By Irene Aviles
The Seychelles, where is that exactly? I’ve heard it’s beautiful and the waters are magical with beaches from a movie. Even Prince William and Kate Middleton honeymooned there! That’s all I knew before I ventured all the way down to Victoria, Seychelles.
An Island nation, Seychelles is located in the Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar and about 1,600 km (994 mi) east of Kenya in Africa. We ventured to this island after exploring the
Maldives. When we rolled into port it immediately became obvious that we were in a different country, as the islands were no longer flat sandy atolls, but instead beautiful mountains rising from the sea. The hustle and bustle indicated that we were no longer in the middle of nowhere, or at least that’s how it appeared. The 115 islands and atolls that make up the Seychelles actually are in the middle of nowhere, because they lie south of India, north of Antarctica, east of Africa and west of Australia. According to the Department of Tourism, because of its unique position in the Indian Ocean the seas are exceptionally clean because of how the currents flow, which allows for some of the healthiest fish in the world to exist. No Mercury and toxins! Of course, fishing is one of the major industries there, and also the fish cannery which is then exported to Europe and Dubai.
It’s actually a very small nation, only 176 square miles, but it has everything imaginable to live a great life. For starters, my husband and son enthusiastically left the ship we were
travelling on to play “real” golf on a 9-hole golf course. Our son played on the golf simulator daily so he was anxious for real greens. My daughter and I packed for the day and had lunch at a local favorite lunch buffet. Afterwards, the two of us went on a snorkeling trip, which was more like a sightseeing trip – it was great. We were anxious to experience the waters and compare them to the Maldives. So, off to a glass bottom boat we went for an opportunity to tour several islands in the archipelago. We got off to visit Moyenne Island,
located in Ste Anne Marine National Park. An Englishman named Grimshaw was the sole inhabitant of the island, living there alone for the majority of his life. He passed away in 2012 and gave the property back to the government which they are now restoring. The highlight was seeing the gigantic turtles that he bred as they roam freely around the island – some are said to be up to 150 years old! We also saw Grimshaw’s tomb with a few others at a chapel that he had built. After climbing down the island we walked in waist deep water (thankfully it was warm and refreshing) to the other island where the boat picked us up to go snorkeling. Snorkeling was great and my daughter was able to get a lot of great photos. As a nature photographer, she was in heaven! All pictures of beautiful fish both big and small, plus some very diverse corals – table, flower/lettuce, finger ones in various colors. It definitely had the most fish I have seen in a natural snorkeling environment.
We traveled to our villa for our continued stay on the island and we were excited when we arrived at the Banyan Tree Resort. They
settled us into an amazing 2 bedroom beachfront villa on what must have been a quarter acre of land which rolled right up to the sand. What a great day!!
A beach day in paradise! We woke up and walked straight to the beach. This villa was beautifully positioned in a hidden location through the trees with a peek-a-boo ocean view so when we arrived at the beach it was a spectacular cove with waves! The Banyan Tree is an all villa resort built into the hillside overlooking the beautiful ocean. It was a more primitive version of what we are used to seeing at home. Kind of like Emerald Bay in Laguna Beach, CA just much more remote and quite. We had an amazing breakfast that wouldn’t stop coming and then we relaxed on the beach. The staff was extremely attentive, as we had our own butler, and our son wanted to go boogie boarding so off they went! My husband and daughter went on a deep ocean swim and even got to snorkel dive. I later excused myself and headed for a 2 hour scrub and massage which was out of this world. The spa was perched high
above the trees. The entire room was glass with ample space for my massage, shower and a sitting area – all for me! The spa team made sure that I got to feel the enchantment of the natural surroundings. It felt like I was outside the entire time in just my birthday suit. It was an amazing spa experience to remember. For dinner we went to the hotel Thai restaurant – it was fabulous, very authentic and of the highest quality. The fun part was that we sat on the patio area outside overlooking the hills and the ocean AND to make it more special we got to see the bright Morning star slowly fade as nightfall came. I have never seen a star so bright!! What a shame the trip had to end after only 2 days! Nevertheless, it was a great ending to an amazing trip with relaxation, beauty and adventure unlike anything we had ever done before. Now we had to make a 26 hour flight to get back home. It actually wasn’t that bad as we flew direct to Dubai and then after a few hours layover direct into Los Angeles. It’s definitely the farthest trip we have ever taken but given the opportunity I would return to explore the 100 atolls I didn’t get to see!!0