We arrived at Heathrow Terminal 2 quite a bit before our flight. We had a bit of trouble when we got on the plane and found that I was in seat 25A and Neil was in 24F. I asked a steward if Neil could exchange seats with the passenger in 25B. After some debate the steward said it wouldn't be a problem since that seat was unassigned. If I'd known that I'd have kept the two seats to myself, since I rarely get a peep out of Neil once he's esconced in his seat and immersed in his book. It was an 11-hour direct flight to Mahe on an Air Seychelles Boeing 767. Coming in to land at Victoria Airport was quite spectacular. The sea was a beautiful aquamarine colour with the mountains of the island as a backdrop. We got through immegration quickly and then visited the duty-free shop (gin at €11 a litre). As usual Neil's and my bags were almost the last to appear on the carousel, but once we put them on the trolley it was just a matter of minutes before we were outside and onto the waiting bus to the hotel.
The hotel was OK, but not brilliant. The bathroom left a bit to be desired and the staff were not particularly outgoing. Service at the pool bar was abysmal. Even with four people behind the bar it seemed that only one was serving (at a snail's pace). One of our party complained to the manager about the state of the pool and to give him credit it was sorted the next day, but it shouldn't have required a complaint in the first place. Most places accept Euros, or at a push US Dollars (or even Pounds Sterling), so it is best to take Euros with you. Even the small corner shops will accept them, but you are likely to get Sesel Rupees as change. You can convert Euros to Rupees, but the exchange rate varies widely. At the hotel it was 11 to the Euro, while the local supermarket had a much better rate of 19! The hotel was right next to the beach and was very convenient for the dive centre, which was also located on the beach about 10 minutes stroll to the west.
The dive centre Dive Seychelles is a PADI 5-star centre located at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Hotel. The staff were very accommodating and the atmosphere was quite relaxed. It didn't have the best facilities that I have come across (that honour goes to Kuredu) but they weren't the worst either and quite adequate for us. Storing your kit at the end of the dives and trying to find it the next day was an interesting exercise, but it always worked out. The people were friendly and of the dive masters Kirsten was particularly helpful and knowledgeable. Our group was split over two small boats and entry into the water was done via a backward flip. Coming back you had to remove your gear and pass it up onto the boat before getting out of the water yourself. The staff on board would swap tanks and set up your gear for the next dive. I felt that safety could be improved. Because kit was spread over the boat you were not always close to your buddy, so buddy-checks were difficult to do. I know that ultimately each of us is responsible for ensuring our own safety, but it would have been useful if the staff helping us into the water could have done the buddy checks against us. For example, the staff switched on your air, but Neil always asked me to ensure that my air was switched on, sometimes having to shout across the boat. It always was on, but on one occassion his wasn't! We dived once in quite a strong surface current and Neil failed to reach the anchor line. The current swept him past the back of our boat and luckily the skipper on another boat tossed him a safety line and hauled him onto that one. Our boat should really have had a safety line available considering the strength of the current.
We found a couple of supermarkets about 10 minutes walk from the hotel, which sold most things considerably cheaper than the hotel. One could be reached by turning right out of the hotel and then right again at the T-junction. The other was a short walk east along the beach. Within walking distance there are also some good restaurants like The Boat House, La Fontaine and Al Mar, as well as a good pizza place (opposite La Fontaine). If you go to the pizza joint make sure you get there early. They run out of stuff quickly, like wine, as well as even water! We ate further afeild a couple of times, but by far the best night out was on the last evening at La Scala. We arranged taxis to get there and the food and service were incredible and not too pricey. We invited Glynis Sanders, who has run the dive centre for 30 years and her husband to join us. It was a great way to finish the holiday.
This was yet another great holiday with the Divecrew. Yet again Collin picked a winning formula for the location and the diving. We had a great time, and although the weather was not brilliant all the time, the showers were a welcome break from the hot sunshine. I would definitely recommend this as a diving holiday destination.
|Date||Depth (m)||Time (min)||EANx||Seychelles Dive|
|11 Nov||17.1||33||-||Bay Ternay Marine Park - Lost my integrated weight pocket|
|11 Nov||15.5||53||-||"Joker" (Vacoa Reef) - Nudibranchs, sea snake, eels etc.|
|12 Nov||27.4||44||-||Grouper Point - Lovely dive with starfish, eels & barracudas|
|12 Nov||18.0||53||-||Conception Point - Excellent dive with great topography and sharks|
|14 Nov||25.0||30||-||Shark Bank - Poor viz, not too exciting, but lots of current & hard work|
|14 Nov||21.0||49||-||Twin Barges Wreck - Very poor viz, but lots to see - lionfish expecially|
|14 Nov||17.7||52||-||Conception Point - Again a fabulous dive|
|15 Nov||22.6||30||-||Dragon's Teeth - Good dive against strong current, missed the dolphins the others saw|
|15 Nov||16.5||51||-||Brissare - Beautiful drift dive, lots of coral & fish, plus 3 large octopuses|
|15 Nov||16.2||46||-||"Joker" (Vacoa Reef) - Night dive, great for photography|
|16 Nov||19.8||47||-||Conception Point - Great dive, with stonefish, several of them in pairs|
|16 Nov||21.0||54||-||Grouper Point - Lovely dive, morays, lionfish, cleaner shrimp etc.|
|17 Nov||25.0||40||-||Dredger - Rainy day but brilliant dive onto the wreck, ginormous friendly batfish|
|17 Nov||11.6||51||-||"Joker" (Vacoa Reef) - Lovely last dive, large octopus and nudibranch|