Top job: Kevin Betsy is the new Under 23-team coach at Arsenal
12th August 2021
Congratulations have been pouring in from all over the world after Kevin Betsy took up a new job managing the Under 23-team at top London football club, Arsenal.Seychellois-born Kevin, 43, had previou... more...
Campaigners for Press freedom: Lewis Betsy, left, and Bernard Verlaque
29th June 2021
By Lewis Betsy From the moment I left Seychelles on 1st April, 1980, and then settled in the UK, my thoughts have always turned to the same thing: the vital need for Seychelles to have a free Pre... more...
25th June 2021
 By Lewis Betsy The 29th June has always been an important day for me and for my beloved Seychelles. The independence of our nation from Britain on that day in 1976 was a turning point ... more...
Sharing the same dream: Lewis Betsy and Georges Bibi
25th June 2021
 By Lewis Betsy I recently met up for a fascinating chat about sport with Georges Bibi, my long-time footballing friend and now chief executive officer of the Seychelles Football Federation.... more...
Testimony: Lewis Betsy states his case at a Commission hearing in 2019
25th June 2021
 By Lewis Betsy The Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission hearings in Seychelles are turning into a farce.This is not easy for me to say as I am a complainant and want the comm... more...
Assured performance: President Ramkalawan at the May Press conference
14th May 2021
 By Lewis Betsy President Ramkalawan has always had his critics, but it was a surprise to me to hear hostile comments made by some who I thought would be sympathetic to him.I talk to a lot o... more...
Honoured: Paul D’Offay, left, Felicity Passon and Joel Melanie with their shields
14th May 2021
By Lewis Betsy Seychelles Life is always keen to encourage the positive side in our society and three Seychellois have today earned our respect and admiration.Felicity Passon, Joel Melanie and Pa... more...
Committed to the task: Alain St Ange relishes his new role
13th April 2021
Alain St Ange, the much-acclaimed former Tourism Minister for Seychelles and who as leader of the One Seychelles opposition party came third when he contested the Presidential election in October 2020... more...

Seeing the wonders of the sea through a glass-bottom boat

13th November 2018

Big opportunity for sea viewing: The Calypso glass-bottomed boat with room for 30 passengers
Big opportunity for sea viewing: The Calypso glass-bottomed boat with room for 30 passengers

By John Lablache

 

Seychelles’ tiny capital, Victoria, is sheltered from the Indian Ocean by a string of islands which also constitute the Ste Anne Marine Park, one of the archipelago’s main tourist attractions.

The marine park, 4 km from the main island of Mahe, in 1973 became the first protected marine area in the Indian Ocean and is so named after Ste Anne, the largest of six islands. They all boast pristine coral reefs, and are habitats to well over 150 types of colourful fish, including the butterfly and parrot fish, as well as other marine life, mainly turtles and corals.

Patrick Labrosse, Manager of the Marine Charter Association, has two glass-bottom boats taking visitors out daily to the marine park.

It is deemed that the best way to appreciate the marine wonders is a day’s excursion by glass-bottom boat, through which one can see shoals of colourful fish and corals of differing hues.

They are called “Calypso”, after the vessel of the late French undersea explorer, Jacques Yves Cousteau. The smaller vessel, which Patrick has owned for 20 years, seats just eight passengers and is ideal for families and small groups. It was recently joined by the “Calypso Papi”, a 30-seater. 

Steaming out of the Marine Charter Jetty after 9am, visitors go past the harbour shipping and the lighthouse guarding its entrance. Further out, visitors enjoy panoramic views of Mahe and the smaller islands. 

These include two islands, where “Calypso” takes its clients. Moyenne is the only island of the group open to day-trip visitors. Despite its size, it is an environmental treasure trove. Half of its 40 endemic plants are unique to Seychelles, including the Coco de Mer palm, which produces the world’s largest seed.

Moyenne also has a population of more than 2,000 birds and 100 giant land tortoises which roam freely. Perhaps pirates were the earliest human inhabitants and graves of mysterious origin may date from this era.

It is off Moyenne that Labrosse takes visitors to “feed the fish”, attracting hundreds of the small sergeant, a striped black and white fish, with bread crumbs and gives the visitors their first snorkeling experience.

Cerf Island is where the “Calypso” boats stop for picnic lunches of creole cuisine at the “Island Hopper Restaurant”.

“It is not gourmet living, but we sure provide for the island-life expectations of our clients,” said Labrosse.

The sea around Cerf is also ideal for snorkeling with a myriad of colourful eye-catching corals and friendly fish. 

For Jan Pudil and his daughter, Iveta, who hail from the Czech capital of Prague, it was their first undersea experience in the tropics. “We were thrilled by the marine life, especially the colourful fish and corals,” Jan said.

German visitor Brandt Udo, who stayed at the 5-star Constance Ephelia, on Mahe’s west coast, could have gone to the neighbouring Baie Ternay Marine Park, the other protected marine area. “But, we chose this one. We think it was better and it appears we were not mistaken.”

The charge for a full day’s excursion is 75 euros (1200 Seychelles rupees) going by “Calypso”. This includes a 200 rupee fee charged by the Marine Parks Authority on every foreign visitor and another 50 rupees for landing on Moyenne island. 

This is less than what is charged by most of the other dozen or so other operators. 

Other activities available from the Marine Charter jetty include sunset sailing, scuba diving and deep sea fishing. 

However, as far as the marine parks are concerned, fishing is forbidden, as is collecting shells and corals.

Visitors are advised to “take away nothing but photographs and memories”.

Labrosse says he does not deal with the large tour operators and receives most clients from guesthouses. “Publicity is also by word of mouth and I guess being here at the Marine Charter jetty all day is also a big plus.” 

Little marvel: The smaller Calypso boat for eight passengers
Little marvel: The smaller Calypso boat for eight passengers

Latest News

Praise from across the globe as Seychellois-born football star Kevin Betsy takes key job at Arsenal
12th August 2021
Top job: Kevin Betsy is the new Under 23-team coach at Arsenal
Congratulations have been pouring in from all over the world after Kevin Betsy took up a new job… more...
Seychelles Life will offer a new voice for the people of our islands… one that will promote unity and compassion
29th June 2021
Campaigners for Press freedom: Lewis Betsy, left, and Bernard Verlaque
By Lewis Betsy From the moment I left Seychelles on 1st April, 1980, and then settled in the… more...
Why celebrating Independence Day is more vital than ever after the havoc caused by Covid
25th June 2021
 By Lewis Betsy The 29th June has always been an important day for me and for my beloved… more...
All systems go for kick-off in August, says Bibi
25th June 2021
Sharing the same dream: Lewis Betsy and Georges Bibi
 By Lewis Betsy I recently met up for a fascinating chat about sport with Georges Bibi,… more...
I appeal to the President: don’t let the Truth Commission hearings end in failure
25th June 2021
Testimony: Lewis Betsy states his case at a Commission hearing in 2019
 By Lewis Betsy The Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission hearings in Seychelles… more...
President Ramkalawan is under-fire – but he showed his critics who’s boss
14th May 2021
Assured performance: President Ramkalawan at the May Press conference
 By Lewis Betsy President Ramkalawan has always had his critics, but it was a surprise… more...
Salute to the three Seychellois heroes who are setting a superb example to us all
14th May 2021
Honoured: Paul D’Offay, left, Felicity Passon and Joel Melanie with their shields
By Lewis Betsy Seychelles Life is always keen to encourage the positive side in our society… more...
I have quit politics and look forward to my new challenge, says Alain St Ange
13th April 2021
Committed to the task: Alain St Ange relishes his new role
Alain St Ange, the much-acclaimed former Tourism Minister for Seychelles and who as leader of the… more...
September's News
News Archive