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Mahe, Seychelles

7 Suggested Cruising Program

From May to October

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

Head for Vallée de Mai in Baie Ste Anne, a valley protected by UNESCO with an enchanting path that winds 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 anchoring in Baie Ste Anne.

Day 2: Pierre Islet and Curieuse Island

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 3: Cousin Island

Sail to Cousin Island, which is a nature reserve and bird sanctuary with rare species and an important breeding site for Hawksbill turtles. This small island, just 800 meters in diameter, can be visited from Monday to Friday in the mornings. During the season of south-easterly winds, the island is a nesting site for 80,000 breeding pairs of lesser noddies. Go back to Baie Ste Anne for the night.

Day 4: La Digue Island

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 5: Marianne and Félicité Isles

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. Make for Curieuse and anchor for the night in Laraie Bay, on the east coast, or head back to Baie Ste Anne if you need supplies.

Day 6: Grande Soeur

Anchor west of Grande Soeur, a gorgeous island with two steep and rocky hillocks, linked together by low lying land and a beautiful beach. This is a resort island and the beach is closed to non-resort guests at the weekend. You'll find fantastic snorkeling on the west coast where you can see marine turtles. Head back to Baie Ste Anne for the night.

Day 7: Check out

Check out at the base.

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