La Digue, Cocos Island, Baie St Anne, Curieuse

Huge granit rocks polished by the waves of the Indian Ocean, giant palm trees with embarrassingly shaped nuts, turquoise inlets fringed by lush green takamakas shading the fine white sand beaches.
This is the paradise image we all have about Seychelles islands. And deservedly so, for most of these islands lying a thousand kilometres off the East coast of Africa, just south of the Equator, are stunningly beautiful.

Our sailing notes

To find such a richness of colours and harmony of forms you have think about some of the Polynesian atolls to find a comparable vision of earthly paradise.

Add to that the generally smooth sailing conditions between the islands and the easy going lifestyle of the local population, you have all what you need within a 60 miles radius of the main island Mahé, in other words a sea greater than France to provide several weeks of idyllic crusing.

Climate and winds Perfect sea and weather conditions for the charterer. The archipelago, which is under the influence of really strong winds, is dominated by a distinctive system consisting of two monsoons separated by a month of variable weather : the inter-season. From May to October, almost constant winds blow south easterly with clear skies. The winds drop in November and give way to north-westerly. The south-easterly wind pattern returns in April. In between these two periods of south-easterly and north-westerly winds there are two short periods of calm or light winds. April and May are the sunniest months with a daily average of 7h50' to 8h20' of sun. These slight climate changes barely affect the temperature, which remains at an average of 28° to 32°C, both air and sea. No hurricane season in the Seychelles, winds rarely exceed speeds of 30 knots.

January to march : north-westerly winds are dominant with short spells of wind from the north or north east. Speeds between 10 to 15 knots, small swell. In march winds begin to weaken.
April and may : The winds blow from north/east with speeds between 5 to 15 knots. Very calm sea, air temperature 32°C, sea temperature 30°C.
June : south-easterly winds predominate slightly with speeds between 10 and 20 knots.
July to September : dry season, air and water temperature at 28°C, very few rainfalls. South-easterly winds predominate at a steady 20 to 25 knots. Sea can be choppy and some anchorages not accessible.
October and November : Winds and swell decrease progressively. As November goes by north-west winds come back.
December : the winds blow from north-west with speeds between 5 and 10 knots. Temperature rises.

Our Itinerary

Day 1 : Praslin

Visit of the Vallée de mai, a valley protected by UNESCO. A walk in the Vallée de mai is enchanting. The path wanders in the near obscurity created by enormous palm leaves of the cocos de mer. The trunks are 40 m high and sway gently in the breeze, making a strange rustling sound as they rub against each other.Wherever you look, the foliage seems to go on and on as the path winds up through dark, damp clefts before coming out onto the ridge where are magnificent views over a dense sea of green. Night anchorage in Bay Ste Anne.

Day 2 : Baie Sainte Anne - La Digue. 6 miles

The south east coast of La Digue provides excellent moorings in deep coves, behind a coral reef near the shore. Petite Anse or Grande Anse are perfect for anchorage : lovely white sand beaches separated from each other by rocky spurs, backed by steep rocks. Rent a bike in la Passe to visit this beautiful island never overrun with tourists , thanks to the lack of accommodation.

Day 3 : La Digue

You won't like to leave this quiet place so early.Visit Union Estate, where they grow vanilla, do coprah. Visit "La Veuve reserve", endemic bird of La Digue.

Day 4 : La Digue to Grande Soeur and Cocos Island to Curieuse - 13 miles

Sail around Marianne and Félicité. Anchorage on the west coast of Grande Soeur for lunch.

Unforgettable snorkelling at Cocos Islands. Made of large rocks with strange regular stripes carved by the sea, Cocos Island forms a beautiful sight with a great harmony of shapes and colours . The ochre colour of the rocks is in contrast with the bright green palms of the coconut trees and the white sand of beaches lined with deep turquoise water. Under the sea , the vision is equally attractive with large arbores cent corals where thousands of many coloured fish swim in front of narrow breaks and dark caverns. Go to Curieuse, Baie Laraie on the east coast for the night.

Day 5 : Curieuse to Saint Pierre to Curieuse - 6 miles

Curieuse, part of the Marine National Park is the home of hundred or so giant turtles, you cannot miss them. 45mn walk, into mangrove and "coco fesse" trees, leads you to the other side of the island, where is a nice beach and small but interesting museum.Sail to St Pierre islet, a mass of rounded rocks crowned with a clump of tall palms swaying gently in the wind : typical and superb scenery of the Seychelles photographed on countless occasions and printed a million times in tourism magazines ! Excellent spot for snorkelling with magnificent underwater scenery.Go back to Baie Laraie for the night .

Day 6 : Curieuse to Aride to Baie Sainte Anne - 18 miles

Aride Island, placed under the supervision of the Royal Society for Nature Conservation, is a conservation area. Narrow paths through the dense vegetation leads to the rocky barrier in the north from where the whole island can be observed.Free of cats and rats, which have ravaged so many tropical islands in the worlds, Aride is a haven for a wide variety of seabirds, unique vegetation and rare land birds. The ten species of breeding seabirds include the rare roseate tern and the red tailed tropicbird. The world's largest colony of lesser noddy, more than 200,000 couples nest there. Open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays .More than 300 species of fish have been identified in Aride coral reef where some hawksbill turtles may come to the surface. Go back to Baie Sainte Anne to fill up water.

Day 7 : Baie Sainte Anne to Victoria - 28 miles

Anchor for the night in Victoria harbour, and visit this nice little town.

Day 8 : Victoria to Baie Lazare - 20 miles

Visit the picturesque market place in the morning. Good opportunity for fresh provisioning. Sail down Mahé, by the south. You'll pass by Anse Takamaka and Anse Intendance.Anchor in Baie Lazare for the night.

Day 9 : Baie Lazare to Port Launay - 8 miles

Sail along the coast to Thérèse island, and Port Launay marine park, limited to the south east by the Pointe de l'Escalier, a strange geological phenomenon that has built up a giant stairway leading to the sea with steps consisting of regular flat layers of rock.

Day 10 : Port Launay to Silhouette to Ile Sainte Anne - 35 miles

Go to Silhouette (don't forget the permit).Anchor in front of La Passe.Go back for the night in Sainte Anne Marine Park, in Anse Cimetière, south of the island.

Day 11 : Ile Sainte Anne to Curieuse - 30 miles Snorkelling northeast of Ile Moyenne, then sail to Curieuse in the morning. Anchor in Baie Laraie.

Day 12 : Curieuse to Cousin to Baie Sainte Anne - 15 miles

Cousin Island is a nature reserve and bird sanctuary with rare species and some giant turtles. Less than 800 meters in diameter, the island can be visited from Tuesday to Friday.A small path leads to the turtles' enclosure from where it leads to the summit through dense vegetation. Great panorama and good spot from which to observe the gracious flights of tropicbirds. During the season of southeasterly winds, there may be up to 100,000 couples of black boodies nesting in the trees. Go back to Baie sainte Anne for the night.

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