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Mahe, Seychelles

12 Suggested Cruising Program

November to April

A Seychelles sailing itinerary takes you into a sailor's paradise. The marine preserves on islands populated with diverse and rare species of birds, lizards, and turtles in the Seychelles are exotic and intriguing. The plant life is varied too, from the coco-de-mer palms with huge double coconuts to the pitcher plants, gardenias, and orchids that grow on the mountain slopes. Passages combine a mix of open-water sailing in fair winds and short hops between adjacent islands for snorkeling and scuba diving on the coral reefs or simply relaxing on one of the many white-sand beaches. Although the Inner Islands of the Seychelles are mostly undeveloped, some are home to seaside resorts and small settlements, providing plenty to do ashore as well as aboard your luxury yacht.

Day 1: St. Anne Marie National Park

Day 1: Head for Vallée de Mai in Baie Ste Anne, a valley protected by UNESCO with an enchanting path that wanders through the enormous palm leaves of the famous coco de mer. Wherever you look, the foliage seems to go on and on. Spend the night anchorage in Baie Ste Anne.

Day 2: La Digue

Sail to La Digue, possibly the most beautiful island in the Seychelles. Anchor in Petite or Grande Anse, on La Digue's south-east coast. It's the third largest inhabited island, but isn't overrun with tourists. The island is car-free and locals use ox and cart. Get around by bike and explore winding trails under tall palm trees, houses with palm-thatched roofs, copra factories, fine white sand beaches and large polished rocks.

Day 3: Union Estate

Visit the Union Estate, where vanilla is grown, harvested and produced. Visit Veuve Special Reserve (open Monday to Friday), which protects the Seychelles Black Paradise Flycatcher on La Digue, as well as the Seychelles Sunbird, Bulbul and Terrapins.

Day 4: Marianne and Félicité Islets

Sail around the isles of Marianne and Félicité and anchor on the west coast of Grande Soeur for lunch. Experience the unforgettable snorkeling at Coco Island, just 7km north of La Digue, which is made of large rocks with strange regular stripes carved by the sea. The area has large arborescent corals where thousands of tropical fish swim in front of narrow breaks and dark caverns. Anchor north-west of Chauve Souris for the night or Anse Petite Cour on Praslin.

Day 5: St. Pierre islet

Sail to St. Pierre islet, a mass of rounded rocks crowned with a clump of tall palms swaying gently in the wind. This is typical and superb Seychelles scenery, photographed on countless occasions and printed a million times in tourism magazines. It's also an excellent spot for snorkeling with magnificent underwater scenery. Sail onto Curieuse and stop in Anse san José. Say hello to the Aldabra giant tortoises at Curieuse, a protected island and bio-reserve. Take a 45-minute walk into mangrove and "coco fesse" trees, which leads you to the other side of the island, where there is a nice beach and small but interesting museum.

Day 6: Aride Island

Make for Aride Island, which is under the supervision of the Royal Society for Nature Conservation and a conservation area. Follow narrow paths through the dense vegetation, which leads to the rocky barrier in the north where you get a great view of the whole island. It's a haven for a wide variety of seabirds, unique vegetation and rare land birds. The ten species of breeding seabird include the rare roseate tern and the red tailed tropicbird. It's home to the world's largest colony of lesser noddy, with more than 200,000 couples nesting there. More than 300 species of fish have been identified in Aride coral reef and you may see some hawksbill turtles come to the surface. Go back to Baie Ste Anne to fill up with water.

Day 7: Eden Island Marina

Anchor for the night in Eden Island Marina, off Mahé, near the capital of Victoria. Explore the capital and visit the intricately decorated Hindu temple.

Day 8: Beauvallon Bay

Visit the picturesque market place in the morning at Victoria as it's a great opportunity for fresh provisioning. Sail up to Beauvallon Bay, the most popular tourist spot of Mahé, fringed by a superb beach lined with tall trees overshadowing small restaurants. If you prefer a quieter area head up to Anse Major, in the heart of the natural park of Morne Seychellois. It's inaccessible by car and the coast, surrounded by steep hills, is particularly wild. Highly recommended for snorkeling.

Day 9: Thérèse island

Sail along the Mahé coast to Thérèse island and Port Launay marine park, limited to th

Day 10: Silhouette Island

Head north of Mahé to Silhouette Island, which is a protected area with healthy coral and a popular spot with divers. Anchor in the north at Anse Mondon. Go back for the night to Ste Anne Marine Park, Anse Cabot, on the north of the island.

Day 11: Anse Lazio

Anchorage for the night in Anse Lazio, the most comfortable mooring in Praslin. It might also be the most beautiful beach in the Seychelles.

Day 12: Cousin Island

Cousin Island is a nature reserve and bird sanctuary with rare species and some giant turtles. Less than 800 meters in diameter, the island can be visited on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. A small path leads to the turtle enclosure, then to the summit, through dense vegetation. The panoramic view is amazing, and is made even more awe-inspiring when tropical birds fly by. Go back to Baie Sainte Anne for checkout.

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