Outside Terminal 1 at Dubai International Airport at 3am. It had been 7 months since I had been to Terminal 1 for a flight despite frequent recent travels.
We only had carry on luggage and had printed out our boarding passes at home, so after passing through immigration and security, caught the train to the concourse D.
And then headed to the Marharba lounge for a bite to eat.
Direct return flights on Emirates from Dubai to Seychelles were a whopping $1150 each for the 4.5 hours in economy. The fact that Emirates only charged $900 for Paris to Seychelles via Dubai only added insult to injury. Luckily we were able to book flights on Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa though for a much more reasonable $480 each.
After the quick morning refreshment, we headed to gate D6 to catch our flight to Addis Ababa.
Our Boeing 737 waiting at the gate.
A couple of weeks before our flight it was rescheduled, giving only 40 minutes between landing at Addis Ababa and taking off to Seychelles, so I was a bit nervous about mis-connecting. Luckily we took off ontime though just after dawn.
Simple but tasty breakfast served shortly after take-off. This was Rianda's first time flying an African airline (other than SAA). I tried to temper her expectations and that it wouldn't be as comfortable as EK or QR, but for the very reasonable ticket price she easily understood.
Looking over the mountains in Oman.
And out to the sea side city of Salalah as we head out over the Arabian Sea to avoid Yemeni airspace.
Looking directly down at the city of Hargeisa in Somaliland.
And making our descent over Addis Ababa.
We parked up at a remote gate at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport at 8:45am. The departure time for our flight to Seychelles was 9:30am and I was stressing that we would have to catch a bus to the terminal, clear security and then catch another bus to the Seychelles flight. Then something completely unexpected happened that I had never experienced before during an airport transfer.
At the bottom of the stairs an Ethiopian Airlines employee asked us what our destination was, and we were then directed to one of the waiting buses which only had about 12 other passengers on it. The bus then proceeded to drive around the apron, dropping us off at our respective connecting flights!
There was no other passengers about when we drove up to our 737 for our flight to Seychelles, so we were expecting to be the last onboard.
Except we were actually the first!
The buses with the other passengers from the terminal then arrived and we were soon taxiing for take-off.
A drink and snack served soon after take-off.
Looking down on the very dry landscape of Somalia.
Followed by tasty fish and pasta for lunch.
The Somali coastline as we head out over the Indian Ocean.
A small island in the distance as we descend towards Mahé.
Looking over to Ste. Anne Island.
And above the man-made Eden Island on finals to Seychelles International Airport.
As we parked outside the airport, they made an announcement over the PA to have our yellow fever cards ready and for everyone to remain seated until we were cleared by Seychelles biosecurity to disembark the plane. Although I had my yellow fever card with me, Rianda was not vaccinated. I thought for a moment that they might be checking everyone's YF card, but the biosecurity lady just walked slowly down the aisle, carefully looking for any stowaway mosquitoes that may have caught a free ride from the mainland.
After a short walk into the arrivals terminal, they asked us where we had come from. After reassuring them we had come from Dubai and had only transitted in Addis Ababa, we were quickly stamped into the country.
We were in Seychelles in four nights. As it wasn't really enough time to see some of the other islands, we elected to stay all four nights on the main island of Mahé.
Our first two nights were at Georgina’s Cottage Beach House (A) in Beau Vallon in the north of the island, and the last two nights in the south at the Kempinski Seychelles (B).
After paying 40 euro's (haggled down from 45) for the 14 kilometre drive to Georgina’s Cottage Beach House, we were welcomed with a cool glass of papaya juice while we checked-in.
And our room for 95 euro's per night including breakfast. Very clean and comfortable with all important super cool airconditioning.
The beach house was across from Beau Vallon Beach so I took my Phantom quadcopter out for some aerial sightseeing.
Looking down at Georgina's (green roof middle lower left).
Out over the water and looking north.
Looking south with a catamaran moored in the beautiful turquoise blue water.
The scenery was definitely alot different to what I am used to in Dubai!
Looking down on the 5 star Savoy Seychelles Resort & Spa.
After exhausting the batteries on the Phantom, we went for a walk along the waterfront.
Some cool coconut juice to share.
And then walked back up Beau Vallon Beach.
Aftera rest back at the guesthouse, I took the Phantom for a fly again in the late afternoon. At the Hilton Seychelles after flying up the coast.
Looking down on some locals having a swim.
Flying out to sea to catch the last rays of sunlight for the day.
For dinner we headed to Baobab Pizzeria on Beau Vallon Beach.
It was super busy but we able to get a seat after 15 minutes.
Our Quattro Stagioni and Baobab Spécial pizza's being prepared.
And two very tasty pizza's for 160 rupee's (~$12) each at the end of day 1 in Seychelles.
On the morning of day 2 I went for a run along the beach. A great way to start the day.
At 8am we headed down to breakfast. Eggs, toast, fruit and tea to fuel up for a day of diving.
After a 10 minute walk up the road, we arrived at Big Blue Divers. The price for our two dives today was 118 euro's each so not too bad.
After being kitted out, we hopped in the back of a pickup truck and then headed off to our boat for today's trip.
Cruising in the boat to our first dive spot just north of Mahé. There was about a dozen divers today, mostly Europeans but also a couple of Sudanese guys from Dubai.
In the water and about to head underwater. I normally use a weight belt, and it was my first time using weights that were attached directly to the BCD. My guide hadn't attached one of the weights correctly though and it sunk to the bottom of the sea as soon as I hopped in the water!
After a bit of a struggle, I managed to swim down to the weight on the bottom of the ocean floor and re-attach it to my BCD.
Rianda was having problems equalising as she descended the anchor line. After having no luck, she unfortunately had to go back to the surface.
A school of fish with some of the other divers in the distance.
My dive guide, Eric, a born and bred Seychelloise.
A small fish peaking out from below some coral. Our maximum depth for our first dive today was 17 metres.
A school of Yellowtail snapper.
A moray eel in a crag in the rocks.
There was a bit of a current, and as well as with the issues of my errant weight and Rianda having problems with her equalising, I had quickly sucked through my tank in less than half an hour.
We moved to a second dive site only 500 metres away, dropped anchor again and were soon on our second dive.
Descending the anchor line. Luckily the current was much less strong and I was able to breathe abit more normally.
The second dive site had much more fish about.
It was interesting to see the different coloured fish segregating themselves.
Yellowtail snapper again.
And even more.
There were literally thousands of them to swim through!
A couple of Emperor angelfish.
Another Moray Eel keeping a close eye on us.
Eric later said that the visibility was close to perfect for Seychelles, and that at other times of the year it can be less than a few metres, so we really luckily today.
And inflating our surfce marker buoy just before we ascend for our safety stop. I had managed to control my breathing this time and the dive had lasted a bit more reasonable 55 minutes.
Heading back to Mahé after a great days diving.
Back on shore we walked down to a local café and shared a banana milkshake for a late lunch at 3pm.
And some tuna and ham sandwiches for 90 rupees each.
After crashing out at the Beach House for a bit, we went a stroll at dusk on Beau Vallon Beach.
The looming clouds and setting sun made for a very picturesque end of the day.
And the sky turning a beautiful bright red with the sun now below the horizon.
We walked back up the beach to La Plage Restaurant which was situated right on the beach.
A Mojito to start.
Followed by some fresh bread with pipettes of olive oil.
For the starter we shared the very tasty Tuna Carpaccio.
And for the main I had the Red Snapper.
While Rianda had the super-delicious Seafood Risotto. At 100 euro's total for the meal, it wasn't particularly cheap, but with the divine food and great location it was definitely worth it.
After sleeping in and a morning run, we had breakfast again at the Beach House.
The amusing coconut weather station on the front lawn.
At about 10 am we checked out of the Beach House, stored our bags, and then walked down the the beach.
And found a soft patch of sand under the trees to stretch out and relax under.
It was a good chance as well to go for a dip in the warm blue waters.
Just after 12pm we walked down to find some lunch. We weren't too hungry and didn't feel like spending 30 euro's each for a main at one of the restaurants so settled on Baobab Pizzeria again.
A bottle of Seychelles water with a name suspiciously similar to a certain famous French Brand.
And the tasty seafood Baobab Spécial again to share.
Back at the Beach House our taxi was waiting to take us to the Kempinski Seychelles in Baie Lazare.
Our taxi driver was very friendly and talkative and we chatted about our stay in Seychelles. He was born in Tanzania to a Seychelloise father and his mother was from Goa. He had moved to the Mahé in his teens. He said it was about a mile walk to the nearest shop outside of the resort, so we stopped on the way to stock up on water and snacks to avoid paying the inflated resort charges.
And checking into the Kempinski, with a welcome glass of lemongrass water.
And being shuttled to our ocean view room.
Our room for the next two nights.
On our balcony looking out to the coconut plam trees and the beach beyond. I was glad we had paid a little extra to upgrade to a room with a sea view.
At $410 a night it was definitely one of the more expensive places I have stayed at. The rate included half-board (breakfast and dinner), and as the dinner buffet was 1000 rupees (~$74) each it wasn't too unreasonable for a five star resort.
We then enjoyed a wander around the resort, including seeing the resident tortoises and horses, and then went for a stroll down the beach.
Outside the hotel restaurant just after 7pm for dinner.
The buffet had a different theme each night of the week, and tonights was Asian with a delicious range of spicy and tasty dishes.
And some sweet and tempting dessert to finish at the end of day 3.
As with dinner the night before, the breakfast buffet had a great range of hot and cold food to fuel up for another day of diving.
The resort had it's own dive centre where I booked a dive through the hotel concierge.
I was picked up just before 9am, and after a short drive to nearby Anse A La Mouche, I was kitted up and then walked out to the waiting boat for our dive today.
Our guide for today, Anton, briefing us on our plan for this morning. It was only a small group with a German couple who were on vacation and had been diving everyday for the last 2 weeks, Matthias from Switzerland who was also here on vacation and Debbie from South Africa who was training up to become a Divemaster.
After a short boat ride arpund the coast, we were soon in the warm blue waters. Matthias, my dive buddy for today.
There was little coral or plant life but the water was clear and we soon encountered some of the locals underwater.
The dive was relatively shallow with a max depth of 17 metres.
A lone Lionfish.
A couple of ~1 metre long Green humphead parrotfish.
I had never encountered parrotfish before so was great to see their very peculiar head and 'beaks'.
A passing Ray that somehow has misplaced his tail!
Looking down on the others.
The bright Seychelles sun shining through.
A large Ray nestled in the sand.
At the end of the dive we ventured down and went under some large boulders. We spotted a few sharks too but they unfortunately were too far away to get a good shot with my GoPro.
I was the first to exhaust the air in my tank but with 55 minutes it was still a good duration for the dive.
Back at the resort where I joined back up with Rianda under the beach umbrella's.
After the substantial breakfast we weren't too hungry so just shared a hamburger at the resort beach café for lunch.
And then spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and taking it easy.
Enjoying another stroll along the beach at dusk.
The theme for tonight's dinner buffet was 'global cuisine' and had quite a mix of different dishes.
And indulging in some more dessert, before vowing to have a good run tomorrow to work it all off!
Covered in sweat after lumbering up the hill from the resort to work off a few calories from the night before.
And indulging in one last holiday buffet breakfast!
Our luck with the weather had run out on our last day and it soon became overcast and started raining for the first time since we had arrived in Mahé.
We had nothing planned before our departure today apart from just being lazy so we just chilled out at the resort. Luckily the rain was only intermittent and the weather was still warm.
We checked out at 12pm and stored our bags and grabbed some lunch at the resort beach café.
Chicken burger to share.
Testing the waterproofing on my iPhone in the hotel pool!
We used the same taxi driver again and he arrived ontime at 3pm for our ride back to the airport. I had left my cap behind when he dropped off at the Kempinski 2 days ago and luckily he had saved for me today.
In the open air check-in area at Seychelles International Airport.
About the board the ET 737 at 5:30pm at the end of a wonderful time in Mahé.
And about to catch the ET A350 back to Dubai after a relaxing and amazing trip to Seychelles!