New Year, New Country

Got up quite late this morning (9.00am) and, while Trevor went down to breakfast, I preferred to enjoy some coffee and fresh fruit in our cabin, while I slowly (and rather sluggishly) got washed and dressed.  Going out onto our balcony, we looked around with interest at our surroundings.

We were not booked on an excursion today; we’d be going on a tour here tomorrow as we were due to stay in port overnight.  Therefore we had the whole day to explore at our own pace in this, our 87th country.  😊

First of all, a paragraph or two to describe the Seychelles.  The islands were first discovered in 1502 by the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama on his voyage to India.  However, it was the French East India Company who colonised many of the nearby islands and in the 18th century laid claim to the Seychelles.  It was a common stop for Arab slave traders, British and many European sailors travelling the routes to Africa and India.  It was Britain, in the early 19th century who took control from France.

The country of the Republic of the Seychelles achieved independence from Britain in 1976. Since then, the Seychelles opened up and developed as one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the world, with its glorious beaches and picture-postcard beauty.

The Boudicca was at anchor about a mile from shore, and we could see the liberty boats ferrying the passengers across.  We decided to put our swimming costumes on underneath our clothes in case we found a gorgeous beach on which to relax and swim, so I wore my tankini with a matching strapless overdress.

We then went to collect a tender ticket to await our turn, because priority was understandably being given to those who had booked a tour.  Eventually our number was called so we descended down to the pontoon on Deck 2 and embarked the liberty boat for the 10-minute ride across.  The day was already hot and sunny and we could see hillsides with little houses perched on the side, in among the lush greenery, as well as a line of gleaming white catamarans moored up.

Once we got ashore, we decided to try to find a beach.  This seemed to be the more populated part of the island and there were several private dwellings as well as shops, restaurants, bars and commercial buildings, all of them closed on New Year’s Day.  There was quite a bit of traffic about, and we had to be careful walking on the narrow roads, which had no pavements.

The sun was already scorching hot, even though it was only around 10.30am.  We had only been walking about 10 minutes or so, but in this heat it was pretty tiring, and I soon wished I hadn’t worn my Lycra cossie under a Lycra dress, as they were not the best fabrics for keeping cool.  After we’d walked about half a mile with no glorious beach in sight, we decided to turn around and come back the other way, staying in the shade of trees as much as possible.

We did find a tiny little sandy beach area which gave a charming view out towards the small boats and yachts bobbing about on the water.  I kicked off my shoes and walked in the sand down to the water’s edge, paddling in the warm water, where a lone coconut was gently rolling backwards and forwards on the tide.  We could see several holes and mounds of sand, and we wondered what had made them, until we saw several large crabs emerging from and going into the holes.

Continuing on our way, we walked a bit further along until we came to the water’s edge near where the liberty boat had dropped us off.  We sat on some large rocks looking out to sea; one lady had adventurously clambered down the steep rocks to get to a patch of pristine white sand and have a swim in the sea, but in my flip-flops I prudently decided to stay where I was. 😊

As nothing seemed to be open and we didn’t yet have any of the local currency (the Seychelles Rupee) to get a taxi, we decided to return to the Boudicca in time for lunch, because we’d have the chance to come back again tomorrow when we were doing a half-day tour.  We therefore waited in the hot sunshine for the liberty boat to come back, and once again we skimmed across the bay to the pontoon and boarded the ship.  I had thought that I might swim in the pool as I was wearing my cossie anyway, but after a light lunch by the poolside I decided I was still quite tired after our late night and went back to the cool cabin (suite!!) for a post-luncheon nap instead.

Then I had a lovely refreshing shower and did my hair, and we sat out on the balcony for a while, just taking in the scenery and passing pleasantries with anyone passing by our terrace.  😊

The afternoon passed in its pleasant way, then it was time once again to start getting ready for dinner.  The food, service and company on table #31 have been superb so far, and it’s always a treat when dinner time comes around! 😊

Later on, in the Neptune Lounge, Trevor and I practised our ballroom dancing once again, and then it was time for tonight’s entertainment by Welsh comedian Lloyd Davies.  We realised we’d seen him before, on the Braemar, but he’s really funny, as well as being a talented composer and musician, so we looked forward to seeing him again, and he didn’t disappoint.

Then it was along to the Lido Lounge to do the quiz; no sign of Joe tonight because he said he was going to see the comedian again (!) so we were joined by another couple but, as ever, we came nowhere near winning.  Nonetheless we enjoyed the drinks and cocktails and the banter with our fellow passengers until it was time to return to stateroom (suite!!) 7038, and enjoy our final drink of the day out on our balcony, listening to the sounds of the sea and the crickets chirping, and enjoying the balmy night-time air.

Then we settled down in our crisp cotton sheets and, once again, enjoyed a good night’s sleep.

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