As though the fish did not want us to leave Chagos, on the way to the Seychelles we had a marvelous catch aboard Satori. As Sander reeled in our strike Jane thought perhaps it was a plastic bag as it was such a bright neon green color. The photo shows the gorgeous Mahi Mahi tuna. What a shame that with its death the color quickly fades. We cannot explain what a rush it is to bring in such a fish. WWGSF had continued…for a while at least. See the photo.
The Seychelles is a country of atolls and granite based islands stretching north/south between 4 degrees and 10 degrees South and east/west between 46 degrees and 56 degrees East. Their nearest neighbor is Madagascar…about 600 miles southwest of the main island of Mahe. With all that open ocean, no wonder they are a big exporter of tinned tuna.
The original explorers of the islands were the Portuguese in the early 1500’s. Later the French laid claim to the islands and settled in various places in the 18th century. Subsequent to the Treaty of Paris in 1814, the country became a British dependency. The culture is definitely French in nature with Creole being the language of the people. The architecture and the gardens are French in nature but the government has the stamp of Britain written all over it.
Our back yard contains the mountains of Mahe that rise steeply behind Port Victoria. The faces of the mountains are granite cliffs rising vertically into the clouds. See the photo. The first afternoon here, the rains came pouring in from the mountains. As we sat in the cockpit enjoying the drop in temperature, we saw those cliffs give birth to tremendous waterfalls only to have them disappear shortly after the rains. See the photo.
We were looking forward to a short trip out to the northern islands and a few weeks stay before moving on to our next port of call. Enter the story of WWDGSF.
We noticed that the battery banks were beginning to charge unevenly. There are two banks of four (6 volt) batteries each. An uneven charging rate is usually the first sign that there are problems. Sure enough! Within 24 hours we knew that we had a big problem. Without much hope we set about seeing what was available in the Seychelles in the way of batteries. You could probably guess that there is nothing here in the way of deep cycle batteries. Our last purchase had been in New Zealand about four years ago.
We got some email messages out right away to the nearest distributors of Trojan batteries…in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, South Africa and Singapore. Then we were at their mercy waiting for responses. After a week of waiting we had several quotes from Dubai and Singapore. Singapore would accept our credit card and would arrange the shipping for us. There was not much debate about which way to go. The batteries would come by ship and could be on their way from Singapore shortly.
We had been running the engine several hours each day trying to keep the freezer iced up to maintain all the lovely meat and fish. The generator would be the first choice for charging. The second big problem…the generator kept overheating and shutting down. Sander found the problem there but (since problems usually come in threes) we were a bit concerned about what would happen next.
Finally, we had to find a home for the frozen stuff and buy some ice from the local fisheries to keep the drinks cold. The local yacht club agreed to keep the food in their freezer for the interim.
Now all we needed to do was to get the credit card info to Singapore and we would be all set. Enter the third big problem. The Singapore supplier let us know that the credit card charge would not go through. After five trips into town to prepare our cell phone for a LONG conversation (it’s always LONG) with our bank, we discovered that our one lifeline to our funds in the USA was no longer any good. During our two months of travel at sea, our credit card company had a breach of security with a very large retailer and decided to recall all the Visa debit cards. When we got upset over the phone about this turn of events, the lady kept saying, “But we sent you a letter and issued new cards to you!” For some reason she could not understand that her letter and those new cards sitting in our post office box did us no good whatsoever.
At these times in a cruising life it is impossible not to wonder what we are doing and why. It was a terribly low point for us. Although we try very hard to simplify our lives and to keep control over our situation, we are still very dependent on many people and companies.
We are happy to say that it all worked out in the end. Our daughter, Tracy, helped to pay for the batteries with her credit card and has sent our new credit cards to us by Fedex.
We are lucky that this whole problem did not happen in Chagos. We need the batteries for so many things on the boat. With 10 days of crossing to look at, we would have been up that proverbial creek for sure.
All those hopes for a leisurely enjoyment of the Seychelles have narrowed down to a couple of weeks of frustration and nerves at anchor near Port Victoria. While waiting for the batteries to arrive, we did travel out to the island of Praslin, about 25 miles from Mahe and had a lovely time in a beautiful setting for several days. We are including a couple of photos of the beach there. Seychelles would have to rank at the top of our lists for their gorgeous beaches!
With our visas for Madagascar stamped in our passports, we are hoping to leave at the end of the week and will send more from Mayotte and Madagascar later.
Don’t forget to use our on-board email if you want to write. That is *****. Please do not try to attach anything to your message, however, as these come to us over the airwaves and take time to download.
Jane and Sander