The Sharks of the Seychelles

A frenzy of torpedo shaped large grey reef sharks swim toward us at breakneck speed. I look into a cold, grey eye and suddenly the herd splits around us so fast the water of the deep blue ocean that surrounds us make shockwaves, rocking us from side to side. They’re hunting blue fusiliers, pretty neon blue fish that love to travel in large schools. Gulp, gulp, swallow. We’re on a deep blue dive off the island of Praslin in the Seychelles, on a dive site called South Marianne. We’re privileged. At the time, not a lot of tourists knew about the site and we requested it as a special favor from our dive leader. It is a specialized advanced deep drift dive and the dive leader relents because we are instructor and dive master. The water is so clear, it feels like we’re suspended in air. There is a strange and eerie creaking sound going on and after a while I realize it’s the beautiful granite boulders the Seychelles is famous for. This time they’re under water and the current is causing it to grind together with its fierce movement. The ocean floor lies 60 meters below us and the surface is 45 meters above us. The sharks’ frenzied hunting continues throughout our entire dive and there are large pelagic fish, spotted eagle rays and game fish everywhere around us. The ocean that surrounds us is pristine. It is a spectacle of magnanimous proportions and I don’t want the dive to end. We’re getting low on air and it is time to do the slow, slow, slow decompression ascent. We get back on the boat and I’m high on adrenaline. It was the best and most memorable dive I had ever done and probably will ever do. That afternoon we sit at a little beach cafe on the whitest beach imaginable. All the senses are enhanced. I eat a Thai green curry that knocks me right out of my dive boots because of its heat. The following morning we go to Paradise in the form of Anse Lazio Beach where we laze on white sand and snorkel with turtles, barracuda and hump headed parrot fish. The humidity is so thick you can move the air with your hands. We walk on the road next to the ocean and can see barracuda swimming next to us. The experience is surreal. Back at our bungalow, we take the steps into the ocean that lead from our porch and snorkel with more turtles where they graze on the sea grass. The host of our accommodation at Le Colibri cooks a traditional Seychellois dinner and all of us staying at the guest house come together at the table for a shared dinner and travel stories.

It is time for a ferry ride to the island of La Digue. It’s unspoiled beauty assaults the senses. There are no cars on the island. Transport is pedestrian, bicycle and ox wagon. We decide to walk around the island. It takes us from sunrise to sunset to do the full loop and by doing this, we get to the remotest beaches where our virgin footprints indent the sand for the first time. It is a brutal walk to get to these as you have to navigate some serious boulders. The extreme thirst, exhaustion, heat and humidity is worth every beautiful step.

That night we fall into an exhausted deep sleep in front of an open window that blows in a light sea breeze and a full moon that looks like an enormous sunrise. The time comes for us to return to Mauritius. My senses experienced the garden of Eden here and I feel blessed to have been a part of such pristine beauty, even if just for a short time.

I fell in love with the rhythm of the Seychelles. We saw this artist from the Seychelles live in Mauritius. He had an incredible stage presence and got the crowd dancing with him all through the night.

For more on Seychelles culture and food, see the Foreign Lands section of this site.

Well, the time has come for me to focus on writing a cookbook. Blog posts will now appear once a week.

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