Monday, August 2, 2010

A visit to Praslin to do the best dive ever!

The alarm rang at 5.30 am and the base became busy. But that was not a normal day for us on Mahè. It was Saturday and a few of us planned a trip to Praslin, Mahè’s small neighbor island. The ferry trip took nearly one hour. We looked out of the windows, wondering what to expect at the new island. The port at Praslin was small and we made our way to the taxi, which took us to our accommodation. At Cote D´Or we spent the first minutes in our bungalow. The veranda and the view to the beach were gorgeous and we had hot water, finally after three weeks of cold showers! At the beach we sat down, happy that we made the trip, proud of ourselves that we had such a good idea.

Although the beach was a wonderful place to stay, we needed to find a restaurant! As we left Cap Ternay so early, we had not had breakfast. We were starving. Luckily we found a nice hotel, which offered us a big breakfast. We were sitting outside under palm trees very close to the beach. After several omelets, toasts, cheese and fruits and many cups of coffee or tea we left the hotel, totally looking forward to our dive.

At the other end of the bay there was the Octopus Dive Centre, where we booked a two tank dive. Everybody was so excited about the dives: no fish spots, no methodology practice and no SMB to carry around. These two dives were just fun! We carried our tanks to the small yellow boat and took seats on comfortable pillows. The skipper started the boat and we looked forward to the trip. On our way to Booby, the first dive spot, we passed Curieuse Island and had a quick look at the other GVI base from the boat. Then we reached the small island known as Booby. Not more than an enormous stone, home for nothing more than a few seabirds, but underwater a refuge for thousands of marine animals. Christ, our French divemaster, gave us a short brief, we kitted up and – without the “roll on roll” – we jumped into the water. A huge Bumphead parrotfish crossed our way. As some of us still took pictures of the giant fish, a white tip reef shark appeared. In the following 45 minutes we spotted three turtles, a stingray, an eagle ray, a huge potato grouper and another reef shark. It was amazing! One of the best dives ever.

The second dive at a coral reef next to Curieuse Island was more relaxing. We explored a nice reef, surrounded by big shoals of fish. Underneath a coral block Chris showed us small white tip reef sharks, no bigger than 50 cm. We had a close look and were able to take some good pictures.

Back at our bungalow we took a long hot shower and dressed up for the evening looking forward to a good meal and some dancing. We had dinner at a nice restaurant next to the dive centre and after that drove to the Oxygen nightclub hoping to shake a leg. Unfortunately/fortunately there were no other people there so there was no atmosphere in the club (we later heard that it kicks after midnight). We left the club at midnight, back to our hotel and reminisced about our exploits of the day.

The next day started with a good breakfast, after which we went to the national park which was in the centre of the island. The main feature about the park was the famed Coco de Mer palm, however we decided not to go in due to the 20 euro entrance fees. Instead of that we drove around the island. Renting a car was a quite good idea. We found a nice beach with absolute postcard character.

In the afternoon we went to the Anze Lazio which is reputed to be the best beach in Seychelles. We had lunch at this beach and the snorkeling was worth it. Again we saw a turtle (check the photo out). The beach was nice, although there were a lot of people.

On our way back to the bungalow, we stopped by the shops next to the dive centre. It was a delightful surprise to meet the other volunteers from the GVI base on Curieuse Island and we swopped stories of our experiences at GVI. Unfortunately, we had to hurry back to our bungalow, because we were running late. Our ferry was supposed to leave at 6 pm, which is the last for the day. We took a quick shower (hot water!), packed our stuff and drove to the port where we had arranged to leave the car. Back on the ferry, we fell asleep. It was a great weekend and we saw a lot. Back at the base, a feeling of coming home came up. Home sweet home in Cap Ternay!!!

Praslin-Team: Steph, Kamal, Rob, Andy and Katie