|SEYCHELLES PART 2 - JUNE 2007
Thursday 14th June
We arrived, Richard and Rosamund and a brace of Blomfield-Smiths, very white skinned and a bit jaded from the long flight, delighted to find Boo at the airport on Mahe, golden brown from her week on board. We were only sorry she was leaving so soon.
A short taxi ride to the Eden Marina and there was Boo's namesake, shimmering elegantly white in the early morning sun. Breakfast, the first of so many delicious meals provided by Jen and we set off on a long sail out to sea in order to come back on the other side of Mahe. That was our only uncomfortable sail with BooToo, for all her sleek elegance, bucking and wallowing and rolling in the waves – or at least that was how it seemed to those of us newly aboard – the crew took the bouncing around confidently in their stride.
Finally a calm anchor, the sea ruffled by a warm breeze, a glorious swim and back on board for dinner and our first glass of delicious rosé from Boo Too’s cellar.
Friday 15th June
A short sail round the corner into another beautifully palm edged cove. Water sports for Hester and Hermione – their first experience of doughnutting - beautifully (and oh so patiently) organised by Scott. Snorkelling for all in the afternoon: lots of zippy little black and white striped ‘zebra’ fish at the higher levels and then, deep down between the rocks, there lurked larger fish of unknown, but infinitely elegant, species, banded gold and Royal Blue from nose to nonchalantly chic flicking tails - every inch post-war Dior new look - and a host of other loiterers among the rocks deep down, sought out by Olly and marshalled for the rest of us to see.
Saturday 16th June
Scott ran the four of us ashore in the tender where Antoine proffered rags for the wiping of feet (and hence the preservation of his impeccably clean taxi) and drove us to meet the charming Simon who was to take us on foot through the rain forest up to the high point above Victoria (not, it has to be said, the highpoint of the island but all we needed in the steamy heat to teach us about exploring tropical rain forests). Simon a mine of interesting facts about the flora and fauna of the island – though the latter was limited to a gecko, a small brown snake (huge excitement for Hermione) and a few bull-bulls. Wonderful plants though – vanilla winding its way like ivy up the palm trees, cinnamon trees and a never-ending variety of coconut palms. After an encounter with the brother of the ex-president’s ex-wife, the latter, according to Simon, now ensconced in the best house on the island, we were given a brief tour of Victoria by Antoine, purchased of large quantities of (unimaginably expensive) postcards, and back to join the boat at Beau Vallon.
Wonderfully exhilarating sail, with a stiff but comfortable breeze, across to the island of Praslin. Nosed gently into yet another idyllic palm edged bay to join four or five other boats at anchor for the night and settle down to another of Jen’s delicious dinners.
Sunday 17th June
Olly went calling at the other boats and quickly unearthed a nice 13 year old South African girl sailing around the world with her family. Invitation to barbeque lunch for H and H and much frolicking in the waves which were crashing (alas, not lapping – more later) onto the beautiful white sandy beach.
Ignominious attempt by Rosamund to prove she could still water ski but a modicum of success on that front on the part of Hermione who claims (claim not verified by the author) to have remained on her feet for ‘about 7 seconds’.
Barbeque on the beach that night. Jen, as usual, infinitely resourceful with the food, Scott equally resourceful with the fire and Wendy completely resourceful, up the overhanging palm tree like a monkey, to hang a lantern to light the proceedings.
Monday 18th June
Shipwreck! Richard, Hester, Hermione accompanied by both Joni and Scott – but not Rosamund, a little the worse for wear after a fall on the rocks the previous evening and firmly discouraged by Scott in anticipation of a ‘tricky’ landing on the beach set off for the beach in order to meet up with a taxi which was to take them to ‘Jurassic Park – age old virgin rain forest full of coco de mers.
Tender strangely slow to return from the short trip but eventually did so under tow and with five extremely bedraggled (and, in the case of H and H, wildly excited) occupants. The tender, it transpired, had been caught by an unusually large wave as she beached and turned turtle, giving rise to the loss of several pairs of sunglasses but nothing of serious value and prompting a passing Seychellois to offer Scott the advice that he needed to look behind as well as in front of him. Scott reliably – even if barely credibly - reported to have responded by thanking him for his advice.
A repeat attempt in the afternoon having sailed round to St Anne’s harbour at the other end of Praslin meant that Rosamund could join the party and all four of us enjoyed a leisurely stroll around ‘Jurassic Park’: with the palm trees thrashing around above our heads – and coco de mers falling down around our heads -in the storm.
Short sail back to Anse Petite Cour, still on Praslin.
A French boat arrived in the bay and Olly invited the crew over for a drink later.
Tuesday 19th June
Morning sail over to Curieuse to visit the tortoise reserve: huge lumbering tortoises, decades old, and charming new-borns which H and H held in the palms of their hands. Cups of coconut water and much sweeter coconut milk prepared by our delightful ranger friend – another Richard - and delicious mouthfuls of the fruit itself .
A choppy sail over to La Digue in an attempt to find a suitable anchorage for lunch and a good place to beach the tender so that we could go bicycling. No suitable place found so we sailed back whence we came – to Anse Petite Cour which had proved itself such a comfortable resting spot the previous evening.
Plenty of thrills as the day wore on. Hermione caught a shark off the back of the boat – wild excitement, photographs, measurings etc. And then, at dinner, just as we were finishing our delicious fish and risotto main course, the wind, which had been blowing little breezy gusts all evening, suddenly began to howl and the boat to turn. The rain pelted and the wind screamed – 48 knots in the biggest gusts – to the huge excitement of H and H and the complete detriment of dinner on deck. Speedy retreat to the saloon with much flapping of canvas and general buffeting through which Boo Too rocked gently at her anchor and eventually lulled us to sleep in our beds (though the storm continued all night and was still blowing hard in the morning outside our sheltered bay).
Wednesday 20th June
Wind still gusting a bit from the storm of the night before and sea quite choppy but an exhilarating long sail – everyone now with rather better sea legs – back to the island of Mahe and a delicate berthing operation back at Eden Marina. Shopping in the afternoon and dinner on land in the evening – and preparations, sadly, for an early start the next day.