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Seychelles: Schooner

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Schooner > Seychelles > Africa

[Visited: July 2003]

The Seychelles lie in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and the main islands are linked by fast catamarans and flights carried out by small aircraft. The traditional way to travel from one island to the other is, however, by schooner. These are small boats that nowadays mostly carry cargo, but they do also take passengers. It is not known by everyone, and on the way from Mahé to Praslin Island, we were refused passages because the boat had to carry gas, and for security reasons no passengers were accepted.

Picture of Schooner (Seychelles): Schooner approaching Mahe Island

It was still very early in the morning when we arrived with our luggage at the quay of the small port of La Digue. We put our bags down where the schooner was tied to shore, and waited for what would happen. There was no one around, and the boat was supposed to leave in less than half an hour, at four o'clock in the morning. A few minutes before four, an older man cycled up the quay, parked his bike, and got out a bunch of keys. He proved to be the captain of the schooner, confirmed that he would sail to Mahé and that we could come, and unlocked the cabin. Then, he left again.

Picture of Schooner (Seychelles): Sail of schooner in Seychelles

More sleepy passengers showed up, apparently aware of the fact that the boat would not leave in time. When we finally left, there were already hints of the first sunlight in the far east. Fortunately, we could still spot some bright stars, and falling ones as well. The plankton in the sea left a sparkling tail behind the bow. After Praslin, we roughed it out on the ocean waves that were hitting us from the side. The boat bouned up and down the waves, taking in water regularly before diving back into the waves. I was standing at the bow and didn't dare to move to the back, as there was no protection on the side. We felt a little unstable when we set foot on land at Mahé.

Picture of Schooner (Seychelles): Schooner at sea
Picture of Schooner (Seychelles): Schooner docked at Victoria Harbour

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