Saturday, January 22, 2011
Possible Adventures on the High Seas
Once again I find myself part of a group planning a possible trip to the Aldabra Islands in eighteen months. Now, we had to abort a similar trip a year or so ago because none of us had a hankering to deal with pirates who were frequenting the waters in the area. However, our friend who plans these trips, has learned that we can travel safely and avoid encounters with the pirates if we go during certain months. That's the good news. The bad news is the pirates stay home during these months due to incredibly rough seas.
Another "small" issue is that the mode of transportation allowed into the islands that time of year are several luxury yachts (as in not cheap). Given that in order to reach Mahe, where the boats depart, one has to leave the states and either fly through Europe or Asia to east Africa then out to Mahe, (which is 1800 miles east of Kenya) you have already invested a small chunk of change in airfare before you even see the "luxury yacht". Generally, short of hot water, the term "luxury" never describes any part of our adventures.
So when we reach our final destination, we are over 1000 miles east of Africa, 265 miles north of Madagascar, and 700 miles west of Mahe (basically the nearest major airport). If you look on a map you do not even see the group of islands I am referring to, much less this atoll, which is 34 by 14 km. (You have to do the math, I never learned the metric system.)
And, one may ask why we would want to spend a lot of money, to be in rough seas (to avoid pirates), in order to travel to a minute atoll in the Indian Ocean? Easy, to see the the place the Aldabra tortoise originated. Isn't that what everyone wants to do on their vacation? Of course, I also failed to mention that the Seychelle Islands are said to be some of the most beautiful islands in the world, with beaches and lagoons to die for. So all is not for naught - just a little off the beaten path. OK, way off the beaten path and they always say the "trip" is getting there. In this case, if we ever go, I think this will prove very true.