07/20/2014, Anse Lazio, Praslin Island, Seychelles
The highlight of our day today came early in the morning when we spent an hour talking to our daughter Heather and Dan for an hour via Skype. Unfortunately, we could not use the video features of Skype that would allow us to see them while we talked because the strength of the WIFI signal was not good enough. However, that was a small point because just being able to talk to one's kids from the middle of the Indian Ocean is just such a treat! It was great to catch up. Heather and Dan's schedule this summer and fall is so hectic that this may one of the few times where we will be able to catch up to them to talk.
After the call we tossed off our mooring lines and left the lovely anchorage at Anse Petite Cour. If it was not so expensive, we would have loved to stay here a few more days.
It was only a few miles to return to our wonderful anchorage at Anse Lazio, along the northern shore of Praslin. Its beautiful beaches greeted us and we were all smiles as we anchored in the middle of the bay in 25 feet of water. This is such a marvelous anchorage with lush green hills, the sides of the bay lined with a jumble of beige boulders, and the three sugar white beaches in front of us.
As the morning wore on the weather turned a bit mixed with brief rain showers passing over us. Since we are not on any real schedule until our friends, Portia and Steve arrive in mid-August, we elected to stay dry and remain on the boat for the rest of the day. Mary Margaret and I took turns enjoying the views from our hammock when it was not raining.
This weather is so different from what we are used it. It typically does not rain for very long, just brief passing showers. Then the sun comes out and it is beautiful again. However, anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes later, another shower passes over and dumps rain on us. The sun and the rain wrestle with each other like this all day. On a day like today, we will get between 5 and 10 periods of rain. With each passing shower we run out onto the deck to close all the hatches and windows only to re-open them once the rain stops. Their hinges are getting a real workout!
07/19/2014, Anse Petite Cour, Praslin island, Seychelles
Today the weather was on again and off again with periods of sun mixed between periods of heavy rain. In fact, the weather was so iffy that Mary Margaret suggested that we nix going into the La Reserve for dinner. Once again her wisdom proved to be spot on as we would have been drenched either going into shore or coming back to the boat. Furthermore, she told me that while she does enjoy going out every now and again, she really just prefers our own cooking. With the great meats we have been able to get, along with the fruits and vegetables and cheeses, we can whip up really good meals. Thus, we just stayed on the boat.
Mid-morning we were visited by the Marine Park boat. We discovered that spending the night at this anchorage cost us about $50 US. It turns out this area is part of the Curieuse Marine National Park and the use of the mooring ball costs about $20 and we each needed to buy a daily ticket for entrance to the park. That was another $30 for the two of us. Thus, spending the night here was almost as expensive as staying at the Eden Island Marina over on Mahe'. Even though we now had park tickets and could have taken the dinghy over the Curieuse Island to see the giant land tortoises that roam that island as it is part of the park, the weather prevented that adventure from happening.
Instead, I hopped into the water armed with a stainless steel wire with its end bent into the shape of a hook and swam over to the thru-hull that was plugged with seaweed. After about 5 minutes of poking and prodding, I had cleared it of the impacted seaweed and we now pump water in order to flush our toilet.
Returning to the swim ladder I saw a 5 foot barracuda that had adopted our boat as its home. He was right under the swim ladder and eyed me ferociously as I approached. I gave him a little berth and then slowly approached the ladder, giving him my most evil eye. Apparently that worked as he turned his back to me and floated slowed to the front of the boat. Whew! He was one ugly, nasty looking fellow!
Tomorrow, we will be calling our daughter Heather and Dan. They have just bought a house together and the dust is slowly settling down. After that call, we will toss off our mooring lines and return to Anse Lazio. We plan on staying there for a few days to get some little boat projects done before returning to Mahe to explore some of the anchorages there we missed. We have decided to hold off exploring Curieuse, Le Digue and the Coco Island Marine Park until Portia and Steve arrive in mid-August.
Another view from our mooring here in Anse Petite Cour.
Here is the resort that sits in front our of mooring at Anse Petite Cour.
07/18/2014, Anse Petite Cour, Praslin island, Seychelles
One of the things that we have learned during our years of cruising is that the better cruisers and by that I mean those who minimize bad weather passages, poor anchorages, food or water shortages - basically, trouble in general - are those who plan well. However, we have also learned that plans are meant to be changed to reflect any updated information one may obtain.
Well, that is what happened to us this morning. We had every intent of sailing over to Le Digue Island this day but then I saw a picture of the tiny harbor with all the boats stacked in tight, toe rail to toe rail. The picture posted to this blog shows you what I mean. Ugh! While the picture looks very cute if you were just a day visitor, living on one of those boats means no privacy and loud talk and laughter as charters have fun dinners and drinks in their cockpits. Now all of that is only appropriate for them since they have paid so much money to be here and to have a good time. However, that is one of the reasons charters and cruisers typically don't mix. While we love a good party, we put more value on our privacy and wish to have fun and parties on our terms, not on our neighbor's terms.
After seeing that picture of the harbor, we talked and decided that visiting Le Digue could wait until our friends Portia and Steve come in mid-August. At that time we will also try diving at the Coco Island Marine Park.
We had decided to return to Anse Lazio for a day or two and then return to explore those areas of Mahe' that are still waiting for us. However, as we sailed north along the eastern shore of Praslin Island Mary Margaret spied a lovely bay with some mooring balls. It was Anse Petite Cour and it was just too inviting to pass up. Thus, she guided us to a mooring ball which I tied up to. It is well protected here from the winds and the seas and there is a beautiful resort with a lovely small beach in front of us. It is La Reserve Hotel. It is nestled between large granite rocks that line the shore. The view from our mooring is spectacular! I will post some pictures above this blog.
I am glad we stopped here because we needed a place where I could remove the calcium deposits that had built up in the sewer hose that runs from our toilet to the waste tank. About every two to three years I need to remove that hose, beat it with a hammer to break up the scale and then remove it. It had appeared to have plugged up this morning.
Thus, on Mary Margaret's second day of her birthday celebration, I got to spend the afternoon dealing with the fun a sewer hose presents to you. She was a great sport and actually rolled up her sleeves and helped me in removing and then reinstalling it. Now that is what I call a very special birthday present!!!
The trouble was, after we had reinstalled the hose, the line was still blocked as no water would pump through it. Ugh! I had misdiagnosed the problem. While the hose did need to be cleaned out, the blockage was not in the hose but in the thru-hull. By the time I discovered this it was 1800 and I was exhausted. Thus, we decided that I would dive on the thru-hull in the morning to pull the seaweed out or whatever was causing the blockage.
After a nice, long, hot shower I was human again and we had a simple but delicious hamburger dinner with salad, beets and string fries. Tomorrow, I will be taking Mary Margaret out to dinner at La Reserve as a belated birthday present.