Summer is on its way out in the Northern Hemisphere, but don’t worry if you didn’t soak up enough sunshine over the last few months. There is always a place somewhere out there where sunshine never ends, the waters are always crystal clear and temperatures rarely fell below 20 degrees. Take for example the Seychelles, an archipelago comprising of 115 idyllic islands. Sailing in the Seychelles will offer you the opportunity to explore unspoiled coves and stunning beaches.
The archipelago includes two main groups of islands, the Inner Islands and the Outer Islands. The former includes the three most populous islands in the Seychelles: Praslin, La Digue and Mahe, home to Victoria, the country’s capital.
Explore the Inner and Outer Seychelles
Sailing in the Seychelles Inner Islands is the safest option, as you will find here modern marinas and plenty of sheltered mooring spots. You will also have the opportunity to visit the coral islands of Denis Island and Bird Island, although you cannot anchor there, a necessary restriction to protect the fragile ecosystem, threatened among other things by plastic waste dumped in the ocean.
For something a bit more adventurous, you can explore the Outer Islands: scattered between their Inner sisters and the Eastern coast of Africa, these 72 coral islands are scarcely populated and offer you the opportunity to sail into the wild. You can discover here coves, atolls and grottoes of unparalled beauty, as well as anchorage spots to spend the night.
However, sailing in these waters can be treacherous. If you opt for a one-day bareboat yacht charter in the Seychelles, beware of currents and coral reefs that you may not find in maps. You may find yourself hundreds of miles away from the next port of call, so make sure that you have enough supplies.
Regulations on sailing in the Seychelles
Bareboat yachting in islands located at least 60 miles away from Mahe is only permitted during the day and after consulting the local authorities. If you want to visit one of the several marine parks, you can anchor in the designated zones. Some of the best marine parks to explore include Aride, Curieuse Marine National Park, St Anne Marine National Park, Port Launay Marine Park, Ile Coco Marine National Park and St Pierre.
Some islands, such as Bird, Cousine and Felicite, are privately-owned, which means that you need permission to dock and visit them onshore.
Winds and currents in the Seychelles
Sailing in the Seychelles is not particularly challenging, as the archipelago is out of the Indian Ocean’s cyclone belt and the waters are calm. The speed of local currents ranges from 0.5 to 1.5 knots on average. As for the prevailing winds in the region, they are north-westerly from winter to early spring and south-easterly from late spring to the autumn. The best period to sail in the Seychelles is April and November when the trade winds change direction. They tend to be stronger in the summer the in the Outer Islands, whereas in the Inner Islands they reach their peak in the winter.