The yachting°com Sailing Guide to Seychelles
Why sail in the Seychelles?
Seychelles—home to beautiful bays and national parks, both on land and in the sea. The Republic of Seychelles lies east of Africa roughly 1 000 km north of Madagascar and is divided into two parts. The inner islands, which most visitors head for, and the outer islands, which are inhabited by about only 2% of the population. Mahé is the main island of the Republic of Seychelles. Its capital city, Victoria, is one of the smallest capital cities in the world.
What is special about Seychelles?
- Plenty of beautiful bays where you can swim, snorkel, and discover the beauty of the coral reefs.
- National parks where you can take day trips and see endangered species of giant tortoise.
- The Seychelles are an ideal region for sailing due to its predominantly medium winds and small waves.
- The constant warm climate makes Seychelles a perfect place to holiday all year round.
Yachting areas in the Seychelles
The most inhabited areas and also the most-frequented and ideal place for holidaying and sailing are around the islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. Most tourists plan to holiday in this exotic area for 14 days, making it possible to look at the most beautiful and interesting places and then to return to their starting point. But you can also take advantage of the option of one-way trips in the Seychelles.
Weather and climate
The Seychelles lie outside the area where tropical storms usually occur. The hurricanes that race through the Pacific and then on through the Indian Ocean pass by without disturbing the islands. So, when planning a holiday in the Seychelles, you don’t have to worry about being caught in the tropical storm season. The only things that change there are the monsoons and air currents.
From around the end of November to the end of April, a northwesterly monsoon prevails, while for the rest of the year, a southeasterly one blows. On the islands, it is possible to adapt due to the large number of leeward and windward bays. A disadvantage of the Seychelles is the small number of good berths during periods of stronger wind.
From May to September, stronger, southeasterly trade winds blow at speeds of 9–19 KN (knots) or 3–5 on the Beaufort scale (BFT), rain is minimal, air temperature is between 27–29°C, and water temperature is 26–27°C. April and October are calm periods, usually without any wind, and ideal for scuba-diving and motor yachting. Trade winds blow from November to March with a force of 2–4 BFT (7–12 KN), air temperature is between 28–30°C, and water temperature is between 27–28°C.
The main island of the Seychelles archipelago is home to the the newly built Eden Marina and international airport. You can easily reach the marina 5 km away, in a few minutes by taxi. Anse Royale, where you can moor from the eastern side of Mahé, is a cliff-lined lagoon with sandy beaches and coconut palms. On the southwestern side is a bay called Baie Lazare (Anse Lazare).
Also worth mentioning is a small national park on the northwest side of Mahé, Port Launay. If the southeast monsoon is blowing during summer, it is possible to anchor in some places on the northern side of Mahé. Unfortunately, during the northwest monsoon this is not possible.
20 NM to the northeast is one of two enchanting islands—Praslin. Dream Yacht Charters' main base is here in Baie Sainte Anne. So you can accept or handover your boat there or, at the Eden Marina on Mahé, as previously mentioned. You can have your bed linen exchanged, replenish your supplies, or fill up your water tank at the marina, or you might opt to take a trip around the island. You can comfortably make excursions all over the island using cheap local transport (you can take an unlimited journey by bus for just 5 rupees) and visit places such as the famous Vallée de Mai National Park. The entire southern shore is inhospitable to yachtsmen. There is no place for comfortable and safe anchoring, the exception perhaps being Grand Anse Bay, but this is not recommended in the local yachting guide.
One of the most beautiful beaches in the world is on the island of Praslin. This sandy beach with granite stones enchants everyone at first glance. In contrast to other beaches, Anse Lazio does not have protected coral reefs. Another attraction of Praslin Island is the Vallée de Mai, a UNESCO listed, mature protected forest with incredible palm trees.
Near Praslin Island is one of the most beautiful national parks in the Seychelles, Curieus. It is an island where there are Aldabra giant tortoises, beautiful primeval forests and sandy beaches—simply an ideal place for a nice walk. The Aldabra giant tortoises are one of the two most famous attractions for which the Seychelles are famous. This species of tortoise is found only on the Galapagos Islands, and here in the Seychelles, so there aren’t many opportunities to see these creatures in their natural habitat.
The second most famous attraction is the huge and ornate granite stones here, not found in such an abstract form anywhere else in the world. They will overwhelm you with their imposing beauty, and will leave you in a sense of awe at their grandeur. The Curieuse area is suitable for anchoring and is an excellent starting point for excursions to nearby islands such as Aride or Cousin. Curieuse Island is a quiet and enjoyable place that you will yearn to return to again and again. The anchor holds well here.
Aride, Cousin, and Sainte Anne
Another national park on Aride Island, lying slightly northwest about 6 NM from Praslin, is suitable for day trips or for visiting the Cousin National Park. Other famous parks include Sainte Anne, which is rather expensive. But on the bright side, you can stay anchored here on the first day when you leave the harbour. It is located in front of the Eden Marina, not far from the capital city of Victoria.
Perhaps the most beautiful island in the Seychelles is La Digue. The island is located just 2 NM east of Praslin. The anchorage at La Digue is truly breathtaking. On the eastern side of the island there are three beautiful bays that are romantic, uninhabited, and provide perfect anchorage. The most beautiful of these is Coco Bay, the northernmost of the three. It is 200–300 m long and only accessible from the sea, so you will not run into a single tourist here. This area has not been mapped, nor it is in map plotters or even navigation systems. You can only get here by pilot and when pulling into the bay, you will have to carefully watch the seafloor beneath you.
On the western side of La Digue lies the small La Passe harbour, which is used to transport people and cargo from Praslin. There is space here for around six catamarans and with an anchor tossed out you’ll be moored to the shore around a tree or boulder. The services of the local residents are excellent. They can top up your water tank using long hoses, arrange bikes for a ride around the island, all at reasonable prices. A bike tour is a pleasant diversion after days spent on the boat and the atmosphere at La Digue will literally draw you in. We recommend buying homemade coconut oil on the street (it is also sold in the souvenir shops everywhere). On the street it is cheaper and genuine. It is unlikely you will ever forget your visit to this island.
North of La Digue are several small islands, which are themselves national parks. The main one is Coco Island, where you will experience the most beautiful snorkelling in the Seychelles. It is a small island, relatively unyielding to anchors and therefore, unsuitable for staying overnight. The underwater fauna are magnificent here though, with large sharks gliding around the rocks and an abundance of colourful tropical fish.
North of Coco Island lies the private island of Grande Soeur, where you can lay anchor and enjoy swimming on beautiful beaches, but unfortunately without the possibility of a trip around the island.
We also recommend a trip to Silhouette Island. It is a large, mountainous and very distinctive island northwest of Mahé. The environment on the island is quite different from the other islands and definitely worth experiencing for yourself. However, getting there is complicated. It's the only place you must obtain a permit from the charter company you are travelling with, because they have to book your visit to the island with the island’s administration.
The entire Seychelles have perhaps just one drawback—they will absolutely amaze you, so much that you will struggle to find an equally beautiful place for sailing or an exotic holiday.
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