I recently spent a month in the Seychelles sailing a 47-foot monohull, the Julienas, with my friend Travis. I previously gave some background on the islands and the general sailing conditions. This post details our adventures roaming around the island group formerly known as the Seven Sisters.
The Julienas spent the vast majority of its time shuttling back and forth between the three largest islands, Mahe, Praslin and La Digue, exploring small coves and their stunning beaches, as well as the small outlying islands and islets just of the coasts off the major land masses.
On Mahe, when we weren’t lounging in a berth on Eden Island, we spent our time in a variety of anchorages scattered around the island’s west and north coasts, where we were fairly well protected from the strong southeasterly winds and swells. We visited Baie Lazare, Anse a la Mouche, Port Launay, and Baie Ternay.
Port Launay was particularly special. We entered the small secluded cove and dropped anchor. We were approached shortly after by a man paddling a surfboard on his knees, with his young son perched expertly in front of him.
Steve, whose name we soon learned, pulled alongside offering a pair of local coconuts for our pleasure. He then hopped aboard for a chat while his son inspected every square inch of the 47-foot monohull. Steve said his son had chosen us to receive an invitation to dinner. It was the five-year old’s daily duty to pick which boat they would approach and offer a home cooked meal to.
We accepted and, with strong winds and potential rain ruling out the beach where Steve normally serves his meals, we headed to his house just beyond through a copse of trees. For just 20 EUR, Steve treated us to an amazing dinner of freshly caught tuna steak, mango salad and garlic bread, all paired perfectly with a great conversation about the local area.
Praslin lies approximately 20 nautical miles from Mahe on a 40 degree heading from Cerf Passage outside of Eden Island. The Vallee de Mai, located in the center of the 12 kilometer long island, is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for the rare palm tree it contains that produce the iconic coco de mer nut.
We picked up the Julienas from the Dream Yacht Charter base in Baie St. Anne and ended up spending more time there than we would have liked fixing various problems with the boat, everything from a bad nav system and bad batteries, to a malfunctioning head (toilet).
Most of the summer moorings on Praslin are located on the north side of the island. Anse Volbert (or Cote d’Or) was the liveliest and seediest. Anse Petite Cour was a tiny and well protected cove with a single, worn resort nestled above a short white sand beach.
Anse Lazio (or Baie Chevalier) was for us the most interesting of Praslin’s anchorages. The large cove was fairly well protected from incoming wind and swells. The wide shelf of the cove’s inshore area had room for at least a dozen yachts to anchor for the night.Onshore were beautiful beaches, some nice restaurants and the Honesty Bar, a small bar where the proprietor preferred an extremely laid back approach. Rather than tend bar, he gave guests direct access to the drinks and let them put their payments in a jar on their counter.
St. Pierre Islet
St. Pierre is the most iconic chunk of rock in the Seychelles. Nothing more than a small granite outcrop lying just offshore of Praslin, the picturesque islet is a popular tourist spot and is home to great snorkeling. We anchored just offshore and spent a day exploring the islet’s vibrant underwater menagerie, which led to the first of many encounters with the local reef sharks.
La Digue is considered the most beautiful island in the Seychelles. The 5 km long island, lying 3.5 miles west Praslin and over 25 miles northeast of Mahe, boasts Anse Source de l’Argent, a short stretch of beach lined with large strangely-shaped granite boulders that is the most photographed spot in the country.
There are few cars on La Digue and most people, local and tourist alike, get around by bike. A short ride across the island delivers you to a set of three beautiful beaches set within protected coves. Grande Anse, Petite Anse, and Anse Coco all share the same stunning white beaches, but are progressively secluded as you work your north away from the main road leading to Grand Anse. The hike out to Anse Coco is well worth the effort.
Curieuse lies due west of Praslin. The island is a national park that hosts a conservation project aimed at protecting the threatened giant tortoise population native to the Seychelles.
We dropped anchor on the west coast and hiked across the island to spend a few hours wandering among the giant tortoises in their sanctuary. The once-common giant tortoises were hunted to extinction on the Seven Sisters, and the current population descends from related tortoises brought over from the Aldabra Islands, another island grouping in the Seychelles that lies to the southwest of the main island chain.
North Cousin is another protected area. The national park is home to numerous indigenous bird species. With thousands of birds twisting and turning, we spent the day snorkeling around the island. Our water excursions ended abruptly when we each ran into our own large sharks.