Seychelles   September/ October 2012                     Vessel: Lipari 41, Cat Equipment: VHF, Dinghi 5BHP, 4 Cabins (no EPRIB), Solar Panels Provider: Daydream Charters (France), Broker: Windward Islands Journey:: 140nm, 14 days Praslin - La Digue - Mahé - La Digue - Praslin It’s not easy to find a sunny sailing area with the required infrastructure around (charter industry) when one is about to go sailing in the end of September/ early October (Monsoon, Hurricane Season) We found out that there are ideal flight connections with CONDOR from Frankfurt to Mahé/ Seychelles, leaving Friday night, returning Sunday early morning. If one has some concerns about leg space in Eco with this carrier, the premium economy is worth it’s money. So, as per the last charters, we booked via Winward Islands, the broker company. Service as always was great. We got connected to DreamYachtCaharters, a French company operation world wide. To say it up front – the  Cat was clean, well equipped and ready to go – we haven’t chartered any better yet. Check their website anyhow – we think the information provided there is the best available on the web. The cruising guide “Seychelles Nautical Pilot” is the worst curising guide we did held in our hands – but it’s the only one available. For the areas of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue are 3 charts available and not every islet around those three major ones has an appropriate chart, zoom in available- nor do all bays. However eyeball navigation is easy except for some rocks between La Digue and Praslin which are easy to avoid but still not breaking the surface. As said, we arrived in Mahé on Saturday morning, took the bus to the Cocos Island Cat-Marina. After having waited for a couple of 10minuets we boarded. After leaving the sheltered area the smiling faces suddenly disappeared. The 50min ride to Praslin, that’s where DreamYachtCharters runs a second operation, was a nightmare. Waves of 3m are usually not a problem at all while sailing. But the High-Speed-Cat forced its way through the swell at a speed of 30ish knots. The result was a very uncoordinated bumping vessel which was not easy to cope with. At this point we recommend: take either the transfer by plane if you do not have too much luggage or charter only from Mahé – your holiday will start much (!) better. The Marina at Mahé is right where the ferry arrives, it takes 10mins with luggage to arrive at the jetty after embarking the speed ferry. DreamYachtCharter-Office at Praslin looks a bit wearn down actually but the hand over and handling was smooth and easy. Provisioning at Praslin is difficult and quite a bit of leg work. Don’t expect grocery-shops like one is used from Europe. They are small, cold cuts, chease etc is deep frozen or canned, wine probably over aged due to the hot climate etc. etc.  Preprovisioning is highly recommendable- especially for water, beer and all kind of soft drinks. The situation is slightly better at La Digue, which is not far away (10nm or so) – but only if the goods are not out of stock.  Can’t comment on Mahé in this respect but we would assume it should be better there. On a more general note: we didn’t sail too much but did a bit of beach hopping. For this a Cat is great since I lies more stable on the water under anchor – sailing remains boring. Anse Lazio: Anchore anywhere, drop your anchore on the sand but not on the grass. Holding is poor since the sand seems to be very firm down there. Release your full chain therefore. Keep a good berth to all rocks at the sides of the bay. It is very sheltered from SEasterly winds. The waves do break at the beach though and at times the wind changes even in SE monsoons. Keep this in mind in line with the poor holding before dropping the anchore. Some vessles come in and go straight very close to shore and the rocks. It looks like those guys do know their business but I doubt. DreamYachtCharters admitted that a lot of damages happing to their vessels. La Digue Cross, La Digue, in front of the marina. There is good holding in front of the marina and further north in 5-7m depth. The area is choppy though even with a cat. You can go with the dingy into the marina easily and moor it up there. We left it twice in the darkness until 10-11pm and didn’t have to regret it. The dinner at Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie is pricy. The wine selection is great, the food is good the atmosphere top cool.  Diving with Andrea, Azurra Pro Divers @ Lad Digue there is nice and very uncomplicated. He would pick you up/ drop you at your vessel. All dives at Seychelles need to be guided – with him it was very relaxed. Anse Volbert, Praslin, anchor north of St. Pierre right next to XYZ. Good holding on the white patches. There is “White Tip Divers” right at the northern end of the beach. You can go there by dingy – after completing the paper work, they would pick you up at your boat. The hotel right at the beach hosts a great Spa for reasonable money.  Since it’s a marine reserve the authorities will come by in the morning by rib and ask for 250 rupees for the boat for a 24hrs stay (as per 2012). Fishing is not permitted but right south of St.Pierre one can. Go their around dusk, have a couple of hooks ready, some fish peaches and sand. Bread the fish in sand, put it on a hook and then down to the bottom with it. Within minutes you will be successful and have lunch ready (Red Snapper, Barracuda and Jackfish mainly). Sister Island, Big Sister: choppy and only for the day. There is a coral reef which is attracting a lot of day visitors. It’s a nice scenery though. Anchoring space is limited and it’s very deep. We anchored in around 15- 17m water depth, let all 60m chain down and dragged quite a bit. Baie Beau Vallon, Mahé . The beach looks nice and the area well sheltered – which is not true. The hills have an unfortunate cut which channelize the SE, accelerates it and blows it onto the anchoring vessels which are deemed to anchore in a certain area, fully exposed to this wind. Holding is good though provided that you manage to get your anchor down on one of this white patches. Give it a good reverse to see if the chain is firm, since the wind might blow stronger overnight. Port Lunay, Mahé, this bay is right around the corner of Baie Beau Vallon. Provides better shelter from the wind and claims to be the only “perfect” spot for all kind of monsoons and wind directions. Still a bit of swell comes always around the corner. We picked one of the mooring boogies but it the ground looked good for anchoring there as well. There is a nice hotel at the beach which stretches around the bay a bit on to the hills in south. The food is pricey but only ok, wine is good and location kind of in-style. Its not a must but we didn’t regret to have eaten there. Give the rocks (marked by a yellow marker which is lit at night) a good berth! Anse St. José, Praslin. Pretty well protected, I would bet that the night would work there as well. There are enough sandy areas where one can drop the anchor safely in 4-5m. The sand at the beach is full of sea grass and thus hosts nasty sand flys. A. Petite Cour Praslin. The curising guide says that’s safe to enter the bay but its full of corrals and very shallow – don’t do that! Anchor outside in 5-7m or pick one of the mooring buoy a little out there. It’s like almost everywhere a bit choppy here. The hotel doesn’t except visitors who are not coming through the entrance gate – even not for dinner. So there is not much to do here unless you enjoy your evening on the boat. “White Tip Divers” would pick you up from here by the way.