The Republic of the Seychelles, one of the smallest nations in the world, is situated in the Indian Ocean about 1,000 miles off the tropical shores of East Africa between 240 and 600 miles north of the equator. Isolated from the mainland for eons, the islands have become home to rare plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth. Lumbering giant tortoises that often live for more than a century, the Seychelles bulbul, black parrot, and fruit pigeon, and the awesome coco-de-mer palms that produce the largest coconuts in the world are just some of the amazing fauna and flora that thrive in the extensive parkland covering fully half of the Seychelles.
A Seychelles powerboat charter is focused mainly on the Inner Islands, the largest of which are Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue. They are remarkably different from the coral atolls that make up most of the 72 low-lying Outer Islands – geological wonders of twisted granite, mountainous and lush with tropical forests and endowed with some of the most beautiful white-sand beaches and coral reefs anywhere. Power cruising in the Seychelles is a way to discover this magical place in style, the true essence of what a Seychelles luxury yacht charter is all about.
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When undertaking a Seychelles powerboat charter, expect relatively calm waters most of the time. With a Moorings Powercat that cruises at an average of 12 to 14 knots, passages between islands can be made quickly, and the design of the yacht is well suited to open-water cruising, making for a comfortable ride even if the seas actually do kick up. As is the case elsewhere in some tropical zones, monsoons influence wind and weather conditions. The northwest monsoon starts in November and lasts until April. It’s windier and a little wetter than during the southeasterly monsoon running from May through October. Wind velocities seldom exceed 20 knots. The temperature ranges from 82°F to 86°F (28°C to 30°C). The tidal range runs from 4.5 to 5.9 feet and strong currents usually aren’t an issue. A Seychelles powerboat charter is well within the reach of skippers confident in basic coastal navigation.
The Seychelles islands are situated in a balmy, relatively calm swath of the Indian Ocean covering approximately 150,000 square miles. At its heart are the Inner Islands, which were first discovered by Arab traders at around 800 A.D. and later settled by French colonists in the 1700s. British, Indian, Middle Eastern, and African culture is commingled within the Seychelles, but the French roots of the country still exert the most influence. Creole is commonly spoken along with English. Most of the Seychelles is protected parkland, and its natural beauty and flourishing wildlife on the islands and coral reefs is the chief appeal. The occasional beachside bars and restaurants, the eclectic shops and eateries in the small villages, and the laid-back, good-natured quality of the people all contribute to the charm of a Seychelles powerboat charter.
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.