Magellan Strait 

Sailing across the straits

I was super excited to cross the Straits of Magellan . Have been hearing  and reading so much about it. I finally got to sail through the strait. It was 7miles to the Punta Dungeness light, the eastern entrance of Magellan strait. Pre arrival checks and pilot boarding arrangement were prepared and vessel was proceeding to the pilot station as the sun passed over the meridian. I never imagined seeing something so pristine and surreal, a vision that hardly anyone can imagine.

Location of the strait of Magellan

(Spanish: Estrecho de Magallanes), also called the Straits of Magellan, is a navigable sea route separating mainland South America to the north and Tierra del Fuego to the south. The strait is the most important natural passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It is considered a difficult route to navigate because of the unpredictable winds and currents and the narrowness of the passage, but it is shorter and more sheltered than the Drake’s Passage off Cape Horn , which was the only other sea route between the oceans until the construction of the Panama Canal.

Eastern entrance

 It is indispensable to place the strait of Magellan by its coordinates on a map to understand the geographical, historical and strategic importance of those waters, the very waters that we were now navigating on our way to Talcahuano, Chile 

Route

Since Columbus’ ships saw “Land!” for the first time in the Caribbean, it became an obsession of the Portuguese and Spaniard kings and their admirals to continue sailing westward for pure commercial reasons in search of spices or what was also called as spice trade. History has bestowed the honour of the discovery of the Southern passage to Hernando de Magallanes’ expedition. 

An anonymous portrait of Ferdinand Magellan, 16th or 17th century.

Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer who organised the Spanish expedition to the East Indies from 1519 to 1522, resulting in the first circumnavigation of the Earth, completed by Juan Sebastián Elcano. 
Commanding a fleet of five vessels, he headed south through the Atlantic Ocean to Patagonia, passing through the Strait of Magellan into a body of water he named the “peaceful sea” (the modern Pacific Ocean). 
Magellan called the Estrecho (Canal) de Todos los Santos, (“All Saints’ Channel”), because the fleet travelled through it on  November 1st or All Saints’ Day. The strait is now named the Strait of Magellan. Despite a series of storms and mutinies, the expedition reached the Spice Islands in 1521 and returned home via the Indian Ocean to complete the first circuit of the globe. 

Portrait of Magellan’s fleet

Magellan did not complete the entire voyage, as he was killed in the Philippines in 1521. Magellan’s expedition was the first to circumnavigate the globe and the first to navigate the strait in South America connecting the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. Magellan’s name for the Pacific was adopted by other Europeans. 
This  global expedition showed the need for an International Date Line to be established. Upon returning, the expedition found its date was a day behind, although they had faithfully maintained the ship’s log. They lost one day because they traveled west during their circumnavigation of the globe, opposite to Earth’s daily rotation. This caused great excitement at the time, and a special delegation was sent to the Pope to explain the oddity to him.
We now know, map in hand, that this discovery changed the history of navigation and the world as it was known then. Over time we learned the advantages of sailing safely the 400 miles across the Strait compared  to sailing the 550 treacherous miles via Cape Horn. 

Katabatic winds prevail the straits also known, as williwaw: a sudden blast of wind descending from a mountainous coast to the sea. The word is of unknown origin, but was earliest used by British seamen in the 19th century. The usage appears for winds found in the Strait of Magellan. As the strait provides a well protected inland water way for safe navigation, sheltered from rough weather and high seas, ships sail through the strait with a compulsory pilotage.

The route discovered by Magellan became the default route for ships to take, from a geographical and strategic point of view. Now, I find myself aboard the Front Njord crossing its from eastern end.

According to our pilot This land is untouched since the last ice age. There is no habitation in most of the area. The land that I can see from the ship while crossing the channel is like a series of hills and glaciers. We passed Cabo Froward, which is the southernmost point of the South American continent mainland. There were a few narrow bends and it was quite a learning experience to navigate through the channel. Especially the turns near Bajo Satellite buoy and at Paso Tortuoso. (Tortuoso means crooked in latin)

Cape Froward: Southernmost point of continental America

On passing Bajo Satellite buoy the pilot told me a story. The currents in the channel vary a lot and are criss-cross. In 1970 a ship while turning was pushed towards the shallows and grounded in that area. The oil spill was much larger than Exxon Valdez oil spill. However, communications were not as frequent in those days, nobody knew about this spill. Since then there was a buoy established to mark a boundary. 

In old days, a sailor traversing around the Cape Horn / South America usually got himself inked a fully rigged ship. The purpose of sailor tattoos was to record important events or experiences such travels, achievements, naval hierarchy, rank, status, membership or any other significant event in life.

Tattoo of a rigged ship

Thus we sailed across the Strait, which I had the privilege of enjoying from the bridge, as 2nd mate, soaking the views while navigating safely. We also got a certificate for crossing the Magellan strait and life long memories.

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Photographs courtesy :

Mr. Niranjan TG, 

Ch Eng, M. T. Front Njord.

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Porto

​Porto!!! This is the city which introduced the world to port wine and I was lucky enough to visit this place. It is Portugal’s second largest city after Lisbon. The city is set on the northern bank of the Douro River, which gives rise to the dramatically undulated landscape and makes for spectacular vistas. Whilst the city itself is located inland from the Atlantic, there are also glorious beaches just a short train ride away. You can hear the river streams and feel the sea breeze, both at the same time. Porto is a varied city, it has a historic touch in the mini bye-lanes of Riberia as well as grand plazas and high end shopping streets . 

Porto (Oporto in English): the historical core is a UNSECO World heritage site

One of the oldest European towns, it’s settlement dates back many centuries. It was an outpost of the Roman empire. The Romans took over the Iberian peninsula  and named the town’Portus Cale’ (it’s combined celtic-latin name), which  means port of Cale, Cale was a Celtic deity. Portus Cale evolved further to what we know as Portugal.
Ferdinand Magellan, the first person to circumnavigate the earth was born in/near Porto!

How to get there? 

Porto is a well connected city. It has an international airport as well as railway station. Within the city, there are three metro lines which connect all corners of the city. You can buy a day ticket and hop on hop off various locations for the entire day. There is taxi service too. 
Places to visit 
There are many places to see but I’ll keep this list short which will cover the best places to get the essence of the city. 
Cais da Rebeira 

This is a promenade which runs a long the Porto side of the Duoro river under the magnificent Dom Luis I bridge. You can see the wineries along the hills surrounding this area.The area has a myriad of medieval narrow streets and narrower alleyways, with ancient buildings in some stage of decay. Old homes of multiple hues stand guard over the waterfront and the harbor is filled with typical boats, from small to large. 

Porto is often referred to as the city of bridges !

In 1996 the Cais de Ribeira area was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is a romantic site which comes alive at sunset.There are many restaurants and cafes serving traditional Portuguese food, Port wine and playing live music around. Couples can be seen walking arm in arm along the water, enjoying the rhythm of the music coming from the bars and cafes and taking in the breeze coming off the waters. 
Wine tasting tours 

I recommend everyone who loves wine to take a tour along the Duoro valley to taste the best Portuguese wines. There are so many wineries in the region, Ferreira, Croft, Offley, Sandeman, Taylor  just to name a few and the list goes on.

Normally there are guided tours. They show wine making process, guide to cellar where you can learn about wines followed by wine tasting and concluded with a meal.Among all the wines that I tasted I think I should mention this one, there’s a local wine called Vinho Verde. The name literally means “green wine,” but translates as “young wine”. It may be red, white, rosé and are usually consumed soon after bottling. Although this place is known for port wine I was very impressed by Vinho Verde and Mateus Rosé. 
Sao Fransisco Church 

Another Unesco world heritage site in Porto, it is a Gothic style church located in the historic centre of Porto. The church was established in the year 1400. The interiors are stunning with the intricate wooden carvings and you’ll be mesmerised by all the gold surrounding you.Baroque decoration is a profusion of gilt wood carvings in the vault pillars and columns: cherubs, plants, and animals dripping with gold.The little that is not covered in pure gold (it is said that there is 400kg of it here) such as the wide-ribbed Gothic arches, is made of marble.

There is a museum housed in the catacombs below consisting of artifacts from the former monastery. If you intend to go to only one Church in Porto, make sure it’s this one. 
Clerigos tower 

The Clerigos tower was built in the 17th century by an Italian architect named Nicolau Nasoni who as also contributed to other landmarks in the city. At that time, it was the tallest building in Portugal. It’s about 76 metres in height, roughly around 230 steps to climb. And I will say, that’s it’s definitely worth the climb. It gives a beautiful panoramic view of the city and the mouth of river Douro where it meets the Atlantic ocean.The view is lovely especially around sunset. 

Liberdade square 

If you ask anyone, where is the heart of the city, they will answer Liberdade Square. All events, celebrations happen here. It has the monument of King Peter IV who was a monarch closely linked to Porto. The statue attracts all photographers. 

Statue of king Peter

Centrally located, has a lot of eateries and shopping streets around. There are small shops selling momento’s as well as brands like Zara, HnM etc.

After a walk around here I went to the Harley Davidson bar, a very lively place. The interiors is full of Harley items and they serve good food and cocktails. 

At Harley Davidson bar


Beaches

 Last but not the least, Porto is surrounded by beautiful beaches. I happened to visit only one. Matosinhos is the main beach in Porto. If you are there during summers it’s an awesome place to relax, swim and surf.

Matosinhos beach

 There are various restaurants in the vicinity specialising in fish and shellfish dishes. Don’t miss having Portuguese style Cod fish here. 

This pretty much covers Porto if you have a day or two to visit. You’ll surely have memories worth cherishing in this European city.
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Athens 

​Greece: My favourite destination! Was lucky that my ship sailed in to the port of Aspropyrgos (near Piraeus) and was happy to visit Athens.

Capital of Greece and one of the world’s oldest cities,  having a written record of thousands of years! Cradle of western civilisation and birthplace of democracy.
The official name of Greece is Hellenic Republic which is from the old names of Hellas and Elladas. 

A visit to Greece is not complete without a visit to Acropolis of Athens. A UNESCO world heritage site.  Acropolis means a high city. As it means,  it is situated on the highest hill in the city. 
Athens today has her modern city built around and over her ancient ruins, is a buzzing global city with modern infrastructure.

Hellenic parliament

A cosmopolitial city with good budget hotels to fancy star hotels.with taxis, trams and metro keeps the city well connected. Taxis cost around 12 to 15 euros which is pretty good compared to other European towns.
My first stop was the Acropolis of Athens. It was a sunny  and very pleasant day. 

Way to the parthenon

On the way up you will see a theatre. This theatre is still used for various performances

The theatre

The parthenon made entirely of marble, this is now battered with time and history.

Entrance

The parthenon is a temple dedicated to Athena. The patron deity of Athens.  After whom the city is named. 

The acropolis was originally seen to be a fortress.

The porch of Caryatids

The acropolis is also known as cecropia, because of a myth that the first king of athens was a serpent by the name of cecrops.

This place also gives a great panoramic view of the city.
On my way down bought a lot of souvenirs, from small statues of greek gods to the pythagoras cup. 

The pythagorean cup also known as the greedy cup. This cup facinated me. It was designed by pythagoras of samos. It’s a practical joke cup.

 When filed over a particular limit, a siphoning effect causes it to drain its entire content on the drinker’s lap. This was used in the armed forces so that everyone drinks moderately😀

Source – wiki

With all the excursion and a light breakfast in morning.started looking for restaurants around. After asking  around and a little help from google 😉  found a small little place which was crowded. But managed to get a table. 
Hellenic cuisine is Mediterranean. With a wide variety of vegetables,  blended with olive oil, fish, meat and breads. Greek food is delicious.

Greek salad

I ordered for a greek salad (was confused while ordering as I assumed they will call it just a salad in Greece😁, but the waitress was helpful and understood what I was trying for). Well, It is called *Horiatiki* which roughly means country salad or village salad. 

Moussaka

After the salad i went in for Moussaka. It was delicious goes great with a glass of red wine !! Moussaka is a greek legend! Imagine luscious layers of juicy and creamy meat and eggplant cooked in a tomato based dish with potato base. It was simply the best !
After this delicious meal I went over to the counter to pay my bill. The owner was a friendly chap. Spoke with him about Greece and he was surprised that I knew so much about Greek culture,  history, etc. While we exchanged good byes he quoted a greek proverb which meant “experience, travel – these are as good as education themselves”

The national archeological museum, is a good two hour trip. With a lot of things to see, it is definately worth a visit. 

On my way back to the ship, went strolling along the street where all the shops are around. Ermou street is a place for those who live to shop 😀. From international brands to local stuff name it and you will get it here. 

On your way down Ermou street midway,  you will come across a small church. Here people are seen taking a break from there shopping. Small coffee shops and bars around here. Some folks playing music on the street. Keeps the place lively. 

Athens is a pretty awesome city to party in. Its all about the clubs. You can find outdoor clubs with music on. These places start getting people around midnight and goes on till 4  to 5 am. With tons of clubs and bars it is difficult to choose one.😀

Athens seems to be a nice place. With so much to see/do. I am comming back again soon to see the rest of Greece. 😊

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Efharisto !

(Thank you in Greek😊)

The beautiful Seychelles 

at mayonne island

Upon thinking of what heaven would look like, I think of the Seychelles archipelago. Just have a look at the pictures! It just doesn’t look real. But it is what it is, and that’s what leaves a smile on my face about every time I think of these beautiful islands located in the magnificent Indian Ocean.

Unfortunately, isolation and a pristine environment comes with a price, and a trip to the Seychelles will cost you money. This is not a budget destination. This country caters to honeymooners, celebrities and high-end tourists. But if you have the money, then this place should be on the top of your list of places to visit. Prince William and Kate Middleton had picked up Seychelles as their honeymoon destination. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had flown to a secret hideaway on one of the islands here in Seychelles.


Anse Lazio voted the 4th best beach in the world by TripAdvisor users


As per a local…the Seychelles were uninhabited islands. 13 men and 1 female slaves of various races landed on the islands first after their ship was wrecked off Seychelles. These 13 men and the only woman populated the Seychelles. So basically all Seychellois people are interrelated. Although i doubt if this is true or just a made up story to tell the tourists.

Seychelles (pronounced as ‘say-shells’) is an island country consisting of 115 islands, Nearby countries are Madagascar and other smaller island countries.The climate is equable although quite humid, as the islands are small, The temperature varies little throughout the year from 24 to 30 °C. We stayed on three out of the many islands viz, Praslin, Mahe and La Digue. and the stay over here was overwhelming, each island has its own speciality.


What to eat? 

Being an island it is best known for sea food. The Seychelles’s cuisine also known as Creole cuisine has been influenced by African, British, French, Indian and Chinese cuisines.Though Fruit bats are considered a delicacy in the seychelles, we did not even bother to try their bat curry :x.

Drink Seybrew: Bavarian-style lager.

Ekyu: Local beer.

Calou: Alcoholic drink made from coconut sap and used in many Seychellois dishes. 

Coco D’Amour: Tropical liqueur made with coconut extract.

Bacca: Alcohol made from sugarcane liquor and mainly used on ceremonial occasions.

Dark Takamaka rum: Popular night cap.

If you enjoy a good beer you must try the local Seybrew beer, it tastes similar to a light Bavarian style beer and is a must to get you through those balmy days.


A dark Takamaka Rum on the beach under the stars is the best way to end a day on the Seychelles

Getting in 

No visa is required, but Seychellois (pronounced se-sel-wa) authorities make sure you are not entering to stay for good. Therefore, the following items MUST be presented to the immigration officer:

> Passport

> Your return ticket.

> Your hotel voucher.

An initial entry permit is granted for 1 month but can be extended for a maximum of 3 months at a time up to a maximum of 1 year in total.

See the official travel website The only international gateway to the Seychelles is Seychelles International Airport (SEZ) near Victoria on the island of Mahe. Air Seychelles is the national airlines and as regular flights from many destinations, we flew from Mumbai by Air Seychelles which had a collaboration with Jet airways, it’s about 4 hours flight to Mahe from Mumbai and the timings are perfect as you land in Mahe in the morning. more details here – http://www.airseychelles.com

The Seychelles Tourism board is a great point of reference and they will be able to answer any and all questions you might have. Their website is http://www.seychelles.travel

The islands’ currency is the Seychelles rupee (SCR). To get the best rates, use credit cards as much as possible, and get your cash from ATMs. However, it is also possible to buy rupees from the airport and from several banks. Credit cards and European debit cards are widely accepted, with the notable exception of gas stations. Petrol must be paid with cash.

Cat Cocos operates 3 catamaran ferries serving multiple daily crossings between Mahe and Praslin and a daily crossing extension to La Digue. The sailing normally takes one hour. The fare is around €90 to €100 per person (price at June 2015) for a same day return ticket from Mahe to Praslin. Tickets can be purchased from the Cat Cocos office, opposite the pier, on the same day before travel subject to availability. Alternatively, e-tickets can be purchased online at Seychellesbookings.

Similarly, Inter Island Ferry operate a route between Praslin and La Digue with 8 daily departures taking only 15mins in crossing time. Tickets cost around €15 for an adult single, and can be purchased at the office or online with Seychellesbookings. Most arrivals at Praslin are timed to coincide with Cat Cocos departures to Mahe.


Our ferry to Praslin


We landed in Mahe and took the ferry to Praslin

Island of Mahe


Praslin is the second largest island in Seychelles, well-known for its picturesque beaches and tropical forest. Praslin is a perfect combination of beach and forests. You can relax on one among world’s most beautiful beaches, as well as go on forest trails to sight the famous Seychelles bulbul and black parrot and yes, the Coco de mer but more on this later.


How to get there? 

Praslin is well connected with the inter island ferry system in Seychelles. There are ferries connecting Mahe- Praslin every hour. Ferry ride is about 60 minutes. Booking can be done online and over the counter. So after getting down at Mahe international airport you can take a taxi to the ferry terminal. Praslin also has a domestic airport. If you want to avoid the ferry you can fly to Praslin. The fares for ferry and plane differ drastically. I would recommend a ferry ride to get the feel of the island country.


Accommodation at Praslin There is a varied variety of hotels ranging from 5 stars like Constance Lemuria to simple ones Plus there are places where you get cottages/chalets on rent.


We were staying at Amitie Chalets. located on the other side of the island from the ferry, a 15 min taxi ride, about 20 euros fare. You can check http://www.airseychelles.com for domestic flights, Mahe to Praslin. as they are close to the airport.

Amite chalets



Their superior chalet, Curieuse at 90 euros a night with breakfast and wifi included was simply fantastic. 

Our stay at Praslin

This particular chalet is 15 meters from the beach with a king-sized bed, walk in shower, separate kitchen/dining room, and a veranda with an unobstructed view of the beach.

Complimentary fruit basket and champagne

There are two restaurants within walking distance, two that provide free transportation to and from, two take-a-ways. A bus stop is located 50 meters from here, 5 rupees per person one-way regardless of the distance, or you can rent a car for 30-40 euros a day (price depends upon availability).

‘Best place in all of praslin’ With friendly hosts and a great cottage…everything was as we wanted it to be for our honeymoon. They helped us with renting a car too,

Us with ilene


Ilene who works there was very friendly and helpful. We stayed here for 3 nights. And the beach being right in front of you was the final cherry on the cake. Would love to come back here again.

View from verandah


Our accommodation on the Praslin Island was so spectacular that it needs a blog post on its own. We could have stayed here forever 😉 I can guarantee you, it was one of the best stays so far!


Things to do at Praslin 


Anse Lazio

 Anse Lazio voted the 4th best beach in the world by TripAdvisor users – See more at: http://www.seychellesnewsagency.com/articles/2516/Praslin+Islands+Anse+Lazio+voted+the+th+best+beach+in+the+world+by+TripAdvisor+users#sthash.VmnFyvDA.dpuf “Picture perfect, with crystal clear, warm waters, shade, sun and powder white sand” This is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It has clear blue waters and clean white sand just like rest of the beaches in Seychelles. But the magnificent granite boulders bordering the beach is what makes this beach special. It is filled with sea life and great to snorkel in especially the right corner, don’t give it a miss.

Anse Georgette 

The view in Anse Georgette is breathtaking. It’s a perfect combination of the blue waters and clear white sand. You need to walk through Constance Lemuria to get in there. It is preferred to call in advance and book.


Zimbabwe point – The highest point in Praslin, Grand Anse, breathtaking views.



Vallee De Mai 

It is a nature park and a UNESCO world heritage site. 

It is well known for its tall Coco De mer trees and well preserved palm forests. You can also spot the Seychelles bulbul and black parrot there.

Trail


The endemic black parrot exclusively subsists on these palm trees. 

Coco de mer



Coco De mer which is only found in Seychelles  is grown as an ornamental tree in many areas in the tropics, and subsidiary populations have been established on Mahé and Silhouette Islands in the Seychelles to help conserve the species.


The fruit is used in Ayurvedic medicine and also in traditional Chinese medicine. In food, it is typically found as flavor enhancers for soups in southern Chinese cuisine, namely cuisine around the Canton country.

Coco de mer palms


The tough outer seed coat has been used to make bowls. One coco de mer nut can make two bowls fixed with wooden handle and with a cover is used to carry water.


Curieuse island 

We have to take a boat ride to reach this island. It is usually a day trip.

Crossing the emerald-coloured sea was fascinating! We were given a map of the island and told to travel to the other end by lunch time and food will be served there. 

There’s a doctor house just at the beginning.

The forest trail was a nice experience and we spotted few birds. 


Trail to other side of the island


We were greeted by the giant tortoises on the other end at the tortoise conservation center.



Seeing all these tortoises walking around and eating leaves was a great experience. Some of them even made some noises, that was fun.



There are generations of tortoises, right from baby tortoises to over 100 year old ones. You can feed them and play around, click photographs.


The tour manager had arranged for barbeque along the beach. We enjoyed yummy food amidst of amazing scenery. 



After food we strolled along the beach and swam for a while, then proceeded to an area for snorkelling in the boat.



the sea life and the corals were simply phenomenal, Before we left the small Seychelles island to go back to Praslin, we had some joy in the waters. We couldn’t say no to this nice beach and the turquoise water.



Island – 2 : La Digue Arriving at La Digue feels like sailing straight into a painting, brimming with brush strokes of blue, green and tan. The beaches here are spectacular, particularly Anse Source d’Argent, which is strewn with granite rocks.


Pandiculating at a beach cafe

La Digue is the third largest inhabited island of the Seychelles in terms of population, lying east of Praslin and west of Felicite Island. In terms of size it is the fourth largest granitic island of Seychelles after Mahé, Praslin and Silhouette Island. It has a population of 2,800 people, who mostly live in the west coast villages of La Passe Once, one was not allowed to own a car at La Digue. This has recently changed, but the main means of transportations are still bicycles.Tourists are requested to adapt to this lifestyle; it is possible to rent bicycles right near the pier. There are a few personally owned vehicles, but most cars and buses belong to hotel companies.


Calou guest house


We stayed in La Passe, at Calou Guest house, at their garden bungalow, (€110 for 2 persons on Half Board or €85 for 2 persons on Bed & Breakfast) It’s a nice place to stay and decent staff and good food! their buffet was ample yet sumptuous


Dining area, where the buffet is set


Nadine was very pleasant and made our stay comfortable, two dogs at the guesthouse who are very playful .10 min cycle ride from the jetty and located at the foothills with a nice view.


Things to do

 La Digue, is a quite place where you can relax, after the amazing but a little tiring Praslin (with the watersports and mountain trails).

Either you can rent bikes at the pier or at the hotels itself.



Anse Source d’Argent – best beach on La digue, its secluded and protected with granite boulders all over, the combination with fine white sand and a million shades of blue water , is soothing and will make you fall in love with this place. 



There are other plenty beaches where you can lie down/snorkel, which you can stop by, as you ride your bicycles over the the road along the island.


To Eat 

We had booked half board so we were at the guesthouse for breakfast and dinner, lunch was usually at some random places, one place worth mentioning was Chez Jules – at Anse Banane.


Very nice! sumptuous food, limited menu, and a very small place but a friendly host and a good cook. We had tuna salad and creole fish curry and it was so delicious, that i still remember the taste !


After our lunch we went to the beach with fresh lime juice and took a nice big nap.



He has a dog named Rex who is super friendly. Overall worth the visit. Even though it was on the the other end of the island.



Coco island 

Similar to the day trip as mentioned for Curiose in praslin, We visited this place as part of a daily cruise from La Digue with Creole Travel.


Bye bye La Digue 🙁

Island 3 

Mahe The last days we spent on Mahe. It took us an hour by boat from La Digue. Our plan was to see as much as possible and this was only possible by renting a car. So we did! Our day started with first checking into a hotel. On staying at budget on previous islands we went for a fancy 5 star…but it was nothing compared to the hospitality received at amitie and calou.


Mahé is the largest island of Seychelles, lying in the northeast of the nation in the Indian Ocean. Mahe is home to the capital of Victoria .The island retains its idyllic beauty, with 3,000-foot mountains and scores of gorgeous beaches. Many plants, including the so-called Jellyfish Tree and several rare orchids, are unique to Mahe’s shores. 


Relaxing by the beach

The Seychelles Natural History Museum, the Botanical Gardens and the Codevar Craft Centre, all in Victoria, are not to be missed.


City centre of Victoria


Victoria! It’s a nice British colonial city with a market worth visiting, some amazing churches and a botanical garden. After sipping some coffee and a pineapple-passion fruit juice in the city center, we went on a walk.


At ganpati temple in Victoria

Hindu temple 

The Arulmigu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple is the first and the only Hindu temple in Seychelles, has Ganesha as the presiding deity. As proud as we can be …went in and offered our prayers.


Beau vallon 

Beau Vallon is a bay on the north western coast of Mahé in the Seychelles. Beau Vallon Beach is a very frequented and maybe the most popular on the island. It is known as a base for diving and snorkelling due to its clear waters and coral reefs. 



The road trip from Beau Vallon to the western coast continued through the world famous Morne Seychelles National Park. It was a scenic drive with some stunning views and with a visit to the tea factory! Though we were not interested in the tea factory, there was this wonderful view of the hilly landscape of the Seychelles islands, which we won’t forget


Sainte Anne Marine National Park

Sainte Anne Marine National Park It lies about 5 km from Victoria, the capital city of the Seychelles, and encompasses eight small islands.


Indian naval vessel alongside for Seychelles national day celebrations

The islands are known as one of the prime tourist locations in the Indian Ocean for scuba-diving, glass-bottom boat excursions and snorkeling among the coral reefs. 


Fish !

The colorful underwater world attracts tourists from around the world who are watching here the magnificent coral gardens, reef sharks and colorful tropical fish.



The main island of Ste Anne is an 87-villa resort while Cerf Island and Round Island have Creole-style restaurants. It also has one of the largest areas of “seagrass meadows” in the Seychelles. It is very beautiful.


Fooling around😀


Local tour operators offer day trips to the Marine Park Moyenne Island Its a small island in the Ste Anne Marine National Park off the north coast of Mahé, Seychelles.



There are rumours that pirate treasure is buried on the island,but no gold or other treasure has been found as of yet. 


There are two graves on the island which have been said to be those of pirates, although this cannot be confirmed. 



Mission Lodge is another highly recommended spot to visit. Situated just below the summit of Sans Soucis, the Mission Lodge affords one of the most extraordinary views of Mahé’s west coast


Lazing around mission lodge

Nightlife

Do not miss most popular Nightclub “Lovenut” in the centre of Victoria, 100 metres walk from central Taxi station. Also entertaining are “Tequila Boom” at (Bel Ombre) and “Katiolio” (near Anse Royale) night clubs. “Katiolio” was one of the first nightclubs to open on Mahe and boats an open-air that is directly beside the ocean.



Mahe is the best island in Seychelles for shopping. So if you want to take home a few momentos from your holiday, have a stopover here before you head for the airport. You won’t find big shopping malls here but there are a speciality shops which sell local products. Seychelles is well-known for handicrafts especially hand carved wooden stuff. One such specialty shop is the Kenwyn House primarily a gem house, also has historical significance. You shouldn’t miss Sir Selwyn Clarke market for its numerous gift shops. While visiting, be sure to buy the classic and traditional Seychelles souvenir, the coco-de-mer, or the ‘nut of the sea,’ a nut from trees native to the islands in the Seychelles – but this requires an export licence. Other locally made souvenirs, although not as unique, can be purchased like sea shell and pearl jewellery, textiles and straw hats, in addition to needlework & crochet, paintings by local artists and woodwork.



The Seychelles islands are a pricey, boring honeymoon destination, as we thought it would be? Well, the prices are high but you’re definitely not going to be bored and it’s not only for honeymooners!


We will remember the Seychelles as islands with very friendly people, lots of activities to do, best beaches on earth, a diverse vegetation and colourful buildings.


On our last day before our flight we checked out if hotel and drove the west coast of Mahe which offered so many nice views of the coastline. We got the impression that this part of the island is not that popular among tourists. We actually don’t know why, as it’s so picturesque!


Anse Intendence

We found that you can eat cheaply if you do your homework and there are cheaper style guest houses as well as glamorous 5 star establishments. Can’t wait to get back!



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Cheerios!


#dustyrucksack #seychelles #islandtrip #honeymoon #holiday #islandhopping 

Lady Avabai Jamshetjee Jeejeebhoy (Lady Jamshetjee), Mahim

​The Mahim causeway is an important link connecting the Mumbai city with its suburbs. The causeway links Mahim with Bandra.

As we know that Mumbai is made up of seven islands viz, Mahim, Parel, Worli, Mumbai, Maazgaon, Colaba and Chota (small) Colaba.

(P.C.- Wikipedia) 

Seven islands of Mumbai


These seven islands that came to constitute Mumbai  were under the control of successive indigenous empires before being ceded to the Portuguese and subsequently to the British East India Company when in 1661 King Charles II married the Portuguese Catherine of Braganza, and as part of her dowry Charles received the ports of Tangier and seven islands of Bombay.

The Mahim Causeway was built between 1841 and 1846 to connect the island of Salsette with Mahim.

(P.C.- Wikipedia) Salsette Island (Sashtee) in green

Salsette or saashtee as it is actually pronounced is bounded on the north by Vasai Creek, on the northeast by the Ulhas River, on the east by Thane Creek and Bombay Harbour, and on the south and west by the Arabian Sea.

Avabai, Lady Jeejeebhoy was the wife of Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy, 1st baronet of Mumbai. She is best known for having funded the construction of theMahim causeway. 

Before 1845, there was no connection by land between the present-day Mumbai neighbourhoods of Mahim and Bandra; people had to be ferried across the Mahim Creek. This was dangerous during themonsoons, when the seas around Mumbai are extremely rough; people sometimes lost their lives merely in crossing Mahim and Bandra on the ferries. The passage of carriages and other land conveyances was impossible.


The government deliberated upon the matter, estimated the required expense as being one lakh rupees, and made it known that paucity of funds precluded the expenditure of what was then a vast sum of money. Avabai, perhaps by personal experience, well knew the importance to local residents of building the causeway, and resolved upon seeing the needful done. She arranged with the government to have the causeway constructed by them at her expense. Avabai was a lady of independent means. Avabai stipulated that given the circumstances of the causeway’s construction, no toll should ever be charged by the government for its use.

Construction of the Mahim causeway began in 1841 and was completed in 1845. The estimated cost of construction was far exceeded, and finally amounted to Rs. 1,57,000/-, all of which was paid out of money donated to the treasury by Avabai from her personal funds. 


Inscription at Bhandar Gully cross road (1846)







How does the presence of god feels.

#kolhapur #travel #traveldiaries #dustyrucksack 

Pit stop selfie !

After attending a wedding, on our way back from Goa. We decided to take a halt at Kolhapur. It was almost 10 pm as our SUV entered the bustling little town. Had a quick dinner at the well known restaurant; Parakh and checked in to Maratha Regency. 

Simple yet delicious mutton thali at hotel parakh

Next day, we planned to visit Amba bai temple around 9 am. But were so tired that by the time we reached the temple it was 11:30 am. After purchasing flowers and oti for the goddess, stood in the long darshan queue. By the time we entered the temple it was half past noon. Heard some people grumbling that it would be time for arti soon and those inside would have to wait there till the arti is over. There was a disappointing tone in their talk. Our reaction was completely opposite as we were excited that we would be able to attend the arti.  

Kolhapur Mahalaxmi temple during navratri

By now, some devotees started rushing to finish with the darshan as fast as possible. We had no other option but to follow them. As we walked in queue, prayed to Amba bai that we want to wait in the temple for the arti. As we saw the hope of staying back for the arti disappearing. 😕
We reached the sanctum sanctorum (main gabhara) entrance and offered prayers and flowers. As we were done, half heartedly headed for the exit. A woman at the sanctum sanctorum (main gabhara) entrance told us to wait for the arti as we had come from a long distance. On asking her how is it possible to wait when all the devotees are pushing us out. She took us behind the sanctum sanctorum.and told us to wait till all the crowd is dispersed. We stood there as instructed by the woman who was a security guard. As the arti started she called us. Overjoyed we attended the afternoon arti at Karveer Niwasini Shri Mahalaxmi temple.

Seems, that day Amba Bai had not occupied the throne inside sanctum sanctorum, but was standing near the entrance blessing her devotees.

Purchased this beautiful painting of Amba Bai