The Beauty of Yachting in the Seychelles: Getting Back to Nature

Selecting the finest Seychelles island is like choosing a favourite child. Each one offers a once-in-a-lifetime attraction, like the giant tortoises of Aldabra atoll, who would have witnessed minimal changes during their 250-year lifespans. Yet the entire archipelago is united by a common allure. That’s because all 115 islands offer the siren call of talcum powder beaches and nodding palms that dangle over topaz shallows.

By Kathryn Tomasetti • 08 November 2018
The Seychelles sit midway between Madagascar and the Maldives. The archipelago’s geography is a blend of both. On the mountainous main island of Mahé, an emerald forest tumbles down from a 906m-peak to create the Morne Seychellois National Park. Rosewood and cinnamon scent highland tracks. Kestrel falcons, known in Creole as katiti after their melodic cry, serenade the handful of visitors lucky enough to stroll these feral forests. All told, nearly half the nation is protected by pioneering environmental measures.
Morne Seychellois National Park
At sea level it’s easier to understand why the Seychelles are nicknamed the ‘Galapagos of the Indian Ocean.’ Above the sandy-bottomed seas around Aride Island, over a million seabirds cavort in a swirling cacophony. Coconut crabs, some a metre wide from leg to leg, offer another example of island gigantism - in a land of no predators, the species grows larger every year. Even the plants are unique. The Nepenthes pervillei is a mountain carnivore that traps insects with a deadly nectar. The national symbol is the coco de mer, a double-buttocked coconut endemic to Praslin. It resides alongside tiger chameleons and black parrots within the Vallée de Mai UNESCO heritage site, a prehistoric valley some claim to be the Garden of Eden.
Vallée de Mai
In terms of land and population, the Seychelles is Africa’s smallest country. Yet its 90,000 residents share a million square kilometres of sea stocked with Poseidon’s most glorious species. Better still, because these waters have seldom been spearfished, sea life appears entirely unafraid of humankind. Divers will find GoPro-friendly gems like the camouflage grouper and Picasso triggerfish.

From a superyacht like 67.5m ICON, deeper ocean denizens can be spotted throughout winter. These include the kaleidoscope-striped rainbow runners, which can also be hooked on a line for an evening feast. The trickiest catch is the bonefish. This aerodynamic tube of muscle can weave and duck at 60km/h. That’s nearly as fast as the Yahama Waverunners found on ICON’s deck.
Picasso Triggerfish
Nature reaches its feral zenith on Aldabra Atoll. Jacques Cousteau called the world’s second-largest coral atoll “one of the last sanctuaries on our planet, a place that man has not yet spoiled”. A coral reef stretches for tens of kilometres to encircle a blue lagoon alive with green sea turtles and manta rays. As Cousteau would attest, it’s a diver’s dream. Come evening, when cocktails are served beside ICON’s pool, nightjars and sunbirds sing into the tropical air. By day, the 13 cetacean species familiar to local waters cruise past the atoll, humpbacks and orcas among them. All protected for eternity by the Seychelles’ second UNESCO inscription, which encompasses the entire atoll.
Aldabra Atoll
Please contact the Bluewater Charter Specialists to get back to nature onboard M/Y ICON in the Seychelles this winter.