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Published: August 31st 2015
The highway from the airport in Mahe is festooned with signs to promote Seychelles. Written in Creole, French, and English the fluttering banners proudly proclaim: I love Seychelles. When I first arrived in the country over a week ago I thought it was a clever marketing ploy, but perhaps a bit forced. Now, however, I don't need any signs to remind me of the beauty and unique feel of these tropical islands near the equator. Cause right about now you can count me as another convert to shout out, I love Seychelles! And I'm sure there are countless other visitors to these beautiful islands who share the same sentiments.
The journal left off at the conclusion of my first week in Beau Vallon, and my host recommended a ferry trip out to La Digue to explore the beauty of the island. Ferry trips are very expensive in Seychelles, and it was around 80 euro one way for a high speed ferry ride to La Digue, with a change of boats on the larger island of Praslin. Occasionally markets dominated by a monopoly business charge too much money, but there's nothing to be done except to suck it up. Anyways, I
arrived at the ferry terminal in Victoria at least 30 minutes prior to the ferry departure and was relieved to purchase a return ticket for the day. The staff member, however, was having IT issues and unable to print my ticket. She told me to wait five minutes, but with no further communication left me sweating on an outcome until the scheduled departure time of 7:30am, when she finally arrived with boarding cards for myself and another family. I'm not one to complain about customer service, but considering the exorbitant ticket prices there could have been a bit more communication by the staff member. It's unusual being in a tropical climate with such a relaxed attitude to customer service, and yet still pay prices the equal of the most expensive destinations in Western Europe.
I was pleased to be onboard, and the ferry tore out to Praslin in moderate seas. There's a large queue for onward tickets to La Digue, but everything worked out and the passengers boarded for the scheduled departure time. I booked on a recommended day tour with a local business while staying on Mahe, and was looking out for a sign as described by the
owner. Sure enough, there's no dude and no sign, so I went around like a goose asking locals if they knew where my guide is. At least I had his name, and they tracked him down before too long. That's when an unforgettable day of adventure began!
My guide and I jumped on bikes and rode around five kilometres to a designated meeting point, and met up with a German family who would be joining us for the hike. In perfect weather, we were bundled in to the back of a pick up and driven to one of the many famous beaches of La Digue, also the starting point for our walk. The trails our guide led us through would never be visited by tourists not booked on the tour, and it was an incredible day of adventure. He led up us over rocks, through tiny gaps between rocks, through undergrowth, over sandy beaches, and also wading through hip deep water between beaches.
The tour is not for the faint hearted, but the scenery on offer along the wild coast of La Digue is out of this world. The more the day wore on, the more Italians we
met. This included the main group of around twenty who we caught up with at our lunch destination. Yep, sure enough, they were all Italian. Just as Mahe is swarming with Russian tourists, La Digue seems to be overrun with Italians. Whoever has given the heads up to my Italian friends, I can vouch for the sheer beauty and wild splendor of this magnificent island. I've rarely witnessed such magnificent beaches and local scenery, and the beach we stopped off for lunch was simply divine. There are beautiful giant rocks near the water's edge, but an inviting lagoon is just by the white sand beach to take a dip in the soothing waters. La Digue is a knockout, and I absolutely love the place!
My guide led some of as we clambered up a steep rock climb for a panoramic photo opportunity. It was only when I got to the top and looked down at the beach that I freaked out, as I've always been scared of heights, and didn't realise how precipitous the fall was until I snapped a photo. To make matters worse, I heard a cry from another rock and there's my guide waving from a
cliff top twice as high as I was. That's when I saw he had rock climbing shoes, and realised the full extent of my predicament. I practically crawled down like a crab, banging and scraping my knees, feet, and hands as I made it to safety. I was terrified for a while, but it worked out and made for a special photo opportunity. After lunch we pushed on along the coast and visited several magnificent beaches, including one consistently rated amongst the top ten beaches in the world.
At the end of a full day I was exhilarated, but can't remember the last time I felt so tired and knocked about. Even my shorts were ruined, as they snagged on a branch and had a gaping hole in the back. I stopped off at a restaurant to dry off, lick my wounds, and process the experience. The photos from the island are gorgeous, because La Digue is gorgeous. I didn't miss a beat with the ferries and bus home, and was back in my apartment before 8:00pm. I still had a few days left in paradise, and decided to have a quiet day by the beach the following day,
as I was quite sore from all the exertions and banging around on La Digue.
On my final full day in Seychelles I hired a car from the local Hertz, and spent the day exploring Mahe. Driving is on the left as in Australia, and the roads are fine for getting around this tiny island. At one stage I felt lost before consulting my map, and realised I'd already done a loop of both coasts in the south of the island in next to no time. Mahe is surprisingly small, but there are so many beautiful beaches it takes a full day to explore. I was able to get to the south of the island, and then explore both coasts. I came back to Beau Vallon for a pit stop and lunch mid afternoon, and then headed to the north of the island before the sun went down. Seychelles is like a dream come true my friends, and a country I've long dreamed of visiting. However, to actually be here for a couple of weeks I've had to pinch myself. That's because the islands of the Seychelles are beautiful beyond description, basically all of you should be here now!
Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." Francis of Assisi
It's home time, so until next time I'm signing off for now
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