Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Pictures for the family

And so, dear family, these are pictures of our long awaited 20th anniversary celebration, BUDGET style in the Seychelles on Mahe Island. I hope you enjoy taking a look. I have included brief captions so you can follow along chronologically as to how we enjoyed our days there. It was one of the most beautiful places we have seen on God's Earth. I would love for each and every one of you to be able to visit here some day. It does NOT take thousands of dollars, contrary to popular belief. If you are ever serious about planning a trip to the Seychelles, ask us how to help you TRULY enjoy while not going broke!

We couldn't resist a picture of this funny sign--this was in the Addis Ababa airport and the language in Ethiopia has some different letters! It looks like it says, "HaHa, NO SMOKING" 

The Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles, airport is right on the water.

The view is stunning as you exit the airport--straight up the mountainside!

The view from our patio. Directly down the hill is the beach. The layout (STEEP HILL TO CLIMB) reminded us of Laguna Riviera. 

We stayed at a place called Surfers Self-Catering Chalets and the business owners started with the above restaurant which is situated on the beach. The 6 different chalets for the Surfers hotel are located up the hill behind this building.

Our first time putting our feet on OUR beach!

I was still dressed in what I wore on the airplane, but I didn't care, I just wanted to put my feet in the sand!

Can you find the bird? In the center of the photo, the bird is yellow with red splotches. This one visited every morning .

Our beach. So beautiful.

One of the ways we saved money was by riding the public bus everywhere we went. It was only  about 40 cents to ride as far as you wanted. Of course, the real thrill was the way they drove on the narrow roads above cliffs overhanging the ocean or forests. Even a millionaire that can afford paying for a luxurious hotel suite should ride the bus at least once! Otherwise, they miss out on the total local experience! Believe us, not only do the drivers' skills give you a "thrill" but seeing how the locals dress, talk, interact and get around gives a better overall picture of the Seychellois culture.

Standing in front of the daily open market in Victoria. Fresh fruits, vegetables, souvenirs, fish and various oils are the types of things filling the various tables.
red snapper and tuna

You better believe we bought some of this very special essential oil (packaged in a used Jack Daniels bottle)

Enjoying our complimentary champaign given to us for our 20th anniversary by the hotel owners.

Geoff loved the rocks on our beach, both at high tide and low tide.

Ad on the bus stop at Anse Royale. Anybody interested in getting a degree from the University of the Seychelles? Can't beat the location!!!!!

The bus stop at Port Lanay and a sweet picture of our daily limousine.

Port Lanay is a beautiful inlet situated on the north west side of Mahe. If you want to spend about 500 euro/night you are welcome to stay here at some of the nearby resorts, or you could spend about 7,000 euro/night at the farther south Four Seasons for their hilltop 17,000 sq. foot accommodation. It is certainly beautiful and tranquil, but trust us, you can enjoy the Seychelles without dropping that many dimes.

The Seychelles has a strong Catholic culture. This cross in Port Lanay is testimony of the faith of the Seychellois.

Port Lanay has amazing rocks which strikingly rest on the beach. It is also a great inlet for snorkeling.

Another view of the rock formations at Port Lanay

In the early part of the morning the beach at Port Lanay has few people.

After leaving Port Lanay we stopped off at Anse La Mouche. It was said to be a great beach for kids, as it is very calm. We found it to be deserted and not as pretty as other beaches. There were a lot of fishing boats just a 100 feet or so out and there were many dogs running loose. But, it was nice to walk along the shore just the two of us.

On our third day we took the bus to the North shore of Mahe in order to hike the Anse Major trail. The reward was a secluded beach that could only be reached by hike or boat. Our feet were free transport, plus the beauty along the trail was outstanding and not to be missed!

The trail takes you high above the north coast of Mahe and the colors are extreme.

Besides mansions you also find local "houses" (this is more along the lines of a shack--made of sheet metal and poorly built doors and windows.

looking straight down from the trail

regardless of where we were on the trail the views were stunning


Evidence of faith is everywhere

What to say? it is truly breathtaking!
The reward of our hike! A lovely, private beach with only a few people on it.

The trail also took us out of the shelter of the forest and through some pretty rocky and blazing hot portions, too.

It was here that we ate the lunch we packed and soaked up the sweet view of the Indian Ocean on Mahe's northwest side.

This beach was just over the rocks from the first beach we came upon at the end of the hike. A film company was getting ready to shoot a movie and kept badgering us to leave. But, we stayed for a little while and took in the pretty surroundings.

On the way back we took a different route for a short bit and found this tree growing out of the rock.

Back in Victoria later that afternoon we found some Gelato near the open market place.


This bird and its partner hopped about each morning just off our veranda. They always traveled together.

Fruit bats were plentiful and flew during the day. They are huge and also a local cuisine item--fruit bat curry. NO, we did not try any. 

Enjoying the late afternoon low tide and warmth. On our 4th day we simply enjoyed our beach and didn't travel anywhere.

But on our 5th day we took a tour of some nearby Islands--"Long" "Round" and "Moyenne" which means middle. We can't remember our boat driver's name, but we can tell you that the answer to most of our questions was given as follows, "Ya'Man!"

Heading out from Victoria to hike and snorkel.

We stopped on the way to feed some fish.

They jumped out of the water to snatch bread from your hand!

heading into Moyenne

Exiting onto the soft white sand

A few people have owned Moyenne Island in its known history. The most recent was a man from the UK who bought it in 1961 and lived there from the 80s until he died in 2014. Half of the island is a sanctuary and the other half deeded to the government for tourism.

We snorkeled in the waters just beyond the breaking wave.

This is the simple house that the owner, Gresham, lived in on Moyenne.

Large land tortoises were introduced to the Island by Gresham and continue to live there. One of them is being a bit cheeky and trying to bite my behind. 

After hiking, snorkeling, and a beach BBQ we docked in a shallow sand bar area between a number of Islands and were allowed to explore, swim and enjoy.

The sand bar was very long and provided beautiful views of nearby Islands.

Another sunrise on our beach inspires worship of our Creator!

God made some funny looking creatures! These guys were constantly busy on the beach.

Geoff got up early every morning and enjoyed the sunrise.

We headed to the west side of the Island on our last full day on Mahe. This is the view from the bus stop just a couple hundred feet from our chalet.

When we got off the bus at Baie Lazare we first stopped at an intriguing cemetery. Most of the graves were not marked and many were broken apart.

Exploring the west side of the Island led us to this conglomeration of signs. It reminded us of Laguna!

We hiked for more than 2 hours in forest, neighborhood and near a few swanky hotels.

This was our reward. Aaaaaaaah

We walked for awhile on the beach.

The surf was much stronger on this side of the Island. We were stopped by security guards who informed us that we could go no further as it was private land. They wouldn't tell us who owned it, but were happy to direct us to exit through the the neighboring resort--which, in our opinion, wasn't much to look at. 

After about an hour we were back on the village road and came across this interesting fruit stand tended to by "this person" who wrote on the sign in front of the stand, "Please, I am not a woman." (Apparently, this was important information.)

Very eclectic taste in building decor.

Finally we made it down to the other side of the beach, which we could see earlier, but weren't allowed to walk to over the rocks behind us! So, it could have taken us about 15 minutes instead of an hour had the private property not been in the middle of our path. Oh well, we love exploring and we certainly loved seeing the locals.

This is one of the rocks we climbed once we made it to the other beach.

The surf at Baie Lazare has very strong currents and swimming is not allowed during May-September.

But, the beauty and serenity is definitely not hindered by strong currents!

This little beach vehicle is a cutie and I want one! I've never heard of it before, "Moke"

The reason behind the name of the Bay, "Baie Lazare"

Waiting at the bus stop at the end of our hike--I'm enjoying the view of "MY Moke"

We capped off our final full day of exploration with Sunday brunch at Les Dauphins. Red Snapper, veggie fritters, various salads, yummy fruit and desserts that will give an instant sugar coma! Fried sweet bananas, sugar glazed coconut and sweet potato drenched in sugar glaze. It was killer.

Our waitress insisted on taking quite a few shots of us in honor of our 20th anniversary. The beach at which the restaurant  is Anse Royale and its water can be seen in the back ground.

Back on our beach to watch the sunrise on our last morning before we flew out we found a hermit crab making his way back to the forest after a night of carousing.

Gorgeous sunrise at Surfers beach, Anse Parnel.

Aaaaaand, the steep hike back up the hill to our chalet.

Our chalet's veranda

The hotel's resident dog came to tell us goodbye on the morning we left. 

On the way to Victoria we stopped to snap a photo of the cross we saw every time we traveled into Victoria. It is located at Anse Royale and was one of many we saw around Mahe.

Another cross prominently displayed in Victoria

We enjoyed a rich coffee and pastry before heading out to pick out some souvenirs.

I hope you all have enjoyed this little photo tour! One last thing to note: If you can fly a carrier other than Ethiopian, you should. Not very comfortable, food--pretty bleh, on board safety attention a little lax, but on the up side the coffee is amazing! Also, the Addis Ababa airport is the absolute, most chaotic I have ever been in! With the poor PA system employees resort to yelling out the names of destinations in an effort to gather groups of travelers together. Then they shuffle groups of people back and forth between security gates. Absolutely hilarious in one sense, but also frustrating. One group of travelers were shuffled in two different directions only to be told once arriving (finally) at their gate (at midnight) that their flight was cancelled until 7 a.m.