Monday, January 9, 2012

Kerala might be God’s own country, but He lives in Seychelles: Day 7: Glass boat trip to Sainte Anne National Marine Park

It is the last day of the year 2011, and I woke up early and excited about going on a glass boat trip to the National Marine Park near Sainte Anne and Long Island.
As I did yesterday, stepped out of the room, got myself a cuppa, took my laptop and went to the beach to write about my trip. Sitting on the beach with the cool breeze blowing, put all my thoughts in the freezer, I just sat and stared at the mesmerising ocean for about an hour without writing and enjoying the experience. It felt like a guilty pleasure.
We were to leave at 12:45 when Mr. Sonny asked us to meet him at the beach. Mr. Sonny took us to the pier and we started our ride in the small glass bottomed boat.
View from the glass bottomed boatIt was a sunny and a humid day and the ride, once our skipper opened up the throttle, was extremely pleasant. We introduced ourselves to the rest of the passengers: A beautiful young Feeding bread to the fishesItalian couple, a Mauritanian couple and their teenaged daughter who were living in Kenya and the two of us. The teenager looked bored and embarrassed to be seen with her parents. I guess it is the same everywhere: Teenagers hate to be seen with their parents, no matter where they are on the planet. After a 20 minute ride, the skipper stopped the boat suddenly and poured (some petrol, I suspect) on the glass inside so we could see below and suddenly, the world underneath the boat opened up. Sea Urchins, Zebra fish, Parrot Fish and multitude of other fish. The skipper brought some bread along and all of us fed bread to the fish. It was a wonderful new world for me. I had never seen so many fish in the middle of the ocean and it was a wonderful sight. There was also a lot of coral that we could see clearly through the boat.
We then moved ahead close to the Sainte Anne (St. Anne) island where the snorkeling is supposed to be really good. The waters were calm and the skipper anchored the boat. Anyone who wanted to snorkel, could. The young Italian couple and the Mauritanian man decided to get in. The young Italian girl changed into her bikini and the talk veered around top how cold the water could be. She took her dive and uttered just one word: Bellissima! It means beautiful, wonderful to the un-initiated! (Not that I knew Italian, it was just one of the few words I did know!). The other two followed in the water while the rest of us sat in the boat taking in the stunning views that Sainte Anne offered us. It had a small hill and a 5 star resort and is surrounded by lush greenery! One would be disconnected from the rest of the world, if they would stay there.  Sainte Anne island
Eden island with private mooringsAfter about 20 minutes, we left the gorgeous sight and moved on to a private island called Moyenne island. This was purchased by an Englishman for a paltry sum of 10000 GBP in the 1960s. The skipper anchored there and here I was, on one of the most stunning beaches in the world. The sand soft beneath my feet, cool breeze ruffling my hair, bright and sunny, and crystal clear aquamarine waters. If the water wasn’t salty, I wasn’t averse to bottling it and drinking it. The waters are so clear that I could see my feet even after wading in about 4 feet. The waters were so calm that it felt as if I could walk through the waters to Mahe. We spent some of the most glorious time of of our lives. We waded into the waters and walked hand in hand to the National Park (the smallest in the world). There also was a restaurant Jolly Roger, which was unfortunately shut. We left with a heavy heart from Moyenne island with a heavy heart. We passed by Long island which was used a jail a la Alcatraz, which is now shut.
The skipper took us back through another route to Mahe and there is an island, aptly named, Eden island with some magnificent villas which provides private moorings for personal yachts. How the rich enjoy life! I was insanely jealous of the Englishman who owned Moyenne island and owners of the yachts moored at Eden island!
We were back at Berjaya Beau Vallon Hotel & Casino and hit the pool until the prayers start again(refer my earlier blog Smile)!  We went for a quick shower and came back down for the last dinner of the year. It was a long dinner where M and I sat talking sweet-nothings. At 10:30 PM, we decided to call it a night – the first time I did not usher in the New Year since 1984! It was a glorious holiday and we had just one more day in the wonderful country of Seychelles. We planned to take the road trip of Mahe the next day and our flight was late in the night back home.

M in the water at Moyenne island

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