Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Praslin and La Digue

Even though it was raining,
I decided that a visit to Vallee-de-Mai was a must.
This beautiful forest is the home of the most interesting Coco de Mer

The Coco de mer tree has both a male and female form.
This is the female Coco de mare tree.
It is their "ovaries" that become the "nut" that we know so well
The tree is endemic to the Seychelles and produces the heaviest known seed.
As a result of there suggestive shape, they have become the source of legends and folklore.
The tree will shed seeds that are not fertile,
in that manner focussing on those that will survive.

And this is the male, complete with the Geko
that is instrumental in the fertilization process.
In 1881, General Charles Gordon believed that this forest was the original
"Garden of Eden" and that the Coco de Mer was the forbidden fruit that was eaten by Eve.

The nut of the coco de mer is very large (the largest seed in the plant kingdom) and is oddly shaped, being the shape and size of a woman's disembodied buttocks on one side, and a woman's belly and thighs on the other side. Not surprisingly, this nut was viewed by people in other parts of the world as a rare and fascinating object with mythological and even magical properties. 
 When a coco de mer fruit falls into the sea, it cannot float because of its great weight and density; instead it sinks to the bottom. However, after the fruit has been on the sea bed for a considerable period of time, the husk drops off, the internal parts of the nut decay, and the gases that form inside the nut cause the bare nut to rise up to the surface. At that time the nut can float, but is no longer fertile, thus when the ocean currents cause the nut to wash up on a distant beach, for example in the Maldives, a tree cannot, and does not, grow from the nut. The name coco de mer is French, and means "coconut of the sea".
Information supplied by Wikipedia

Although visitors can walk through the forest on their own,
the paths are clearly signposted, I suggest that using a guide is imperative.

If it was not for Josepha's keen eye,
I would never have seen this tiny Tree Frog...

Or this Seychelles Black Parrot...
I watched as other people strolled the paths,
unaware of the wildlife that was "hidden" in plain sight.

From the forest to the beach...
Another spectacular stretch of water, rock and sand.

Some of the "wildlife" on the beach.
This Sand Crab stood its ground while I snapped away.

The only way to get from Praslin to La Digue,
 A ferry from the Baie Anne Jetty.

And waiting for me on La Digue,
a representative of the Seychelles Tourism Board.

"What to do...What to do"?
Just another day in paradise for on of the locals on La Digue.

Both the locals and tourists alike use bicycles to get around the island.

And when you get tired of riding,
you can always stop and admire the view.

Somewhat reminiscent of the plantation houses in the Southern States of the USA.
It seems that the vast majority of these near the La Digue harbour are now hotels/guest houses

International cruise ships are now including Seychelles on their itineraries.
Many of the passengers from this particular liner were on the island while I was visiting 

I SO wanted to put in an offer to buy this property!

Fluffing up some breast feathers.
This is a Red Fody

While down on the quay,
this Oriental Plover was stalking around searching for scraps.

For a tourist, this haven might be seen as "heaven",
I am not so certain how the locals feel about having to eke out a living
 outside of the tourist season.
Both La Digue and Paraslin rely heavily on tourism to keep their economies flourishing

"HELLO"?
This fellow, like me, was awaiting the return of the ferry to get us back to Praslin.
The ferries run on a regular basis, so the wait was not excessively long.

My awesome driver/ guide during my time on Praslin.
If you are going to be visiting this island, I highly recommend Michael.
A most interesting travelling companion, with tales to tell
and information to share.
He was on time and even though I overslept...
 he got me to the airport timeously!



Find out more about what the Seychelles has to offer tourists:
This carrier now flys directly from Durban to Victoria.
Watch what the CEO, Roy Kinnear had to say:

Listen to the Podcast of my Seychelles Special radio show via this link:


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