Day 77

We gathered at 7:30 for an early start to today’s excursions: “Botanical Gardens and Mission Lodge.” The Tour began with a return to the lovely gardens we had seen yesterday, including the coco de mer giant seed pods, elephant fruit, and our favorite, the tortoises. Today they weren’t as active; maybe it was too early in the day. We did see a few, however, moving into mating position and making strange grunting noises.

From here, we headed up the mountains for some breathtaking photo stops looking down to the ocean, eventually stopping at the ruins of the old Mission Lodge. This was formerly a school for slave children, rescued by the British from Arab trading ships in the 1800’s. Some missionaries agreed to educate these orphaned children and set up this school and housing area. Little remains of the old stone buildings and the wooden structured have long since vanished. The Seychelles are trying to get this area recognized as a Unesco Heritage Site, but they need to provide much more information, documentation, and old photos for this to happen. The school was used for about 20 years, until all the children brought here were educated.

We returned to the ship about 11:30, in time to grab a quick bite and get on our bathing suits for snorkeling this afternoon. A catamaran took us out to a coral reef in the Seychelles Marine Park. Before we got in the water, we went in 2 shifts onto a semi-submersible boat with individual viewing windows. This was similar to the submarine we took in Hawaii, except that this boat did not dive and just remained 6 feet under water. The reefs here are very close to the surface, so we got to see a sufficient number and variety of colorful fish on this 20 minute ride around the reef, although I wish we were supplied with a fish identification sheet. The group that was not on the semi-submersible got to feed fish from the catamaran. This provided some good photos as well because the fish were now at the surface. Then the groups switched off. After this, we were issued snorkeling equipment and either jumped or walked down the back steps into the water. We had a little over an hour to explore the reefs. Some in our group decided to take a zodiac raft to shore to enjoy the beach and shallower waters. It was nice that they were given the choice. We did see some wonderful, colorful fish just by putting our faces in the water. The reefs were only a few feet under us, so we had to take care not to brush them with our flippers or to stand on them. It was lots of fun.

We returned after 4:30 and missed trivia- oh well. We weren’t very hungry tonight, so we got a table for 2 and just had some appetizers and salad for dinner. We actually walked out without dessert as well. We don’t do this often, but we are trying to regulate our eating patterns a bit.

The Headliner tonight was Monique Lualhati, a singer from the Philippines, who performed a few days ago. Tonight she sang more traditional, slower numbers, but her voice was just as powerful.

We have 2 sea days now before we arrive at the island of Mauritius.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac