Tuesday, August 11, 2009

August 11, 2009 - Beau Vallon, Mahe, Seychelles

We've had a busy few days getting ourselves set up for a month in the Seychelles. Our second day in Victoria was spent running around town. First we had to locate an ATM machine that accepted Mastercard (most here are on the Visa system) so that we could pay our clearance fee and buy a SIM card for the phone. Then it was off to the Port Authority to get our cruising permit. Along the way we passed a pharmacy, where I was thrilled to replenish my dwindling supply of Stugeron for a song. We also had to stop in every grocery store we passed (Mata'irea - around the world, one supermarket at a time), to begin to get a sense of what was available for the restocking of our ships stores, which have been decimated by three months in Chagos.

Word from boats that have gone ahead to Madagascar is that the shopping there is sparse, so we are going to be doing a major restock in the Seychelles. We need to lay in three months of supplies to see us through to South Africa. As nearly everything (other than fresh fruit and veg) is imported here, things are expensive (especially compared to Malaysia and Thailand) and there is some scarcity of goods. One afternoon Sten spent an hour in line at a deli counter waiting to get a slice off of a block of cheese that had just come in on a ship.

After three months of not spending a cent, initially everything here seemed really reasonable. But then we discovered that the exchange rates we downloaded back in Thailand were woefully out of date. Now that we have learned that it is closer to 13 rupees per USD, rather than the 17 that we'd been operating on, and now that we know that each meal out is setting us back about $30, we've cut way back on eating out.

On Friday night we found ourselves in a the midst of a street fair in Victoria. Families set up tents selling grilled chicken, fish and pork, curries, burgers, palm wine, and passion fruit juice. We bought a few SeyBrew's and wandered around for a while, snacking our way through the crowd. While we were standing in line at one stall, I tucked my wallet into the bag over Sten's shoulder. The guy standing next to me in line whipped out his police ID and warned me to keep my wallet in my pocket. All the while, he kept reassuring me that the Seychelles is very safe. Well, actually, it isn't for yachties. Although the pirates have left the area until the southeast trades settle down (I wasn't just whinging about our passage here - it really is so rough out there that the pirates have given up trying to board ships until the monsoon switches), there has recently been a rash of crime in the main harbor here. Sten was so concerned that he slept in the cockpit the two nights that we anchored off of Victoria. So on Saturday, after a visit to the morning produce market, which smelled of cinnamon and fairly sang with the lilting tones of the local creole dialect, we moved around to the other side of the island.

We've spent the past few days anchored in Beau Vallon, a beautiful sweeping bay, sheltered from the southeast trades. Between meals at the local pizza joint, we've checked a number of items off the list of things we need to do before family arrives next weekend. The watermaker and shower pump are both working well again, the hull and decks are cleaned and the polishing is under way. Now that Mata'irea is presentable again, we just have to find a barber for Sten and a salon for me so that her crew can look as good as she does.

1 comment:

Marci and Joe said...

Hi Danika & Sten,
I have been unable to leave stop reading your blog and have finally caught up on your adventures over just about 3 years. Danika- you have a wonderful,honest, and humorous gift with words. I can so clearly picture the two of you throughout your magnificent journey. You are so fortunate to be doing this. Enjoy every moment of this and where it takes you next.

Wishing you continuous fair winds and following seas. Stay safe!

Cheers,
Marci

PS Guess you are hoping to keep your tropical paradise of Chagos hush-hush so are not going to post pictures? Oh, I get it, you don't want us to so envious, so you are doing it as a favor! :0)