University At Sea travel blog








April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday

Curieuse Island, Seychelles

This is the second time we’ve been to the Seychelle Islands, but who’s complaining about being in Paaradise? And what a way to spend Easter Sunday. I don’t think I’ll ever forget this one.

Seychelles is an archipelago nation of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean. In February, we visited Praslin and Mahe. Today we would be seeing Curieuse Island. We arrived at Preslin and after getting on that island by ship’s tender, we boarded a catamaran that would take us to the island. It was a beautiful ride with a gentle breeze, giant rock formations cropping out of the ocean, and a dazzling white beach as we approached. We needed to get into small boats from the catamaran, and that meant a wet landing, but the sand on the beach was soft as powder, with not a pebble to poke into your feet. We were led by Jimmy, who had been our guide on our previous visit. He is very articulate and speaks so clearly that not one word is missed.

Jimmy led us to the giant land tortoises, an endangered species who live here. They lay their eggs on the beach in May and June. Guardians watch over the eggs and the little hatchlings until they are old enough to fend for themselves. We had a chance to touch and feed them, and also hold the little tortoises.

Then we had the option of taking a one-hour walk across the island or get back on the catamaran and meet the group that was walking across. Some people should have opted for the latter, but didn‘t and had a pretty hard time of it. The terrain of that one-hour walk was not explained. It was not level, but quite steep, climbing along rocks that formed “steps” And the rocks don’t make standard “steps“, but can be very irregular. A few times Mike or Bill leant me a hand when the level was too steep or the footing precarious. It was also 90°, not counting the humidity.

Jimmy told us how important the mangrove trees were that we were passing. Those gnarled roots are a great help for the ecology of the area holding back the soil during heavy rains. We saw tiny “fingers” poking up from the ground and larger clusters called “elbows“. He wants to see a halt to global warming , because as the North Pole gets warmer and the ocean gets higher, the Seychelles could disappear. Jimmy found a giant land crab with huge claws and eyes that protruded from its shell. We also saw some ghost crabs near the water and a lot of green snails in some soft ground.

We finally made our way to the end of the trail where the group that took the catamaran was waiting for us, rested. Those that made that choice knew their limitations and acted wisely. I did the walk and found it very interesting for the things we saw, and I was able to finish without any distress. There were some fellows manning charcoal fires preparing our lunch. In the meantime, we could take a swim.

So on this beautiful Easter Sunday, I took a swim in the most sparkling Indian Ocean at a white sand beach, then had a barbecue lunch of chicken and red snapper cooked on the grill accompanied with potato salad, cole slaw, shredded carrots, rice, noodles, and a cooked tomato dish. For dessert there were papaya and finger bananas; the length of the banana is about the width of the palm of my hand, and unbelievably sweet. Our afternoon ended at 1:20 PM when we had to start back to La Digue Island where Discovery moved to while we were at Curieuse Island Some chose to spend some time on LaDigue Island; I headed back to the ship to just relax.

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