There is really no better way to enjoy and fully experience the entrancing magic of the idyllic Seychelles islands than under sail, with the cool wind at your rear and the azure blue Indian Ocean before you, while you cruise the inner islands.
The Republic of Seychelles is an archipelagic country in the Indian Ocean comprising 115 islands full of natural beauty, lying 1,500 kilometres east of mainland East Africa.
There are 31 boat charter companies on the Seychelles islands of Mahe and Praislin. These offer bareboat, crewed boats and day charters. They also offer full gear and amenities on board for a safe and comfortable cruise.
Charter operators have both modern yachts and traditional sailing vessels. They take tourists to various islands in air-conditioned comfort and also offer diving and water sports equipment. Commonly visited are the marine parks, UNESCO world heritage sites, wildlife and beautiful greenery as well as the famous white sand beaches.
Self-skippered yachts are only allowed during the day and must be anchored at nightfall.
Seychelles Radio Coast Station on VHF channel 16, switching to channel 26, gives weather forecasts. Yachts may also radio link call through Seychelles Radio.
Inner islands in Seychelles
The Inner Islands offer safe and stress-free sailing with less than 32 miles between mooring grounds. Mooring buoys are available around northwest Mahe, northeast Praislin and some other surrounding islands. In the absence of a mooring place, anchorage is required. At depths of five to eight metres, there is good sand bottom in most of the popular overnight places. Seychelles does not allow anchoring on coral, in compliance with conservation efforts.
In navigating the Outer Islands, however, there are hazards due to low-lying coral reefs among other things. The Outer Islands are 130 and 630 miles away from Mahe, and their mooring grounds are less sheltered and not frequently sailed.
Mooring guides, published at 1/10,000 scale charts, are available in the tourist offices and on chartered yacht. The Outer Island waters are scarcely sailed and mapping surveys are irregular, therefore the depths may be erroneous.
If you must sail over the mooring zones around the remote islands, it must be done cautiously. The skipper shouldn’t simply trust the map, but should constantly check the sounder because coral bottoms vary frequently.
There are designated zones around areas of underwater pipeline, foul ground, and security areas, where special care is required for anchoring and beach access. In the Beau Vallon Bay on Mahe Island, there are zoned anchorages which have special access channels near selected swimming areas.
RESERVES AND MARINE PARKS
These are the national reserves and marine parks of Seychelles:
- Curieuse Marine National Park
- St. Anne Marine National Park
- Ile Coco Marine National Park
- St. Pierre
It is indeed a thrilling experience, one worth considering, to sail the beautiful Seychelles waters.