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07/09/13 My first Glimpse of the Seychelles

By 5 years ago
Categories Mahe and Curieuse

The first steps I took onto the sandy beach at Beau Vallon, bordered by tall palm trees and leading on to a deep turquoise ocean, to me felt like stepping into the scene from a postcard. I was in awe of the beauty the Seychelles had to offer, and this was only the first day. Arriving at the GVI base, I was pleasantly surprised to find I would not be living in the rickety shack I had picture, the accommodation was basic but plenty comfortable and fulfilled all my needs. The quality of the food here also surpassed my expectations; I had prepared myself for a month of plain pasta, few vegetables, and simple porridge every morning. Instead, thanks to the culinary expertise and ingenuity of both the staff and volunteers living here, the food isn’t much different to the meals i’d choose to eat at home. If anything my diet has improved since coming here. The bread in particular deserves special mention; every day bread is made from scratch, being greeted at lunch or dinner by the smell and taste of freshly baked bread is nothing short of a delight.

Before embarking on this trip I had very little diving experience, the bare minimum to be precise having only completed the PADI Open Water course two weeks prior to my departure. As such I feared that I would be out of my depth, no pun intended, but although the learning curve is relatively steep within days I felt totally at ease below the surface. The underwater world here in the Seychelles was the second thing to leave me in awe, a feeling that has yet to recede. The reef is stunning, and its inhabitants are endlessly fascinating. On three occasions since arriving at the GVI base just over a week ago I have been lucky enough to have encountered turtles on dives, and these events are imprinted upon my memory. The graceful movement of turtles, and their placid and calm demeanour, is a wondrous thing to behold.

Today I participated in the weekly President’s Village, a local children’s home, snorkelling trip, splashing around in the water with the kids, although exhausting, was immensely satisfying. This satisfaction can certainly in part be attributed to my success in taking in a four person human tower, with three children precariously balanced on my shoulders.

The time goes quickly out here, I am already keenly aware that I have less than three weeks till I must leave this idyllic island and return to normal life. But I know that I will leave with an experience unlike any other, and I will leave with skills that I lacked before my arrival, both diving and non-diving related (primarily the ability to make delicious bread). If you are reading this and are yet to visit these islands, my only advice is this; what are you waiting for.