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Our own taste of Paradise

Leaving the UK on a night flight is always a good thing as you tend to sleep better which when it is a long haul flight makes the time pass quicker.

We arrived at Gatwick a little early as we hadn’t had a chance to do any shopping before our holiday. So a few holiday needs are purchased and we proceed to the Emirates business lounge. Here you will find a good selection of chairs to either relax in or table and chairs to enjoy some food. A great array of hot and cold meals was on offer and all the drinks you might expect from a business class lounge. We boarded our flight in good time and left for our 6hours 15mins flight to Dubai.

If you haven’t been to Dubai airport before it is quite hard to describe the sheer size and shopping opportunities available. Quite something in itself. Our next flight was just over 4 hours and went very quickly

Or arrival at the Seychelles airport you are straight away given a feeling of a more relaxed area as the small airport is calm, quaint and efficient. We were met by our representative who provided us with cool towels and some water shown our week’s itinerary then taken to our driver. Robert was a joy, knowledgeable and chatty about the island and its traditions.

A half hour journey though towns and villages and some great views along the way. We arrive at our hotel – the Constance Ephelia Seychelles

Seychelles 1

Seychelles

The facilities are endless. Ranging from children’s clubs, to a selection of restaurants from a la carte, Chinese, creole, and many more cuisine experiences. There is a tortoise park, home to the giant tortoise, dusty is the eldest at the hotel being a mere 119 years old. Daily at 4pm you can participate in feeding them. Water sports are included and there are many beautiful white sandy beaches to enjoy. There is even a nature trail and you can zip wire through the tropical trees. We had a go at this, 8 zip wires through stunning scenery. Not for the faint hearted but a great experience.

We had dinner at the Ceyann, a superb a la carte restaurant. A fabulous meal, the food the service and the setting were fantastic.

Whilst at the hotel we took a tour of the grounds and viewed junior suites which is the lead in room type at this hotel and really were of a very high standard, a large bedroom set in a traditional style with again patio doors to your garden area. A large bathroom that is exquisitely designed and spacious. You can have sea view rooms and approx. 10 junior suites share one good sized pool.

All 7 restaurants all had good locations and were unique in style and cuisine and offered all customers a great choice. Everything from Chinese, creole, buffet style and so much more

I would very highly recommend this hotel, and I shall definitely be returning. Simply spectacular throughout.

Following our departure from the hotel we decided to treat ourselves to a helicopter ride over the Seychelles Islands this was remarkable and I am so glad we did it. Just 15minutes to enjoy the diversity of this lush destination. Many beautiful beaches, rugged landscapes and tropical trees
In abundance covering the many hills! A must do activity!

Now we head to the port of
Our driver took as to the gang plank of the Pegasus yacht, run by Variety Cruise, which was our home for the week. The cruise is called “Garden of Eden Cruise”. We were met with a warm and friendly greeting and given our keys to our cabin.

The boat is on first impressions somewhat dated and a feeling of nervousness hit us both as we entered our cabin as there were a few niggles that could so easily have been mended and created a enhanced welcome. However all we needed was in the cabin and the air conditioning was very good. Plenty of space to put our clothes and the shower room whilst small was fitted with a powerful shower.

The yacht has a lounge area with plenty of sofas for all to relax, a bar and then leads into the dining room. There is an outside area on the main deck and plenty of deck space with loungers on the top deck. There is a spa with a range of treatments available throughout your cruise. I did make use of the spa, and have to say the massages were excellent and very reasonably priced.

We then take part in a briefing of safety and then hear all about the itinerary for the week ahead.

Variety Seychelle BOAT

We set sail on our first adventure. Just 15 minutes from the port and we are left with our first perfect view!! A little island just off Mahe called Ste. Anne where we can take advantage of a swim. Here we are moored for the night.

Welcome cocktails at 630pm then at 715pm we meet our host for the week Donnie. A charming Seychellois man with charisma and charm and a huge abundance of local knowledge.

Dinner is at 730 every evening and just before the cruise tour guide provides and informative and interesting outline of the next day.

Dinner on board was always good, plenty of food of a good standard. There was always a wide choice each day and the three courses was more than enough

Day 2 we leave St Anne at 6am. The noise of the engine woke us but we rested till breakfast was served at 845. We reach Curieuse at 9am. The island is Curieuse lays about 1mile from Praslin and the island is just 2 miles long. The island is a Marine Park and only a few Iive here. However this island is home to 259 giant tortoises. We arrive by zodiac straight onto the beach which in itself is an exciting experience. We have a while to enjoy a tortoise park at leisure where many stroll leisurely and allow us to tickle their chins and rub their heads. We then take an hour guided and very informative walking tour. The walking tour takes us from one side of the island to the other and follows our first of many nature trails. Walking through extensive swamps and home to eight different species of Mangrove. A sweet dog from the island is friends with our cruise host and follows along happily. We arrive at a beach with time for a swim then our first beach BBQ. A lovely day. We are anchored at Cruieuse overnight . All the trips today are included in the cost of the cruise.

Day 3 we set sail at 845 and sail to Cousin – a small (27 hector ) granitic island. A nature reserve protected by Seychelles law. The island is a bird heaven and as we arrive by sea we already see so many exotic birds flying overhead, again we arrive on the beach via our zodiac tender. Then we take an hour guided walk around the island. We see so many birds, nesting, resting and flying. Crabs land and sea, spiders and many lizards. Seychelles magpie robin, Seychelles warbler, Madagascar Cody red male and brown female, Madagascar Turtle Dove Fody, white tailed tropicbird, fairy tern, to name but a few. All the trips today are included in the cost of the cruise.
We are taken back to our yacht for lunch and at 1245 we sail to the island of Anse Lazio. This beach is considered to be the best beach on Praslin. Clear pure waters perfect for snorkelling. We take the tender here for a few hours to enjoy. After dinner the staff showed us how to fish off the back of the ship. So much fun and amazing to see so many fish as we threw then some bread. Paul caught a Bat Fish about 8kilos in weight. Such fun

Day 4 of cruise we visit the island of Aride. Here we are taken ashore by zodiac and introduced to our guide. We are taken around the island to enjoy fascinating wildlife in what I can only describe as tropical island paradise. We saw Fody, white tropical tailed birds. They are like truly happily married birds, they stay together always. We saw truly amazing trees such as the Banyan tree (I even took a swing from one of the branches to prove how strong they are – Jane from Tarzan had nothing on me!) The Seychelles Magpie robin appeared to be fairly tame and allowed you to get very close. A very beautiful island and the closest I can imagine to paradise you can get. The beach and the sea on this day of our cruise was my favourite.
We were taken back to the yacht by zodiac. This time as the seas was a bit more choppy we had to sit on the floor of the boat! A fun ride back
Lunch was served. Then a short cruise took us to St Pierre, a tiny island with no beach but a snorkelling dream. We saw many tropical fish. Very difficult terrain here and not good for those not happy with rocks and a strong current One hour later we set sail again. This time to Baie Ste Anne jetty. All the trips today are included in the cost of the cruise.
We spent the night docked in the bay at Praslin. Here were the first shops we have seen all week. So the opportunity to stock up on sun cream and souvenirs if you wish
All the trips today are included in the cost of the cruise.

Day 5 – We have our breakfast. Then take a trip with Mason Travel, a short mini bus ride take us to Vallee de Mai A UNESCO world heritage site. For an hour we walk through what feels like a tropical jungle as we spot black parrot (which quite unlike their name -are brown) we are lucky as you don’t always spot these but we were shown an area where they are nesting and saw a good handful of them. Tree frogs, many gecko’s, lizards and spiders. But the story of the coco-de-mer and the palm trees was the major topic of discussion. A fantastic view was gained by a step walk through the trees. But worth it
After our visit we are taken to Cote D’Or Beach. Compared to yesterday at Aride this was not such a nice beach but we are now getting fussy! A quick swim, a couple of shops and back to the boat for lunch. We then set sail, this time for. Felicity island where we snorkel and saw a huge abundance of tropical fish to include emperor angelfish, sergeant major, powder blue surgeonfish, Moorish idol, Sixbar Wrasse, checkerboard wrasse, African Coris, blue-green chromic, trumpet fish and Redfin Butterflyfish.
Today was an optional excursion. Cost approx 70euros per person. In my mind completely worth the money.

Day 6 – we take a tender to La Digue. The biggest port we have seen since we left Mahe but a cute little place that was alive with locals and tourists alike. We are taken to a vanilla plantation and also shown some interesting facts about the importance of coconuts to the island. We have fun ride on an ox-cart and then are given several hours to wonder and enjoy the beautiful beaches. These beaches are considered to be the most photographed beaches in the world. The back drop of tropical plantations, trees, sand and the granite rock is very striking. Whilst paddling in the sea we are greeted by several tropical coloured batfish. As we had a packed lunch from the boat, we fed them, what a surreal moment to stand in the sea feeding beautiful fish. Again we were surprised at how tame they were and fed them by hand, fantastic. Again a few souvenir shops then back by tender to the boat as she sails for 3 hours to Moyenne Island
Today was another optional excursion at a cost of approx 70 euros. This is one tour that I would suggest you may not wish to take, as you could simply enjoy the beaches which are just a short taxi ride away or indeed hiring of local bikes would be very easy from the port.

Day 7. A nice lazy breakfast, with a little time to enjoy the views from all around the yacht. Seeing the mainland of Mahe in the distance is almost sad as we realise this is our last full day on the cruise. A day to enjoy walking round the island, the beach and if desired snorkelling again.
BBQ on the beach is included. A very baron island that will appeal to nature lovers and snorkelers. This was our least favourite island. Whilst is was lovely to see the many land tortoise come to life following the rain and to also be lucky enough to hold a baby turtle the island itself was a little smelly and the beaches very awash with sea weed.
All the trips today are included in the cost of the cruise.

Our last night on board was super. Captain’s dinner and a great local duo who sang for us. We had made many good friends with the staff on board and were sad to be leaving them.

Remember at the beginning of my blog I mentioned my concern for the week ahead as the boat itself is indeed a little tired and neglected in places. Whilst this is apparent, I am thrilled to say it did not mar the enjoyment of our trip and I WOULD highly recommend. This is an adventure of some of the most beautiful beaches and islands that I have seen so far in the world. The wildlife to include birds, tropical fish and giant tortoise has been a joy and the friendly staff on-board are a credit to Variety Cruises. We fell in love with the boat, the crew, the destinations and the way of life offered on board. Anyone wanting to hear more or see any of my photos please just let me know.

Call Clare on 01954 232802 or email [email protected]

 

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