|Seychelles: Life in Slow Motion|
I was extremely scared of the rough sea so I missed out on snorkeling in Seychelles, which I later developed the nerve to do in the middle of the Andaman Sea. Determined to see some of the pretty fish, I climbed onto the rocks by our beach and, as I stood watching, hundreds of different colored fish swam by – pink, orange, orange and white stripes, black … too many colors to count – I was absolutely dumbstruck. Hundreds of thoughts raced through my mind, the primary one being how I was still missing out on the corals and the real underwater world by not opting to snorkel. I still regret that I never took pictures of that moment when I could just reach out and touch the fish.
During our week-long stay we took a day trip to two popular islands, La Digue and Praslin, well over an hour away by boat. I thought the beaches in Mahe were gorgeous, but I was in for a surprise. La Digue was something else, characterized by huge (about 30 feet high) granite boulders towering above the white sandy beaches. Here the main forms of transport are bicycles and oxcarts. Stepping back in time, it seemed as though everyone around me had forsaken their worries and tensions. People rented bright colored bikes and cycled their way around the small island. The Black Paradise Flycatcher, a bird native to Seychelles and found exclusively in this part of the world, flew a few feet above us and settled on a coconut tree. But it isn’t just the Black Paradise that is native to this archipelago – here you will also find the Giant Tortoise lazily feeding on grass. One of the more famous islands for ecotourism in Seychelles is Bird Island, which has overnight accommodation for individuals who wish to observe various species of birds in their natural habitat.
Praslin is hilly like Mahe and home to the famous Vallee di Mai, a forest unexplored by humans until the 1930s. Spread over eighteen hectares, it is now a UNESCO heritage site because of the six types of palm trees unique to Praslin, its diverse flora and fauna, and the famous fruit native to Seychelles, the Coco de Mer. The fruit bears the largest seed in the plant kingdom, weighing well over fifteen kilograms. It is also believed that these palm trees date back thousands of years and belonged to the ancestors of current plant types.
My only complaint about my trip to Seychelles? It was expensive. If you’re looking to splurge, relax, get close to nature and witness beauty at its best, then this is the right destination for you. However, you shouldn’t be deterred solely by the cost: some travel agents are now offering budget accommodation packages to open Seychelles up to the world.
Seychelles offers much to travelers who want to explore and discover new places. You can go deep sea diving with PADI instructors, fishing on glass-bottomed boats, or just sail out in the open sea and go island hopping. Whatever you choose to do, you will not tire of this gorgeous country and its people.
My last night in Seychelles beckoned me to return again. The midnight blue sky was lit up with millions of stars, literally illuminating the sky and outshining the moon. As I sat on the grass observing the stars, I felt like I was in another world.
Yes, I am definitely going back.