Vallée de Mai & Anse Lazio

Jurassic Park, errr...Vallee di Mai

Today we were set to anchor off of Le Digue, a remote island in the Seychelles, but the surf was too large to safely operate the tender boats to land. We would therefore be anchored off of Praslin and attempt to go to Le Digue tomorrow. Praslin is famous for nature reserve and UNESCO site “Vallee de Mai”, home of the coco de mer seed. The coco de mer is the largest seed in the world, but beyond that attraction the reserve has a “Garden of Eden” reputation and a Jurassic Park feel.  Needless to say, wrapping up our honeymoon at the Garden of Eden didn’t sound too shabby.

How to get there….well, taxis were expensive on this remote island so it would be 20 euro round trip and that would only take up 2+ hours of our time. We also wanted to check out Anse Lazio, one of the highest rated beaches on earth, on the other side of the island. We couldn’t rent bikes on this island because it was very mountainous, so it seemed we were going to have an expensive day with all of the taxi rides. That is, until someone came up to us and asked us if we wanted to rent a car for 40 euro. We’d have to return it by 5pm, it was right hand drive and manual transmission, so we were a little “ehhh” about this. We walked away but then the offer changed – 35 euro, car till 8pm and automatic. Done. The guy took a credit card rubbing and we had a car. Well, that was easy.

The first stop, Vallee de Mai, was certainly worth every second we spent in there. Not only did we see the coco de mer tree and seeds, both of which are massive, but we also saw some cool birds and some other crazy plants like the jackfruit that just kind of grows on the side of a tree and looks very out of place.

Me with a Coco de Mer Nut

As we didn’t pay for a guide, I am sure we missed the names of things and any historic information, but the beauty of the place certainly was not lost on us. It seemed to me like either being on the set of Honey We Shrunk the Kids, or being in the middle of the Jurassic Period. If a brontosaurus wandered through the trees at one point, I don’t even think I’d be very surprised. I hope the photos convey what an amazing place this is, described as the Garden of Eden for good reason. It was just the coolest way to spend the afternoon – trekking through this massive park on paths that went up and down with not a single person around (the main reason why we didn’t pay for a guide). We heard ever leaf drop, every lizard dart across the path and every underground stream that we passed over. At times it was downright scary, but mostly it was an unparalleled way to be introduced to the natural beauty of the Seychelles. But in all seriousness, that coco de mer nut looks like a uterus.

Next on tap was Anse Lazio. Dave drove again, mainly because there are large trenches on both sides of the road and I’m terrified of tipping into them, and I navigated over mountains and to the other side of the island. Being votes one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, you’d think there’d be a crowd. Not quite. I guess there were a few people, but you could walk for 5 minutes down the beach and pretty much be isolated. Maybe that’s party how this beach got its designation in the first place.  Everything was blue, turquoise or it was white sand or a huge boulder. Palm trees grew nearly sideways, seemingly being pulled towards the ocean. The waves crashed and the water was sooooo warm and picturesque.

Anse Lazio...and Yes, this is a public beach!

The day was moderately hot and the humidity was high, but we were never hot or uncomfortable because of the breeze. We spent some time in the ocean and also exploring the rocks and checking out these cool crabs that were all over the place, along with these crazy land fish that dart sideways alongside the crabs.  Definitely a day filled with species and landscapes that exist nowhere but the Seychelles.

Luckiest crab in the world

 

Look! We returned it!

Oh, and leaving the rental car was the best. There was no one at the office, so we just handed off the keys to the next person who pulled up. Maybe he worked there? I don’t know. Well, its a small island, I’m sure it will be fine.  Here’s a picture of where we left it, just in case.

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