One of the major undertakings when crewing your own boat is figuring out what to cook, and doing a good job of it. Over the years, some of the best meals we have had have been on a bare boat. In the Seychelles we continue to eat well on the boat, but with a slight twist. We took our shopping list to the grocery store in Mahe before boarding the Bay Berry, only to find there wasn't much on the shelves. It's similar to Estes Park in the summer, when Safeway runs out of everything, but here, "everything" has to come 1000 miles in a container ship. When something is gone, it can be gone for weeks. After visiting 3 stores and purchasing all of seven items on our list (beer, water, cereal, eggs, yogurt, bread and butter), we went to...you guessed it...Plan B. Take Away. Yup, it's cheap and the locals can definitely cook better than we can, so we let them. In each "major" town (think about a quarter the size of Estes Park), we purchase a few meals and stick them in the refrigerator. By running the engine an hour or so a day, the fridge stays cold and we eat well. Octopus, pork stew, chicken curry, and rice and lentils have been some of our favorites. The fish is so fresh there are signs in stores on the islands that say "No Fish". We were a little confused at first, but after seeing all the locals carrying around their catch of the day in their hands, we got the big picture...they'll slap those puppies down anywhere, and some stores just don't appreciate it!
As mentioned in "Non Rev", packing light is the name of the game. Of course, with bareboating and diving, there are a few essentials that make "packing light" null and void. We did, however, save rom by taking the bare minimum in the clothing category: 2 swimsuits each, two shirts, two lightweight dresses (Michelle only), 2 pair of shorts. Underwear was at our own discretion... That's it, what more do you need when living in the tropics? Oh yeah, sunscreen, provided by Aloe Up! If it weren't for the dive gear and non rev clothes, we would be able to share one bag.
Adult Night Out:
We announced our plans to anchor in the secluded area between Round Island and Praslin to the entire marine community on Channel 16, but only 3 other boats showed up. One was the skipper who had given us our briefing and told us about the spot, another was a Catamaran that didn't have a clue and ended up on the reef, and the other boat was the Monkey Puzzle, our German/Australian friends from La Digue. They invited us aboard, and while Garrett slept, we took all our worldly possessions to the Monkey Puzzle...three bottles of Sey Brew, crackers and cheese. They had the same crackers and cheese because of the shopping situation. Before long we were (in Chris' words) nearly "pissing ourselves" sharing stories. A few sips into their prize possession, a bottle of white wine purchased in the grocery store, a bright green light in the water caught my eye. Chris thought I was sipping something better than the rest of them and tried to ignore me, but finally, everyone joined me at the rail to share in the phosphoresent show. The green lights turned circles, leaving more green lights in their wake, including circles and spirals.
With Garrett out of commission for diving due to a head cold, we went to Plan B once again, snorkeling. The Ile Aux Cocos was an underwater aquarium, but as popular as Sea World. The coral had been completely destroyed by careless snorkelers and boats, but the fish remained. It was the only school Garrett has been to, and I think he liked it better than Estes! The government is in the process of protecting the area, so hopefully someday the coral life will return.
Next stop was in honor of the Twin Sisters (you know who you are). The mission was to swim with the turtles who were reported to hang out in the area. Mission accomplished. Within minutes, I had one turtle hanging out with me, and George had another. Garrett jumped in later to have his own turtle adventure. We found them to be a lot like elk, you look at them, they look at you. But truly, the turtles were very friendly and hung out, just swimming with you.
As we returned to La Digue to pick up beer for Chris and Peggy (yes, we're now buying beer for our friends), a pod of dolphins escorted us in. Life is good!