We didn’t think it could happen, but we did start to wear a little thin of cute, narrow, winding, sometimes steep, cobblestone streets. It was a 10-hour flight from Paris to Mahe with a stop in Abu Dhabi. The weather upon arrival was grey and threatening, so given our tired & exhausted mood, it fit us well and we took a long nap after driving to our villa. The somewhat short drive proved to be a test of mental mettle with the steering wheel on the right side, driving on the left side, gear shift using your left hand, VERY narrow roads clogged with pedestrians, dogs, parked cars (yes – right on the roadway!), and what we labeled the “crazy blue buses” that would fly past in a whoosh of thick diesel smoke with an inch to spare between it and your side-view mirror. All of this while also trying to find our way and avoid the unforgiving drainage ditches which would have easily swallowed our small Daihatsu.
We woke the next day to better weather and headed to the main city of Victoria (and capital of the Seychelles) to its daily open-air market to stock up on fresh veggies and fruits. The market was hopping with vendors selling fresh fish, vegetables, tropical fruits, teas, spices, and eggs. Prices were fairly reasonable and somewhat negotiable (although we didn’t try real hard). We also managed to hit up the local boulangerie for goodies….
Tropical fruits and coconut from the market: Pineapple, Papaya, mangoes, small bananas, and our favorite of all, passion fruit!
Typical breakfast while in the Seychelles (although we did supplement it with local baked goods and bread, butter, jam).
On the way back to the villa we stopped by what we guessed was their equivalent to Costco (we were told to name-drop our villa name to get past the checker) and picked up a few other items to round out our meals (and bellies :)) . We then headed out to our first tropical beach on the trip named Anse Soleil (appropriately enough). And while we did get some sun for a couple of hours, we also watched a storm move in which made us pack up and move out quickly. We were done anyway having lost our camping & backpacking tans long ago.
One last photo opportunity before the rain
Over the next few days we snorkeled and tried different beaches such as Port Launay, Anse Intendance, Anse Royale, Anse Carana, and Anse Major (“anse” is French for “bay”). We also had a couple of nice sunset dinners on our veranda watching the flying foxes (large fruit bats that locals actually like to eat).
Two beaches were very notable:
– Anse Carana, a small but stunning and serene beach on the north end of Mahe, that, for the better part of the day, only hosted us, a friendly stray dog, a few baby lemon sharks, and a turtle that was looking for a place to lay her eggs (November is the start of the egg-laying season for turtles).
– The second notable beach was Anse Major, a beach only reachable by boat or an hour long hike. We chose the latter passing by a crazy creole local guy we baptized “Batman”, who had a pet flying fox in his front yard (very cute -see below).
He started telling us his life’s trials and tribulations in English (most locals in the Seychelles speak English, Creole, and French fluently), but then switched to French about the time he realized James didn’t speak (or understood) much, and started soliciting his “services” to Sylvie. Sylvie turned to James and said “give him a couple of rupees for the picture of the bat and let’s leave (like now!!)”. James was a bit confused by the quick departure until being filled in on the conversation (especially the “services” he was offering). Note to our readers: use your imagination….wildly! We hiked on in scorching humid air and reached the beach 45 minutes later drenched in sweat and ready for a swim.
It felt sooooo good!
Anse Major beach
Wildlife on the way: Seychelles Blue Pigeons
The taxi boatman, who was on the beach with a few other tourists, gave us a hint where to snorkel on Anse Major and it turned out to be remarkable: lots of fish species (including our favorite – the emperor angel) and corals in good visibility.
Emperor angel fish (last 2 pictures above)