The tortoise and the buttock
Ask about the holiday of your dreams and many will think of white soft sandy beaches, plus warm seas. Places that spring instantly to mind are The Maldives, The Bahamas and of course The Seychelles. So we went to see how The Seychelles shaped up as a dream destination with Variety Cruises.
The Seychelles is an archipelago of some 115 islands sitting in the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa. Its position is blessed with year round temperatures between 24C and 32C and our cruise started from Mahe the largest and most developed of its islands. As well as being the home for 90% of the country’s population, it has the nation’s capital Victoria, which is where our departure quay is situated.
We were warmly welcomed aboard the twin hulled M/Y Pegasus by the crew and after a nice cool drink, taken to our cabin where or bags were already waiting. On a motor yacht that exclusively accommodates 44 passengers the cabins (21) will be tiny right? Wrong! There’s plenty of room to walk around our double bed and a sitting area too. Ample wardrobe space with mini safe, our cabin also sports a fridge, TV, VCR and a wet room style en-suite with shower. Most importantly we had individually controlled A/C, so we could cool off and enjoy our nicely decorated cabin and its soft colour fabrics when things got too hot outside.
Half an hour after leaving Mahe we were in a zodiac bound for the beach at Sainte Anne Island for a swim stop. Lying on my back in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean we watched the blazing sun disappear into the black cleavage of nearby mountains, whilst dusting the clouds with pink hues. What a great way to start this cruise.
Our day ended with dinner, served in the lovely Dining Room with adjacent comfortable lounge. Although an al fresco option is also available. we chose to eat inside tonight in the cool. The dress code on board is casual, so you can travel light without suits or long dresses in your suitcase. Markos (Hotel Director) talked about us all being part of the onboard family and we were already beginning to see what he meant as we enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and got to know the attentive staff and our friendly fellow passengers. The highlight of my mouth watering dinner was Red Snapper, cooked to perfection and accompanied by a sauce that complimented, rather than overpowered the fish.
Throughout the cruise we found that the cuisine was always to a high standard and included many local flavours. In view of how costly eating out in the Seychelles was, it made this ‘meals inclusive’ cruise excellent value. Complimentary tea, coffee and drinking water were available 24/7.
My favourite place onboard was the Sun Deck. Being an early riser I loved to sit on one of the comfortable deck chairs or lie back on a padded lounger and watch the sunrise. As I watched the sun paint the sky and the clouds a kaleidoscope of warm colours I could dream that Pegasus was all mine (everyone else was still in bed). It was also a great place to sunbathe later in the day, or read a book from the on board library in a shady spot. A place to just gaze at the enchanting sea views or be entertained by dolphins frolicking around the vessel.
A short zodiac ride took us to the beach of Curieuse Island, about 45km from Mahe and part of the National Park. It’s a breeding centre for the giant Aldabra Tortoise and gave us our first encounter with these remarkably loveable animals. They enjoyed being scratched on their necks and have very expressive faces, a bit like ET really. Couldn’t take one home though as they wouldn’t fit in my Silver Travel Advisor bag (picture). With many living past their 100th year it made the Silver Travellers amongst us feel like youngsters. They share the limelight here with the coconuts from the coco de mer palm. So named by sailors because they were often found floating at sea and believed to have come from a magic garden at the bottom of the sea. The sailors were mainly excited because the coconut looks like a lady’s buttocks, well what do you expect if you leave men for months without female company! We walked across the island and found that, what initially looked to be a barren mangrove swamp, was teeming with life. Just stand still to see crabs of all shapes and sizes scuttle about, mud/rock skippers, birds, spiders and more. A scrumptious beach BBQ was waiting for us at the end of our wildlife walk.
Next stop Cousin Island.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Variety Cruises