the port.
Along the way we stopped several times. The Inogire statue was highlighted against the mountains. The clock in the centre of town was photographed from multiple vantage points. We could see the rain clouds moving in over the town.
Taking Shelter From The Rain
As the sky darkened, we found an Italian coffee shop for cover. La Dolce Vita Cafe had good strong coffee and a wide selection of gelato. This was a real taste test of the Seychelles! I had a chance to rest before we headed back out to explore the town.
We packed to leave and hadn’t made 10 steps before the skies opened up. You could barely see through the rain at one point. Everyone headed for an awning or doorway for shelter. We stayed under the awning of the coffee shop before like locals we moved awning to awning.
By the time we hit the local market, the rain had stopped. We always try to visit the local market when we are in a new town. This market had great displays of fresh fish. We knew where the ship chef was shopping for dinner! There was fresh produce, an interesting array of spices and even a bright display of flowers.
Heading Back To the Ship
We decided we would walk back to the ship rather than grabbing a taxi. A different route would give us another view of Victoria. This was a great plan until it started to pour rain again. We saw no taxis nor any building where taxis might congregate.
We again walked from awning to awning until we ran out of buildings. Since it was warm, we finally just covered the stuff we were carrying with plastic and wandered back in the rain. We even stopped along the way to catch a few final memories.
The rain continued through the afternoon. We were happy we had not paid for a ship excursion out on the water. Not booking scuba diving had turned out to be a very good decision.
We Liked Our Taste Test of the Seychelles
We really liked our taste test of the Seychelles. The people we met were all friendly and welcoming. Unlike many other tourist spots we had stopped, we did not find swarms of people trying to sell us cheap trinkets. Like many islands, it was not an inexpensive place to stay. But the diversity of the different islands would offer different experiences.
We were sad to have missed the chance to scuba dive. While our snorkelling experience was only ok, it did not dim our desire to seek out the crystal blue waters we saw surrounding the islands. We would definitely want to come back!
Our next stop was in Kenya. We would have our first chance to see wild African animals!
Have you had a taste test of the Seychelles? What was your favourite island? Did you find a less expensive way to visit?