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Our expectations for the Seychelles were only partly met.

The Seychelles are a large chain of granite islands over 100s of square miles of the Indian Ocean. They have beautiful sandy beaches, mountainous areas, clear waters and coral reefs.

They have a high per capita income, their biggest industry is tourism, their second biggest is fishing with a Tuna specialty. Much of the infrastructure seems of relatively recent construction, though affected by their hot and humid equatorial weather.

Our ship docked in Victoria, their capital city on the largest island.

If you like tropical, the Seychelles are tropical, covered by thick vegetation on rich soil. We visited “Les Jardins du Roi”, where they grow a wide variety of trees and vegetation. Pepper trees,  All Spice trees, the biggest nut in the world (which is being held in the photo above) are just 3 of the dozens of tree types in this particular garden. You get the feeling that they can grow just about anything in the Seychelles, and they probably can.
We had assumed the country was a current day “Département de la France”. Wrong! The Seychelles became an independent republic within the British commonwealth in 1976. However, the Seychelles were indeed colonized by the French centuries ago, capitulated to the British Navy during the Napoleonic era, subsequent to which the British administered the islands. French continued to be spoken by the population, but was administered in English.

Interestingly, the locals speak a Creole french, which we could not understand. However, when we spoke our Canadian french with them, they understood, changed their dialect, and we could converse with them.

We were also informed that the Seychelles and India have built an important Naval base on one of Seychelles many outer islands. As explained to us, the base was built to counter Chinese modern day colonist activities in and around the Indian Ocean.  It seems that India, for one, is very concerned about Chinese colonialists and are counter-balancing.

Because our cruise ship arrived at 8 am with a departure of 11pm, we were looking forward to a full day off the ship, romanticizing finding a quaint seaside restaurant where we could watch the sunset over our freshly caught seafood dinner. Sadly, our expectations were dashed for two reasons. First, we arrived on a Sunday, and be warned, everything is closed here on Sundays. Second, the weather was uncooperative. We arrived in rain, though it cleared up quickly enough, the clouds broke to the sun at times throughout the day, but it started to rain again in late afternoon, at times very heavily, right through our departure at 11pm. Expectations unmet!

The county is highly observant of religious services. As we toured the island on that Sunday morning, we observed many churches, each one was full, appeared to be standing room only, even with people outside looking in.

 

We booked a snorkelling excursion and the staff on the boat were the most morose, unhelpful, perfunctory, unsmiling that we have meet in a long time. If I had to guess, it was Sunday and they were working when their friends and family weren’t and they were not happy about it. Their attitude set an unwelcome tone to our excursion and our visit. Strange, given most of the Island’s revenue comes from tourism.

At the end of the accompanying video, I appended a segment from a snorkelling excursion we took in Saint Lucia last year, to show the difference.

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