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Published: March 6th 2019
(SC writes) Yesterday we hired a car and toured Praslin. The waether wasn't great but it didn't matter too much as our first stop was at Vallee de Mai: a two hour walk and climb through an ancient palm forest and the home of the famous Coco de Mer. We covered up to avoid being eaten by bugs, but, boy was it hot and sticky. Worth it though and a very enjoyable look at the interior of Praslin. See pix of the infeasibly large nut with all sorts of sexual overtones and the frankly phallic male flower. (CJ: the female nut takes seven years to mature. It is contained within a fleshy, heart shaped exterior which must rot away pretty quickly in this climate, leaving a nut weighing 18kg or thereabouts. The male flower is about two feet long and rather floppy ... Moving on ... The coco de mer was known by sailors as far away as India well before the Seychelles were discovered properly in the 1700's: the nuts would occasionally be spotted bobbing around on ocean currents and, in the absence of any other information, were assumed to come from an under sea forest - hence the name).
Then we were off around the island, although like Mahe you cannot drive right around. We stopped at several stunning beaches and had lunch at one. With a car available we drove over to the east side of the island which is more developed and has more restaurants. I had Octopus Curry ( on friend's recommendation). It was good! We'll have to do a separate blog on our food experiences so far which we have not commented upon so far.
Today we took a tour by boat to Curieuse, one of the smaller islands, a protected National Park and home to the majority (about 5,000) coco de mer palms and 100,000 giant tortoises, which roam free. (CJ: there are far fewer females than males, and they're a lot smaller too - probably no more than 100kg to the male's 150-200kgs. They lay about a dozen egs the size of tennis balls every two years: the park rangers collect them and put them in a nursery to protect them from marrauding crabs and lemon sharks. They are released when they are about three years old and 4-5kgs. Interesting thing about giant tortoises: if you tickle them under their neck
they stand up - and they have quite a reach on them!). So, they are big but no, you cannot ride them! Before that we snorkelled...two stops at very different sites and we were well rewarded with some fabulous sightings of many large and exotic fish...sorry no pictures of them ...just CJC in the water. It was a hot and sunny day and our trip concluded with a very sweaty 2k walk through mangroves and coastal wilderness. Giant crabs here !
The 40 minute boat ride home was exhilarating to say the least as we ploughed through a decent swell and crashed up and down..no sea sickness!
All in all a very enjoyable day out with more to look forward to tommorrw - which happens to be Cathy's birthday!
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