This morning, when we got up and went out onto our balcony, we discovered we were docked in Victoria, the capital of the Seychelles, situated on the island of Mahé. Today we were booked onto a half-day tour to explore this area and also spend time at the beach.
It was hard to believe we were halfway through our fabulous voyage already. Some of the people we’d been speaking to, including our quiz team-mate Joe, were spending seven weeks on the Boudicca, staying with her all the way back to Dover and taking in India, the UAE and the Suez Canal on the way home. Trevor and I would love to do a 21- or 28-day cruise, once we’re retired.
But today here we were in another new port and we looked forward to exploring. We went up on deck after breakfast to take in our surroundings, as our trip wasn’t scheduled to depart until 9.30am. While we were up there, we watched a fishing boat arrive quayside with a huge load of fish in a net; this was attached to a crane and lifted ashore into the back of a truck, and sent down a chute into a large refrigerated container. Then the fishing boat left and another boat with another load of fish arrived in its place, for the process to begin again. The fish looked quite large, and we later found out they were tuna.
It was then time for us to go down to the Neptune Lounge and wait for the call to disembark the Boudicca, which didn’t take long. We then boarded a small bus which took us through the bustling streets of Victoria, where there was lots to see. At one point we got off the bus and followed our guide through the narrow thoroughfare, passing the Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clark Market, a large fish and fresh produce market, where we saw more boxes of the fresh tuna. It transpires that there is a large tuna canning factory, Indian Ocean Tuna Ltd. which produces 1.5 million cans of tuna a day. Amazing!
We also passed an ornate Hindu temple and well as a Catholic church; the Seychelles has a multi-cultural population. The church was lovely and cool inside and had some fantastic stained-glass windows, as well as a life-size tableau featuring the Nativity.
Back outside we strolled through the colourful streets, looking in shop windows and just people-watching. We then reboarded our bus and headed out of the town towards what the Seychelles is famous for – the beach.
As the traffic and the buildings thinned out, the scenery became more lush, with gorgeous trees bearing colourful flowers and palm trees, interspersed here and there with little shops and boutiques. After about 15 minutes or so we pulled up at the front of a hotel and resort, the Berjaya, in Beau Vallon. We had an hour and a half to make use of the hotel’s pool, bar and beach facilities, and first of all we were given a complimentary soft drink which we enjoyed sitting at a table looking towards the beach.
I really wished I had brought my cossie today as the beach was absolutely stunning. There was a wide expanse of white, powder-soft sand and coconut palms fringing the crystal-clear water. Some people were para-gliding, the speed boats hoisting the colourful canopies into the sky, others were swimming and sunbathing.
We rolled up our trouser legs to above the knees, kicked off our shoes and walked along the shoreline, allowing the gorgeous warm water to lap around our ankles and lower legs. I took loads of photos and short video footage and just delighted being in such a picture-perfect location. Then, as the morning edged towards mid-day and the sun reached its zenith, we decided to seek refuge in the shade, so we went into the hotel foyer to make the most of their free wi-fi and to post the cards I’d written out yesterday.
We then reluctantly made our way back to our waiting coach, for the journey back to the Boudicca, where we arrived in nice time for lunch at one o’clock. The pool looked very inviting, so I donned by tankini, coated myself liberally in factor-20 suntan lotion, and took to the pleasantly-warm waters, while Trevor went to the stern to continue watching the tuna boats being unloaded; they’d been busy all day.
I did a few lengths in the pool and, when I got out, I had to run to get my flip-flops back on as the wooden decking was roasting hot underfoot. I then joined Trevor and watched one of the full tuna containers being hitched to the tractor unit of a waiting lorry, ready to be taken to the factory. A new container was then craned back into place again, while yet another boat full of tuna arrived.
We then decided to return to our stateroom (suite!!) where I got showered and washed my hair before getting dried off and into clean clothes. I put my cossie and the wet towel out onto the balcony to dry; it didn’t take long in the 30+ degree heat.
The bright sunshine, sparkling ocean and the tantalising sea breeze just had the effect of making us so glad to be alive.
We then enjoyed an afternoon power nap and sat out on our balcony for a while, reading and relaxing. The Boudicca was due to set sail at 16:30 hours, so we went up on deck to enjoy the sailaway party, with live music from the Boudicca Orchestra and Ricardo. Everyone was dancing around on the deck and enjoying cold cocktails and refreshing, foamy beer. I had a deliciously fruity sangria, and had a bit of a bop about. Everyone was smiley and happy and euphoric; the bright sunshine, sparkling ocean and the tantalising sea breeze just had the effect of making us so glad to be alive, and we took in huge lungfuls of the fresh sea air and felt full of contentment. It’s very hard to describe the feeling, but all I can say is if I was a little dog I would have been leaping about, my tail wagging frenetically. 😊
After an hour or so, we returned to stateroom 7038 in time for the soft knock on the door which heralded the arrival of our canapés. My nicely blow-dried hair was all over the place with the breeze and the humidity, but so what – tonight’s dress code was smart-casual and no-one’s hair was immaculate anyway, we were all in the same boat, so to speak. 😊
The Boudicca was well underway by the time we went down to dinner at 6.15pm, in fact we had three full days at sea to look forward to now, en route to the Maldives.
Dinner was the usual grand affair; good food, good wine and good company. Then we spent the evening in the usual way – along to the Neptune Lounge for the dancing and the evening’s entertainment. Tonight, it was the magician Rick Green again; this time he was doing close-up magic, where we could see his hands manipulating the cards via a camera projected onto a large screen. He really was very good and put on a great performance.
Then along we went to the Lido Lounge for the quiz. There was no sign of Joe tonight, but we were joined by another very pleasant couple who introduced themselves as Gary and Angela. We didn’t win the quiz (again!) but our score was an improvement on what it had been recently, so things were looking up. 😊
We enjoyed a few cocktails in the Lido Lounge, while listening to Colin James, the resident pianist, and watching the dancers. It was hot and sultry in the lounge because the huge glass doors, the width of the room, were open and the tropical warmth infiltrated the room, so I didn’t have the energy to get up and join the dancers.
We then took the last drink along to our stateroom (suite!!) and sat out for a while, winding down, before settling down for the evening, in happy anticipation of whatever tomorrow had in store. 😊