No sooner have the Senior Plumes departed than a weather window has appeared for our next leg to Comoros so it’s time for a quick blog to catch up!
We very much enjoyed having Susie’s parents Ros and Richard with us on board Adina. They are regular visitors and supporters so we try our best to ensure they have a good time. We think we’ve got it sussed now – a leisurely start to the day with a cup of tea in bed, one activity a day to keep people busy and seeing the country, a swim if possible in the late afternoon and a gin and tonic at sunset. All of these we can do!
Both parents enjoy horticulture so we hired a car and drove around Mahe stopping off to explore various gardens, a tea plantation, assorted bays and the impressive roads that wind up and down the steep hills of Mahe. The gardens at Le Jardin de Roi with their big collection of fruit trees and medicinal plants coupled with impressive views won first prize.
After a few days acclimatising it was time for a trip out on Adina and we headed off to the west coast of Mahe. Weather is weather, there is nothing we can do about it, and the forecast showed a breezy day. All was going well as we found ourselves sailing upwind in open seas crashing happily through the waves. Sadly it wasn’t to last as the seas got lively and Ros has now joined us all in experiencing the joys and horrors of being seasick! Not to fear, we found a sheltered bay and set up camp and explored a bit more enjoying a waterfall and some snorkelling in the sea. Alas the second night proved to be a rolly one on board so we upped sticks and headed back to the marina in Victoria. No bad thing as we now had an extra day and Ros and Richard set to helping with a few chores that needed doing on Adina. Top prize went to them for deciding to fix the head’s (toilet) door that has always jammed and we’ve never got round to fixing!
Next it was off on the high speed catamaran ferry to explore the islands of Praslin and La Digue. At the villa in Praslin Ros and Richard had heeded to the owners request for some cheap tobacco from the airport and our reward was being upgraded to two very nice spacious apartments. Again we hired a car and explored the joys of this wonderful island and couldn’t resist dining at ‘Bon Bon Plume’ where we met with fellow cruisers Davina and Antony for a leisurely lunch.
The highlight has to be our trip to Cousin Island Bird Sanctuary. The procedure is you make your way to the island by either private or charter boat (in our case a small motor boat) for 10am when a small launch comes out to pick everyone up to go ashore for a guided walk. Cousin Island has small breaking waves and it requires skill to come ashore. The launch in the form of a fibreglass boat that can take around ten people simply times a wave and then throttles up and you are driven full speed onto the beach, the launch sliding up the sand – a nice and comfortable landing! Cousin Island literally teems with birds, the reason being there are no predators and efforts have been made by the Nature Seychelles organisation to rid the island of any human-introduced vegetation and predators. Many birds including the Magpie Robin and Seychelles Warbler have been rescued from near extinction. As it is breeding season birds nests are literally everywhere, trees are covered in Lesser and Brown Noddy birds, and right by the paths at the base of trees the beautiful white long tailed tropical birds nest. Most obscurely the White Fairy Tern doesn’t even make a nest but finds a suitable branch where it sits precariously looking after its egg and subsequent chickling!
Having enjoyed Praslin we headed off to the laid back island of La Digue where commuting is mainly done by bicycle and we duly hired bikes for exploring. A trip to the beach and the Senior Plumes were in agreement that Anse Source d’Argent has to be the most gorgeous beach in the world. Lots of white sand, coconut trees, green vegetation and the giant granite boulders the Seychelles are famous for.
The thrill factor on our time in La Digue came from visiting a restaurant called Bellevue right up in the hills. A truck with benches in the back picks up all the guests and then charges up the hill in time for sunset – you literally hold on and laugh with delight as the driver does a good job in getting to the top. Magnificent views and a super creole meal.
Two weeks flew by and it was time for the usual sad goodbyes. We’ll miss Richard pointing out the huge fruit bats that you get in the Seychelles and Ros getting enthralled about the fish she saw when snorkelling. Thank you as ever to both for all you do in supporting us, or should we say putting up with us and our crazy adventure! At least we know the next visit is not too far away in November when we will visit England for Richard’s 70th birthday – please remember how we offered you a chilled air-conditioned boat and ensure the heating is on full power for our first winter experience in three years! Coffee in bed would be marvellous too. See you soon.
So now we start the trio of big trips on our road to Cape Town – each one a separate challenge in itself. The ‘tough’ trio comprises Seychelles to Comoros, Madagascar to Richards Bay, South Africa, and then Richards Bay round to Cape Town, South Africa. The challenge presented by Seychelles to Comoros is that it is six days of upwind sailing and the south east trade winds accelerate around the north east coast of Madagascar bringing big seas with them. Sailing to Comoros rather than direct to Madagascar allows you to sail a better angle off the wind and in theory allows a more comfortable trip, but few report it to be anything other than uncomfortable! We’ve prepared as best we can and the forecast looks good, touching lots of wood, hoping it holds. The Comoros is seldom explored and promises a real taste of Africa. We’re certainly looking forward to it, we’ll be off in the next few days.
As for the Seychelles, we loved it, it’s everything we like, a warm climate, magnificent scenery, great beaches, good hiking, lots to do, friendly people – we’ve vowed we’ll be back.