The Seychelles - A True Tropical Paradise
 
After a short stopover in Doha, Qatar (we’re told it’s the next Dubai), we arrived on Mahe Island, the main island of the Seychelles archipelago.
 
If you close your eyes and try to imagine the most perfect tropical island paradise, you might come close to the reality of the Seychelles.  This amazing archipelago nation exists several hundred miles off the cost of East Africa, on a shelf in the middle of an otherwise unoccupied section of the Indian Ocean.  The sea temperatures hover around 80 degrees with visibility that can extend between 50 and 100 feet.
 
Besides one or two of the islands, on which 90% of the 70,000 Seychellois live, the rest of the hundreds of islands are mostly uninhabited by humans, but are the home for a dazzling variety of plant and animal life, many of which can only be found in the Seychelles.  The animals include 250 year old giant land tortoises (there are more giant land tortoises than people living in the Seychelles), an indigenous species of bats with 6 foot wingspans, fish that walk on land (breathing by holding large amounts of water in their mouths so their gills can process it while on land), and the largest nut in the world (a coconut species whose seed is incredibly reminiscent of a woman’s behind--and was worshipped as such by sailors and coastal Africans alike).
 
But the real treasure is under the water.  While we’ve sailed and snorkeled a number of beautiful waters around the world, none of those locations came close to the variety and abundance of marine life that we saw jumping off our boat in the Seychelles with snorkel gear.  A typical day often included anchoring off a beautiful uninhabited island with palm trees swaying, a family of dolphins swimming in front of the boat as we laid anchor, one of us spotting a sea turtle surfacing and jumping in to hold its hands and swim with it until it got tired of the company (Jay actually got bit by one which felt that he had danced with it long enough), followed by a long snorkel, seeing schools of rainbow colored fish, barracuda as long as a person, a small school of tuna swimming through a channel, baby squid coming to our boat to play, and feeding pieces of bread in the water to our favorite friendly batfish which would play among our boat no matter where we were anchored.
 
On land, the sand was silky soft, laid anew by high tide each day, a perfect spot for a sunset drink or snack to watch the moon rise before dinghying back to our boat for a dinner under the incredibly clear stars.
True Tropical Paradise
May 12th - 24th, 2007
Seychelles
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