We entered the northern demarkation line, which marks the outer islands and reefs of the Seychelles, at 10:15 yesterday morning. It was another 4 hours of various courses, using the recommended routes through the islands, (seen) and reefs, (unseen), before we made our final turn towards Victoria harbour and the (compulsory) pilot.
It was a dull day, however, as rain had been forecast, it was a pleasant surprise to find the sun peeking through occasionally.
Having boarded the pilot, had a chat and familiarisation with him as we progressed inwards, he was quite happy to let us keep the conn and so I left it to the 2nd officer to continue the passage between the last of the reefs. Finally entering the harbour, I took the controls to dock; this involved swinging and then slipping past a large tuna-boat and using the remaining wharf. In the middle of the turn, the engine control room called and said they needed to stop our steering motors on the starboard azipod, so was then left with 1. As I have had experience of going around on 1 azipod previously, (on the lovely Oosterdam), all that was needed was to take the manoeuvre slow and gentle, which was achieved, even though, with the amount of space left to us, our bow ended up 60 metres past the end of the wharf and our mooring lines were sent to a buoy.
A small band and dancers were there to greet us.
And soon our guests were streaming ashore for what was remaining of the afternoon.
Karen and I entertained the childhood friend, of a friend of ours, who initially hails from the Seychelles. She brought her 2 lovely children and we had a time showing them the Amsterdam and dining with them.
It was at their invitation that we toured the island on the following day. Starting in Victoria and the inevitable market, a blaze of colourful clothing, vegetables and fish. There were egrets and herons ‘stalking’ nearby, ready to grab any tasty morsel of fish that may be discarded by the fishmonger.
Through the town and then onto the coast, passing beautiful beaches which held stories of buried treasure. One particular family had been excavating this particular one for 20 years, hence the ‘holes’. 😎
We eventually reached Cap Lazare restaurant and if our friends had not known of it, we would certainly not have found it. Up and down narrow lanes, surrounded by thick shrubbery, we arrived on a beach-side area, coconut trees and tended grass, overlooking a small cove. It is normally closed on Thursday, however, the owners knew our friend and graciously opened just for us. I could have missed the market and the town and just stayed for the day, a hidden paradise.
Reluctantly, we had to head back to the ship, much to my disappointment. Back on board, we readied the Amsterdam for her voyage towards another island, soon we’ll be out of the HRA and no more of this.