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We're home! *with photos!*

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Oh it's lovely to be home! We got home late Friday night from our 2 week holiday - 10 days in the Seychelles and 3 nights in Dubai (2 full days).

Both countries were so fascinating and so different from each other. My aunt, her husband and their 2 kids are living there so we stayed with them, which is the main reason we went. It was so good to see them, my cousins are 10 and 12 and such nice kids. They're both boys and play well together, are polite, intelligent, and just enough rascal in them to make them fun.


***** This next few paragraphs is about the history, and about the country itself, so if you don't care, skip to the next lot of asterisks!

The Seychelles was interesting. The government is incredibly corrupt, and their economy makes the US economy look awesome. There's only 85,000 or so people there, and natives don't leave the country, so everyone knows everyone, and the Police don't like to arrest anyone because they're probably related to them. The Seychellois are black, and there's a lot of white Australian, New Zealand, British and South African ex-pats there. It's the sort of place where the black work for the white, but they are treated well, and the private maids/gardeners etc get paid better than most other jobs on the island. Generally the women work, and the men sit around all day drinking and playing dominoes.

It all stems from a badly run government, who give pensions to pretty much anyone who wants one, and never bothers putting money into industry, or other important facilities, although they are finally getting better schools, and most Seychellois under 25 have a reasonable education, but I think it will take a couple more generations before they start questioning how things are being run, wanting better jobs and more opportunities.

As well as that, there have been a few attempted coups in the 70s and 80s - one of which overthrew the government, so I get the impression the government is trying to make sure it doesn't happen to them by suppressing the people. Apparently people are not allowed to wear camoflauge gear (army type shirts, shorts etc) as fashion because they see that as a threat. Seychelles has a high GDP but also is the worlds most indebted nation. The government can't mange their finances, so they borrow from all over the world and can't pay it back. When they get short of money, they just print more (but they can only use that within the country since it's not listed on the world exchange, so it just devalues the currency even more).

So it was very interesting being in a country that is considered an island paradise, but so badly run. They don't really care about tourists, and don't seem to realise how much money tourism brings in - people steal from the tourists at every opportunity, and we couldn't get cash out from any of the banks, so it was lucky that we had relatives who could change USD for us.

*****

Apart from that though, the beaches were gorgeous, the water the most amazing blue, very clear, so great snorkelling, and a perfect temperature. We had a fabulous time, and went out one day swimming with the whale sharks. We did it with the Marine Conservation Society of Seychelles who are researching primarily whale sharks. Whale sharks are a shark, but they are filter feeders like whales, and the largest of the fish species. Nobody knows a lot about them, so it was fascinating being part of a research group - they were telling us what they're doing and what they know, and the guy running it has done National Geographic shows on whale sharks, so he was pretty knowledgeable. Apparently they only really get juvenile males at the Seychelles, and most other countries that get whale sharks are the same, so they have no idea where the females hang out, and what the older males do. They've fitted tracking devices to 4 sharks in the area, including 2 sharks that were feeding in the same area at the same time - one device fell off almost immediately, one shark went north, one went east and one went south, so they seem to have no pattern.

So with the whale sharks, with the research group, they have 2 guys go up in an ultralight spotting the whale sharks from the sky, so we hang out in the boat until they find one - they called down saying they couldn't see any, and we got quite disappointed, so they started doing their other research stuff (testing the water temperature and krill levels at difference depths), then the ultralight radioed down saying they spotted one, so they guided us to the area, and we were all searching the water looking for it, and finally found it, so jumped in with our snorkelling gear and followed it. It was amazing. It was about 6m (20ft) long, and just moving slowly and gracefully. DH and I were the first to it, and they'd told us to stay behind it's dorsal fin so as not to scare it, so we moved back a bit, and it started turning and following us! They like swimming in the bubbles of fins apparently, so it turned about 90 degrees while it followed us. It was absolutely wild. He dove down again for a bit, and we lost him, but he came back up a bit later, and we swam with him again - this time he stayed up for longer, and we got to follow him for a while.

Anyway, enough blabbing Here's the whale shark we swam with:





And some fish from our favourite snorkelling spot

A batfish - this guy was about 20cm (8 inches) from top to bottom



If you look closely you can see what I think is a pufferfish



The fish really weren't bothered by us!



And above water:

This is one of my favourite photos, shows the beauty of the place. This is on a hike we did to a beach called Anse Major.







Anse Major beach



View form the deck at my aunts friends place



This is their private swimming area - we could see fish swimming from the deck!



Random beaches





A random person at a roadside stall



The moon coming up over the tuna boats that had come to port in protest over all the pirate attacks off Somalia



An oil rig turned up as well!



More to come...
post #2 of 27
WOW a tropical paradise , my mum LOVES tropical/marine fish and is soon to get a nice indoor set up for them!( we had them before but nature took its toll )

Thanks for sharing! those beaches look great!
Jess x
post #3 of 27
I love the pics ad am glad you had a good time.
post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 
Typical driving - cars stop randomly to talk to each other, usually on blind corners, and there is often also people walking along the roads because there is no footpaths, so you need to dodge them as well.



The markets



Fresh fish



And spices



Sunrise





The local beer - SeyBrew - quite tasty!



The view from my aunts balcony



Granite cliff faces



Conclusion: Would I recommend going? No - but just because of the time taken to get there, the cost, and the fact that it's hard to get around - the roads are bad, and we saw numerous tourists in hire cars in accidents. If we didn't have free accommodation, the cost would have been exorbitant, and if we didn't have someone to drive us around, we probably wouldn't have gone anywhere. The snorkelling was awesome, and swimming with the whale sharks was very cool, but I'd recommend somewhere closer with a more stable economy and currency!


Dubai photos and update to come tomorrow!
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
Oh oh oh! I almost forgot - sitting out on my aunts deck watching the stars at night was AMAZING. I forgot how beautiful the night sky was, we barely even see stars where we are, and we saw a heap of satellites, shooting stars, and cool constellations. I miss the night sky
post #6 of 27
Wow!!! I can't wait to see the rest of the pictures! It looks just amazing and wonderfully beautiful!
post #7 of 27
Wow! How beautiful!!! Looks like a wonderful time!! You took some amazing photos!!
post #8 of 27
Oh Sarah! Those pictures are AMAZING!! Thank you for sharing
post #9 of 27
Oh, man, beautiful. I would love to see a whale shark like that!

I'm working on booking a cruise in January. I have a choice of two itineraries. One goes to Roatan, which makes the Seychelles look like a modern city. The other goes to Jamaica, whose government largely stays in power by telling its citizens they are poor because the whites are rich. Sound familiar?
post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
Go to the Great Barrier Reef - absolutely gorgeous, and no dodgy governments to deal with!
post #11 of 27
OMG!!!! I can't believe you actually got to swim with whale sharks!! That is too cool! I lived in Guam and dove almost every weekend for 4 years and never saw one. I know they were around there because people did get pics but they apparently didn't like me. Whale sharks and hammerheads are about the only things I wanted to see but didn't get to.

The island is beautiful! I love little markets like that and getting to know people from other cultures. I hate to sound completely stupid, but where is the island located? (Yeah, I know I can google it but that takes too much effort! )
post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
It was very cool indeed

I had never heard of the Seychelles until my aunt and uncle moved there, and most people we speak to have never heard of it either - it's a very small island!

It's off the east coast of Africa, above Madagascar. Here's a Google maps link - http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...,46.538086&z=5
post #13 of 27
I dont know where Seychilles (?) is but OMG its amazing!

you take such great pics too

Those beaches are amazing. Since you dont really recommend going there, may I recommend Kauai, Hawaii. it is very stable (duh) and the beaches are kinda like those. Not quite that impressive, but kinda close

Cant wait for more pics!!!!
post #14 of 27
Oh my goodness! What a beautiful place! It looks amazing
post #15 of 27
Love the water pics, Sarah. I so miss those colours!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahp View Post
Oh oh oh! I almost forgot - sitting out on my aunts deck watching the stars at night was AMAZING. I forgot how beautiful the night sky was, we barely even see stars where we are, and we saw a heap of satellites, shooting stars, and cool constellations. I miss the night sky
Isn't it amazing? You get so used to the view when you're home. Then, you go travelling and realize a totally different sky (usually without all the light pollution from home).
post #16 of 27
Beautiful pictures! It's interesting to learn about different places like that.
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahp View Post
It was very cool indeed

I had never heard of the Seychelles until my aunt and uncle moved there, and most people we speak to have never heard of it either - it's a very small island!

It's off the east coast of Africa, above Madagascar. Here's a Google maps link - http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...,46.538086&z=5
I never would have guessed it was there! And I did google it , and it sounds like a fascinating place. How did your Aunt and Uncle end up there, if I'm not being to nosy?
post #18 of 27
Awesome pictures Sarah!!
post #19 of 27
Wonderful pictures and descriptions Sarah I hope you had a good time on your holiday!
post #20 of 27
Oh my goodness, Sarah! These are soooo gorgeous! OH, what I would give to lounge on those beaches! Next year, I'm coming with you!!!
post #21 of 27
OMG those pictures are amazing!! I've never seen water so clear.....and I think I see Dory!
post #22 of 27
Wow! That place is truly out in the middle of no where, but it's gorgeous! I'm not much of a beach person, but I could get used to those views, very quickly!
post #23 of 27
great pics
all that fish made me hungery hehe
post #24 of 27
Oh WOW!

Those pictures are awesome! And the scenery is just too beautiful to describe in words....I 'em!
post #25 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by calico2222 View Post
I never would have guessed it was there! And I did google it , and it sounds like a fascinating place. How did your Aunt and Uncle end up there, if I'm not being to nosy?
My uncle works for the United Nations in the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission. They are "an intergovernmental organization mandated to manage tuna and tuna-like species in the Indian Ocean and adjacent seas. Its objective is to promote cooperation among its Members with a view to ensuring, through appropriate management, the conservation and optimum utilisation of stocks and encouraging sustainable development of fisheries based on such stocks."

The IOTC is based in the Seychelles, so they got relocated there. I should also add that their rent for their big house with 2 "guest houses", and that amazing view, is only a little more than what we pay in our 2 bedroom townhouse.
post #26 of 27
Totally amazing pics, Sarah! Thanks for sharing,
post #27 of 27
Wow those pictures are amazing!! I can't imagine having that kind of view.
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