Turtle watching

Mystic of Holyhead (successor to Lynn Rival)
Rachel and Paul Chandler
Sun 18 Oct 2009 16:09
We spent the last week cruising the west coast of Mahe again, revisiting some of our favourite spots, including Port Launay and Bay Ternay, where the snorkelling is good.  We met a couple, Franco and Helen, on a charter catamaran, who'd seen whales off the northern tip of Mahe.   We were not so lucky, but we did see turtles in Port Launay, shy creatures that are difficult to capture on camera.

Honestly, it's our local friendly turtle!

Franco and Helen, from northern Italy, were interested in our adventures, and told us about their cruising experience in Indian Ocean 30 years ago, including 3 months in the Chagos Islands.  They didn't have any of the mod cons we take for granted nowadays, such as GPS, fridge, etc.  Those were the days!

Our mini-cruise has been an opportunity to get as much ready as possible, including sorting out the mainsail halliard, which had been sticking.  After a few trips up the mast to check for problems, the solution came in the form of  a liberal application of silicone grease (on the sliders).

Anchored off (just!) Concepcion island

Snorkelling at Concepcion

Much time was spent swimming and snorkelling, including a stopover at Conception island, which is steep-to so we had to drop the anchor close in.  Needless to say it's only safe to do so in settled weather, but the reward was some interesting snorkelling where the coral grows on large boulders along the shore.  The water was exceptionally clear and there were lots of different fish to see, including a large emperor fish.  The island also seems to be the home to a number of white tailed tropic birds that swooped around as we arrived but then kept their distance until we left.

The black one is a frigate bird; the white ones didn't give their names

Yesterday we got news that our replacement outboard motor is in the country so we've now returned to Port Victoria in anticipation.  Apparently there's still some paperwork to sort out, including no doubt a large bill.  All being well we plan to leave for Tanzania on Thursday.  Today the winds have been in the west, which was good for our sail back, but is also a sign that we are now in the transition season (when the winds tend to be lighter and variable).  We are hoping the southeast trade winds will still be dominant for our trip.