Lying 1,000 miles off Africa’s east coast, between 240 and 600 miles north of the equator in the Indian Ocean, the 115 islands that comprise the Republic of Seychelles are among the most isolated in the world. Arab traders first sailed to the Seychelles around 800 A.D. Phoenician, Polynesian, Chinese, and European explorers followed, but it wasn’t until the 1700s that French colonists settled on the larger islands. Today, the population of the entire country numbers only 84,000 and it represents a rich commingling of French, British, Indian, Middle Eastern, and African culture. The French influence remains prominent; Creole is commonly spoken along with English.
While coral atolls make up most of the 72 low-lying Outer Islands, the majority of the Inner Islands, the largest of which consist of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, are geological wonders of twisted granite, mountainous and lush with tropical forests that support species of birds found nowhere else on Earth. Giant tortoises inhabit some of the Seychelles, nesting on the fine, white-sand beaches fronted with exquisitely beautiful coral reefs and azure seas that make a crewed Seychelles yacht charter unique and enriching.
Although a crewed Seychelles yacht charter focuses on the easier passages between the tightly knit, main Inner Islands, The Seychelles are situated in a balmy, relatively calm swath of the Indian Ocean that covers approximately 150,000 square miles. In this part of the world, the annual monsoon influences the weather and wind directions. The northwest monsoon begins in November, ushering in northwesterly winds and more rain than typically falls from May through October, when the winds shift more to the southeast beginning in April. Regardless of the season, wind velocities average 10 to 20 knots and the temperature ranges from 82°F to 86°F (28°C to 30°C). With a professional and highly personable captain and private gourmet chef aboard a luxury Seychelles yacht, an exceptional and relaxing sailing adventure in the Indian Ocean is a unique indulgence not to be missed.
A crewed Seychelles yacht charter unfolds in an exotic, less-traveled part of the world, which is what makes sailing in the Seychelles so appealing. Small, secluded coves fringed with majestic palms set back from pristine white-sand beaches indent many of the islands. Located just offshore, cruisers will find coral reefs that are resplendent in hues of brown, orange, green, and blue. Half of the Seychelles is set aside as a natural preserve to protect the rare birds – the Seychelles bulbul, black parrot, and fruit pigeon, to name a few – and giant tortoises that live nowhere else, but in the Pacific’s Galapagos Islands. The natural wonders are enough to make any Seychelles yacht charter memorable. The seaside resorts, boutiques, and fine restaurants found on some of the Inner Islands enhance the appeal of exploring these exotic waters aboard a luxury Seychelles yacht.
Mahé is the largest and most developed isle in the archipelago. Through its center are mountains that soar to almost 3,000 feet above sea level, the slopes cloaked in verdant tropical forests and laced with hiking trails in the Morne Seychellois National Park. The 44 miles of coastline has numerous picturesque bays and coves that lure sailors from all over the globe, including Anse Major, Anse Jasmin, and Petit Anse. The island also has 65 world-class beaches ideal for swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing, and beach combing. Of particular interest is the beach at Beau Vallon Bay, with its blue lagoons, resort, and casinos. The port of Victoria, capital of the Seychelles, is a vibrant little city. One of its unusual features is the Clock Tower, a pint-sized replica of Big Ben dating back to 1903. The 15-acre National Botanical Gardens and the National Museum are other must-see attractions of a Seychelles sailing vacation.
Located about 5 nautical miles off the coast of Mahé, the small islands comprising the St. Anne Marine National Park are jewels of the Seychelles archipelago. The reefs have an abundant diversity of hard and soft corals, and one of the largest expanses of sea grass in the islands. Green and hawksbill turtles are commonly seen foraging for food in this undersea prairie. The snorkeling and scuba diving is splendid. Ashore on Moyenne, Round, Cerf, and St. Anne islands are restaurants featuring Creole and haute cuisine.
The twisted granite outcrops and giant boulders of this island are natural works of art formed millions of years ago by forces deep inside the Earth. They adorn the white-sand beaches and impart an otherworldly appeal to an already exotic scene. Hiking trails lead into the mountains and the quiet country roads are ideal for bicycle tours. For an unforgettable adventure, book a helicopter ride and see the cruising paradise from the air. Visit the working copra factory (a coconut processing center for making coconut oil), the Vanilla Plantation, and other intriguing sites, then enjoy the nightlife at the Tarrosa Bar, Restaurant and Disco.
From seaward the hills of Curieuse Island appear to be a blend of deep red and green, a result of the reddish-tinted soil and the lush vegetation. Stands of coco-de-mer palms grow on the island. These trees produce a double coconut as heavy as 40 pounds, the largest fruit in the world. Snorkeling and scuba diving is spectacular on the reefs. Two popular dive spots are Coral Garden and Pointe Rouge. A trail meanders from Baie Laraie across the island to Anse José and includes a boardwalk section that passes through a mangrove forest, primal and breathtaking in its beauty. On the beach near The Doctor’s House, a museum highlighting the history of this one-time leper colony, giant tortoises sun themselves, seemingly oblivious to nearby visitors to the park.