I hope you are all safe, well and healthy wherever you read this from. The world has changed over the last three months. Well, we know about it through the media, as today we are living in a parallel world. The airport is closed, and the Seychelles has been Covid-free for weeks!
We went back to the Seychelles on the 15th March. Three days before, they had declared the first few Coronavirus positive cases. These were mainly imported ones, and mostly spotted by the authorities on entry at the airport. Seychelles reached a total of 11 positive cases before being declared Covid-free. The last case was an airport employee who had visited many friends prior to his test. This brought us a soft lockdown for 4 weeks. Let put it simply, none only did we had proper governance here, but Seychelles has been pretty lucky with the current situation. Out of the 11 positive cases, only one Dutch tourist ended in the hospital, and recovered.
The airport has been closed since early April. Most hotels are closed, and tourist have mainly left the country by end of March, with very few more flights being organized
by Qatar Airways since than to evacuate others. Very few tourists are left in the islands nations. Why not? This must be one of the best place on earth to be today. The country is the economically worst affected in Africa, with 60% of GDP linked to tourism, but it is also the richest African country per capita. The government is currently covering all the salaries of those affected for the months of April, May and June up to a level of 30,000 rupees. The current minimum salary is 6,500 rupees per month. The Rupee used to worth in March this year 13.65 per usd, today it has dropped to 17.56 per usd!
So how is life on a island nearly closed from the world for 3 months? Well, paradise is the word. Shall I start by all the things that are not so great! Passengers flights are gone. As of 1st June, private jets are back into Seychelles, but for commercial flights, we have zero exact idea of what is happening. During all this time, cargo ships and cargo flights were still allowed in the country.
95,000 people live in the Seychelles, out
of those, you have 25,000 foreigners! Yes, this is a lot and they are needed to run the country. But with the current situation, the trend will change. From 1st July, the government will not cover anymore the salary of foreign workers in impacted business. They did already a great move, as nobody was allowed to be fired for the months of April, May June. So many will leave the country in the early weeks of July...if we have flights landing and taking of from the island! For now, we think the first flights may come in on the 15th July.
The island produces close to nothing. There is fish, and a lot of great and delicious ones...so fish, not an issue! The island had a gorgeous jungly landscape, and some solid amount of rain, so we have no issues with spring water! There are two chicken farms, so that's covered too. Now the funny subject....veggies! Well, here we can find easily...local eggplants, little green peppers, onion, garlic, carrots, nice green beans and pumpkin. This is it. so this week, we could find for the first time imported tomatoes, at 7usd per kilo....but we haven't seen those
for the past two months! No panic, we also have cans and frozen veggies...so cooking is not an issue for me. Everything else?? Well, when your better half is part of the management of a closed hotel, somebody has to go through the fridges. And when this hotel is a proper luxury one, I can tell you, the fridges content are pretty nice too! So no tomatoes...but all the food we want or need....and yes, even wine has become super reasonable!
During the lockdown, 4 weeks, there was no golf, no diving, but we could still go to the beach...and some swimming in one of the most gorgeous pool in the world. So it was more difficult to let those gorgeous meal go by. I'm happy to say that now that the lock down is over, I'm happy to be back on the 9 holes little local golf course. Nothing fancy, but when you currently pay 30usd per month for unlimited game...who cares. Competitions have been off for the past 3 months, and should come back soon....not sure the sponsors will be there!
There are not many tourists left...and none of them dive. Half
of the local divers are currently unemployed, so not easy to run a dive operation here! Since the end of the lockdown, I've been able to go diving 4 times out of the last 5 week-end, for a double dive a morning per week-end. Some of these have been stunning, so no complain here. And we even got to finally spot a whale shark...a first for months!
So we have an happy couple, gorgeous beaches, golf, specially diving, and few weeks before the next plane ride...what to ask more for? I have to admit, our bubble is a slightly scary one. There is a world out there, and it is going to be a very different one that we have ever known. And if most of you have had some time to adjust, we will jump in it. I still haven't wear a mask so far. We do have social distanciation in few places here, but nothing is really an issue.
As we cannot wish for a Covid-free world, let's hope you are all doing fine...and 2021 may be help us to get back on the road...
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