La Digue

Splendours of the Seychelles: Caledonian Sky

Seychelle Islands

This expedition focuses on the remote Outer Seychelles, tiny untouched islands and atolls of the Amirante Islands, Farquhar, Aldabra and Alphonse Groups. These minute dots on an atlas are truly magical places. For many the greatest highlight will be Aldabra, the world’s largest coral atoll and the last breeding ground of the giant tortoise. We should also encounter dolphins, turtles and whales as well as countless birds including the flightless rail, the last flightless bird in the Indian Ocean

  • Untouched islands and atolls of the Indian Ocean
  • Luxurious, all-suite small ship
  • Snorkelling opportunities in pristine waters
  • Unique and rare birdlife
  • Giant tortoises and remarkable fauna
  • Aldabra, the world’s largest coral atoll
Totally untouched by the modern world, Aldabra was described by Jacques Cousteau as ‘the last unprofaned sanctuary on this planet’. It is one of the most difficult places on earth to access and a lack of fresh water has saved Aldabra from any tourism development. There is no landing strip and the only viable means of reaching this and other Outer Seychelles islands is with an expedition vessel such as the MS Caledonian Sky. With our fleet of Zodiac landing craft we will be able to access wonderful places denied to larger ships and accompanied by  onboard experts you can learn of the marvellous flora and fauna during nature walks along the island trails, experience the underwater world when swimming or snorkelling and discover the sparkling lagoons from the Zodiacs. 

Stewart's Take

It is difficult to imagine a more perfect way to escape than to enjoy the warmth and beauty of the Indian Ocean!

Overview

This expedition focuses on the remote Outer Seychelles, tiny untouched islands and atolls of the Amirante Islands, Farquhar, Aldabra and Alphonse Groups. These minute dots on an atlas are truly magical places. For many the greatest highlight will be Aldabra, the world’s largest coral atoll and the last breeding ground of the giant tortoise. We should also encounter dolphins, turtles and whales as well as countless birds including the flightless rail, the last flightless bird in the Indian Ocean.
Day 1 - Mahe, Seychelles Arrive independently and make your way to Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove (or similar) for an overnight stay. The remainder of the day is at leisure to acclimatise before meeting the group and leaders for dinner this evening. Day 2 - Mahe - embark Spend the morning at leisure enjoying the hotel facilities, relaxing or exploring independently before we check out of our hotel. After lunch we will make our way to Victoria, one of the world’s tiniest capitals where we visit the market and the Botanical Gardens, home of the giant land tortoises, fruit bats and endemic plants which include the world famous coco de mer palms. Transfer to the MS Caledonian Sky in the late afternoon and enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we sail the short distance to Praslin for our overnight anchorage. Day 3 - Praslin & Grande Soeur This morning we will land on Praslin to explore the ‘Vallee de Mai’, the last remnant of the original high canopied Seychelles palm forest and home to the coco de mer. We will walk its paths looking out for the rare black parrot and enjoying its natural beauty. Return to the MS Caledonian Sky for lunch as we sail the short distance to Grande Soeur, an idyllic uninhabited island. Spend the afternoon walking the island trails which link the island’s white sand beaches and maybe catch sight of some of the giant Aldabra tortoises or enjoy our first snorkelling opportunity in the turquoise waters. Day 4 - Amirante Islands Arrive over breakfast at the 28 islands in the Amirante Group of islands which were discovered by Vasco de Gama in 1501 and are considered to be some of the most pristine and untouched islands in the world. If conditions permit, we will spend the morning on Desroches, the largest of the islands, although still only measuring six kilometres by 1.5 kilometres. Enjoy nature walks with our naturalists and the island’s conservation team observing the flora and fauna and in particular the giant tortoises and nesting turtles. Whilst keen snorkellers will have the chance to swim over the outlying coral. Return to the ship for lunch and a relaxing afternoon at sea. Day 5 - Farquhar Islands This morning we will arrive at the Farquhar group of islands. We will use our Zodiacs to explore the sparkling lagoon of this remote atoll ringed island of coconut and casuarina trees. Hawksbill and green sea turtles come to the islands to nest and several of the Farquhar Group’s islands are Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas. We will spend the morning either snorkelling over the coral reef or exploring the island’s past wandering around the settlement which once housed a thriving copra and fishing industry. Return to the MS Caledonian Sky for lunch as we continue our journey through the Outer Seychelles islands. Days 6 & 7 - Aldabra Island Group We have two days at the Aldabra group of islands. Our itinerary will be in the hands of our Expedition Leader and Captain who will monitor the local conditions to ensure we maximise our time here. Whilst our itinerary is flexible, we will hope to reach Cosmoledo where a huge ring of twelve islands circle a lagoon. Many of the atolls are still to be surveyed and we will explore some of them by Zodiac. This is an important bird area with all three species of booby found in the Seychelles including the last breeding site for the brown booby. Also spot sooty terns and great frigate birds. Additionally we will spend time on Aldabra, the island referred to by Sir Julian Huxley as “One of nature’s treasures and should belong to the whole world”. Aldabra is unique and every time we call at what is believed to be the world’s largest atoll, we find something new of interest. Sightings have been made of the extremely rare white throated rail and the atoll is also home to the world’s second largest colony of frigate birds and to the largest crab, the coconut crab. Whilst exploring by Zodiac it is difficult to know in which direction to look. The clear blue seas abound with life, the skies are alive with varied birdlife and ashore giant land tortoises forage as they have done for millions of years. We hope to explore Picard Island with a short walk to see some of the thousands of tortoises and numerous robber crabs or swim in the lagoon, a vast 17 mile stretch of shallow clear water. From our Zodiacs we can watch the everchanging undersea world and snorkel in colourful coral waters. Day 8 - At Sea Enjoy a relaxing day at sea as we head back to the Inner Seychelles islands. Our lecture programme will continue or maybe find a spot on deck. Day 9 - Alphonse Islands There are three islands in the Alphonse group which is located directly south of the Amirantes. As we approach the islands in the early morning, you will understand why they are regarded by many to be the most beautiful of the 115 islands in the Seychelles archipelago. On the main island the circular lagoon offers good snorkelling and there are several tracks across the island to enjoy island walks. Spend the morning exploring before returning to the MS Caledonian Sky for lunch and an afternoon cruising. Day 10 - Aride & Curieuse We will use our Zodiacs to land on Aride, one of the finest and most important seabird islands in the Indian Ocean. Over one million seabirds breed on the island including tropical shearwater, lesser noddy, frigate birds and roseate tern in addition to five species unique to the Seychelles such as the Seychelles warbler and Seychelles magpie robin. The island is largely covered in native woodland including the endemic Wright’s gardenia, a shrub with beautifully scented flowers found nowhere else in the world. We will sail over lunch to Curieuse, a rugged island which was once home to a leper colony and now houses an eco-museum and visitor centre. The island is an important nesting site for hawksbill turtles and boasts endemic vine and mangroves which we explore on an island walk. This evening we will return to Mahe and moor overnight. Day 11 Mahe - disembark Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

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Expedition Vessel: M/S Caledonian Sky

Caledonian Sky

The 114-passenger, all-suite Caledonian Sky is one of the finest small ships in the world and benefits from unusually spacious accommodation, public areas and outside decks. You will find the atmosphere on board akin to a private yacht or country hotel with a little music in the lounge or bar after dinner, talks from our onboard team and informative port briefings from your Cruise Director or Expedition Leader. After a day of exploration ashore, you will return to the comfort and peace of a well-run and exceedingly comfortable ship. The Captain, officers and crew of 70 are dedicated to offering you the best possible experience during your time on board. This is the perfect blend of luxury and adventurous exploration. Is it a luxury ship? An adventure ship? It’s both!

For full information about this vessel click here:

Included
  • Overnight hotel accommodation in Mahe with breakfast
  • Dinner on Day 1
  • Nine nights aboard MS Caledonian Sky on a full board basis
  • House wine, beer & soft drinks with lunch & dinner on board
  • Shore excursions
  • Noble Caledonia expedition team
  • Gratuities
  • Transfers
  • Port taxes
Excluded Travel insurance, visas
Deposits Reservations require a non-refundable deposit of 10% at the time you receive a booking confirmation from Expeditions Online. A payment link will be sent to you and this may be paid by major credit card alternatively bank transfer. Bookings within 90 days of departure require full payment. Final Payments Balances are due 90 days prior to departure. Final payment can be made by bank transfer or by major credit card (however subject to a 2% surcharge). Cancellations All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. If it is necessary to cancel your arrangements, the following non-refundable charges will apply: - More than 90 days prior to departure: loss of deposit - Between 70 to 89 days prior to departure: 40% of tour cost per person - Between 50 to 69 days prior to departure: 60% of tour cost per person - Between 30 to 49 days prior to departure: 80% of tour cost per person - Between 15 to 29 days prior to departure: 90% of tour cost per person - 14 days or less prior to departure: No Refund We strongly recommend that you obtain adequate trip cancellation insurance! Booking Terms Please read carefully the General Booking Conditions for Expeditions Online. This voyage is operated by Noble Caledonia and you additionally travel under their terms and conditions as the operator as well as of the Shipping Company/transport carrier. Details will be forwarded to you at the time of booking.
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