This is the twelfth post in a series on the French-themed trip I took last summer. This is the fourth of several posts about our trip to the Seychelles. In previous posts, I wrote about bats in the sky and on the plate, the market in the capital city, Victoria, and the rare flora and fauna of the Seychelles. In earlier posts, we visited La Réunion, the French island colony in the Indian Ocean, where I tried French-influenced Indian cuisine, suggested an AOC for Chouchou de Cirque de Salazie, and visited the marché in St. Pierre, where we had caramelized banana jam. In case you missed them, read my earlier posts on how I became such a Francophile, come along on a Parisian food tour inspired by David Lebovitz, see me try out his recipe for pain d’épices au chocolat, read my homage to lovely Montmartre, and see the Space Invaders in Paris and the street art of Belleville.
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Mahé is the Seychelles’ largest and most developed island, like Hawaii’s Oahu, so to experience the true, isolated beauty of the islands, most visitors visit at least one outer island. My husband had selected the tiny island of La Digue. It was “just” a hop, skip and a jump away by ferry. Not just any ferry, but a high-speed catamaran, which seemed to promise an easy one hour trip to Praslin on route to La Digue. For US $70 a person one-way (about 5x the priced the locals are charged), we rode in what felt like steerage, on the roughest water I’d ever been on in my life. Fearing the worst, I premedicated myself and the children with anti-nausea medication, but it barely made a dent. We closed our eyes, my husband fanned me with a newspaper, and 3 out of the 4 of us managed not to vomit. But all around us for the longest hour of our lives, people were loudly retching and vomiting into their motion sickness bags. It was only because everyone felt so ill that there was not a mad rush off the boat, only to climb aboard a smaller ferry for the last 5 mintues to reach La Digue. Mercifully, all seats on that old-fashioned little ferry were open air, and the water calm.
Finally, we reached the tiny island of La Digue, where the only transportation options ar your feet, rented bicycles, or ox-drawn cart. Our simple A-frame bungalow was paradise, and we settled our shaken-up bodies on our beds before exploring the island.
The main attraction on La Digue is Anse Source d’Argent, an gorgeous little beach landmarked by one of Seychelles’ icons, the large granite boulders which are said to be the prehistoric peaks of Gondwanaland, one of the early-precontinents. These are set on soft, white sand beaches fronted by crystal clear, warm, turquoise water. After building up the kind of hunger you get after swimming, we had lunch at the only place to eat at Anse Source d’Argent,which was carefully prepared and delicious at Lanbousir. More fish curry, a local fried rice made of basmati rice, and a caramelized banana crepe for dessert.
Yes, paradise, but remember we had to ride what felt like the Titanic to get here.
We wised up on the way back and purchased one-way plane tickets to Praslin, which ended up being about the same price as our foreigner’s price for the high speed catamaran, which we would never take again. Months later, looking back on my photos, I cannot believe I had the opportunity to luxuriate in such natural beauty. It’s almost enough to forget the ferry ride over– but not quite. After my experience I resolved to spread the word to fellow travelers to La Digue– take Air Seychelles, not the high-speed catamaran. Trust me.
If you liked this post, please come back next week for the final segment in this series, and consider sharing this with your friends. I’ll share some recipes for the food I’ve been writing about. Thanks for reading.