La Digue, Seychelles: An Experience to Remember

Beach of Anse Source d’Argent, La Digue Island, Seychelles

Some of you who travelled to Seychelles have indeed had the chance to watch on board of aircraft a small video showing us the Seychelles beauty, thanks to its most beautiful beaches, its green environment and life under the sea. But that video, if you remember well, is also a message for tourists to contribute to the preservation of environment in the island because of its fragile ecosystem. La Digue is an example perfectly showing how Seychelles love their country and really care about it. What is especially particular with the inhabitants of La Digue is their simple but clean way of living there.

The new boat in which we embarked from Praslin to La Digue

The tour guide wasn’t sure about it, but maybe the crosses on the rocks near La Digue Harbour

Is a homage to all the people who perished in shipwrecks near La Digue Island

Effectively, before we arrived on the island, we did a few researches about La Digue on Internet. We were astonished that the island only had 2000 inhabitants and that their lifestyle was more traditional than the lifestyle held on the Mahe Island. We also noticed that the main locomotion mode there was bicycles, and that the island had very few vehicles, apart some taxis, touristic cars and jeeps used as family vehicles. Otherwise most people bicycle or walk in general.

View of Sheikh Khalifa from Abu Dhabi’s palace on the Hill

PUC Eoliennes in Victoria, Mahe

A few beautiful sea views on our trip from Mahe Island to Praslin Island

When we arrived on the island, one of the strong points we noticed was the absence of pollution. The roads were clean, and even the few vehicles there didn’t produce any toxic smoke. We didn’t even notice some filling stations where we were bicycling. Also, less noise, less pollution… And more calm spirits within people!

On our way to the beach of Anse Source d’Argent. There were some wild tortoises living on those rocks freely.

We very often talk about the men’s effects on ecosystem, but we tend to forget to ask ourselves: what about the effects of the ecosystem over human nature? We obtained the reply through some inhabitants we questioned, among them a fruit seller, a teenage girl, the boss of the Ports Authority Office who welcomed us at our arrival and did the necessary to make us having a double bicycle (because I don’t know how to bicycle!!!!): All of them were calm, all of them were very nice, always smiling and relaxed. Here is what we have seen through the inhabitants of La Digue.

Let’s start with the guy who welcomed us at the Ports Authority Office, and who prepared for us some tuna sandwiches at our request when we arrived, because we were hungry. Though he was on duty, he found some time to have a good talk with us and behaved like a real gentleman with us. He was making sure, with a lot of patience, that we can have a double bicycle which would allow us visiting the island freely, and his patience brought its fruits.

A local habitation on La Digue Island

A bit further on our road, there was that sweet teenage girl named Emilie, who was snapped together with me, further to approval from her mother when I asked for her permission to snap her house and to make photos with her daughter. Their house was a traditional type of Creole habitation, far from the modern houses built with bricks. We have been snapshot by a nice Gujarati expatriate settled on the island for business purposes and who was as nice as Emilie. This proves again how a safe and sound environment is good for the human being, including the foreign population.

A stop for a fresh homemade juice at a fruit seller’s place

There was the fruit seller, who produced some fresh local fruit juice with fresh fruits that he mixed, while we were having a break before continuing our ride to the beach of Grande Anse. The reply given by Emilie and the fruit seller was the same, when we asked them whether they preferred Mahe or La Digue. Of course, it was La Digue, thanks to its calm and the security there, which differs from the rush of Mahe and the insecurity there caused by drugs, which unfortunately remains a problem against which the Seychelles keep on fighting regularly.

A glimpse on how La Digue people love environment: local artisanal products, riding all around

the island by bicycle so very few automobiles, a glimpse of the road and the beautiful clean beaches,

And the final picture showing me from afar, climbing to a Virgin Mary Grotto encrusted within some volcanic rocks

We also met a lady whom we asked the road to Anse Source d’Argent, one of the most beautiful beaches of the world… But unfortunately, that lady was mute, and it left us surprised! But what touched us was that, despite her muteness, the lady was always smiling and living a normal life courageously. A proof that in La Digue, people love each other in a safe and sound climate and environment.

We also acknowledged a lady, before we left Mahe, who was living next to a natural park where a bird spec called Veuve was living. The bird was named so, because of its black feathers, reminding about the widows of the previous years in Seychelles who used to wear black. For her part, she gave us a brand new version about La Digue: She preferred Mahe, because of the expensive life on La Digue. But she doesn’t seem to realise that the products sold on La Digue are certainly more expensive than on Mahe, because they come by boat and as their price also includes the sea freight. While translating that article in English (as previously I wrote it in French), I remembered a Nepali expatriate who owned the restaurant where we ate our pizza. They were at all only 3 staffs, IE him and two pizzaiolo from respectively Seychelles and India or Nepal. There was no tension between them and they were like a real family and good friends, and what was amazing was that it was one of the best restaurants recommended on Trip Advisor! The pizzeria was located in Gregoire’s at la Digue, and obtained a Certificate of Excellence on Trip Advisor, as per the link I retraced about it:http://TripAdvisor/Restaurant_Review-g477968-d22643…

When we however asked the Nepali boss about La Digue, he also replied that it was too quiet and that it lacked activities contrary to Mahe. A proof that La Digue doesn’t suit to busy people who love being in activity and this is what my husband confirmed while I asked him about living on La Digue. He also maintained that it wasn’t the best place for raising a child, again due to lack of activities, but it was the best way to relax or for living in after retirement.

Humans and Mother Nature: An important and vital connectivity

Some of my Mauritian compatriots shared their views with us after they assisted to a seminary about Eco tourism, which was held in University of Mauritius: “There was a talk and presentation by Mr. Vikash Tatayah, conservation director at MWF. He explained to us that Eco tourism is becoming more and more important in the world and that it’s in the government’s plan. Mauritius is very resourceful. He took one interesting example: He said if you see a pod of dolphins by chance, it’s a good thing. But if you take your boat, diving instruments, many people, this is not Eco tourism. The dolphins get scared and this disturbs their communication. And the reviews about Mauritius is great, be it a 3 4 or 5 star hotel, we offer great service. And people love Mauritius because of its homely environment. Children should be taught about the importance of nature and animals. He noted that children who visit zoos tend to become more curious about animals. And ask more questions. Later on, these children become wildlife conservationists. There are programs to protect the endemic plants and animals such as the kestrel“. There is a part of truth in what Mr. Tatayah said, and the pictures of La Digue perfectly illustrate it, with the population preferring bicycle or walking rather than vehicles. And what is interesting is that the tourists, for most of them, bring a strong contribution, preferring bicycling and footing rather than the comfortable vehicles at disposal of tourists, but which are very expensive!

A compatriot of mine was very often seen pictured with his home pets (rabbits, puppies, kittens, aqua tortoise), and even with some Savannah animals (giraffe, rhinoceros, elephants) and camels during some of his trips to Africa, whereas I have a picture of my young son befriending a small chick belonging to his uncle. Those two pictures show that there is no age to love animals. The compatriot is now a young adult man, and his love for animals is a proof that even when we grow up adults, if since childhood we have been properly trained to love and respect animals, it won’t be difficult for us adults to love them more.

This is why I get angry inside myself each time I hear my surroundings telling me to be careful with my son’s hygiene when he wants to befriend animals… And this since the episode of the snails when he wanted to take care of a snail he retrieved in our house owner’s garden in Seychelles! The fact that my son fell in love with that white little chick is also a proof that, when it comes on animals, children are our best teachers, because through their innocence, children perfectly know how to communicate with animals and better understand them.

As I mentioned too in some comments about that debate, lots of people pay expensive fees to assist to the yearly festival of whales on the island of Ste Marie in Madagascar, using traditional ways of sailing to avoid making the whales running away. Mr. Tatayah was right to blame the use of motor boats, which are a source of danger and disturbance for the dolphins, and which don’t allow them communicating nor understanding between each other properly.

Regarding children who are more curious about knowing about animals, yes it’s true… But even adults are curious too. That compatriot of mine, for example, when he enjoys himself with the Savannah animals while he is on trip to Africa, simply because since childhood he has been correctly trained and encouraged by his elders for cultivating love for animals. Also it proves that there is no miraculous formula, apart comprehension and cooperation of adults towards children.

And imagine the pleasure of playing with dolphins or whales in such occasions? Enigma sang it very well in the 90’s, “Remember the Shaman who said that man was the dream of the dolphin”. Dolphins see in us their dearest dreams and want to become our friends. However in some countries, those same animals are tortured for business! Animals are killed before extraction of their skin and flesh for industrial and commercial reasons, and among them polar animals in North Pole, whales killed in Scandinavia, tortoises or dogs killed for being consumed as food in Asia… Nothing to do with the Savannah animals with which my compatriot was playing in Africa, or the local tortoises conserved on rocks retrieved on the road to Anse Source d’Argent at La Digue.

Another compatriot of mine commented those lines, I quote: “Well, we should in fact lay more emphasis on sustainability as it promotes positive environment ethics, it does not also degrade the resources and therefore benefit the wildlife and environment.” Further to what she said, however, Mr. Tatayah seems to have forgotten a detail: The attitude of the Mauritians and of humans in general over environment. In some regions of the island, we still notice the pitiful attitude of some inhabitants, who despite the increasing number of facilities proposed by the country on recycling, and the numerous campaigns organised in the country for preservation of environment and sanctions taken by government itself. Especially when we notice the drains full of wastes accumulating every day, and which produce dust, infections, bacteria and disease in the neighbourhood regions, and the inhabitants who always keep on giving all wrongs to the Government and to the Ministry of Environment, instead of trying, for each of them, to bring his or her personal contribution into improving the state of the region and organising some cleaning operations in the region. The attitude of the human being is also a source of important contribution into the preservation of a safe and sound environment in the country.

Here in Seychelles, there is the Vallee de Mai in the island of Praslin, known as a natural reserve where it’s agreeable to go for a healthy walk in total contact with Mother Nature, and which sponsors the Aldabra project launched by Minister James Mancham for preservation of the marine tortoise living on that small island from archipelago of Seychelles, which is on its way to disappear due to the increase of waters.

Railway of Konkan, Maharashtra

Green Maharashtra

Narendra Modi also launched a cleaning campaign in India after his nomination, and openly showed himself with a broom in his hand and cleaning the roads. South India followed his campaign successfully and is doing its very best to preserve its environmental cleanliness. But there is still a long way to go in India to have such a spirit about cleanliness… Especially in Mumbai and the pitiful state of the beaches, due to the indifference and passivity of the inhabitants, who unfortunately contributed into making of that beach a public dustbin! Such known towns like Mumbai unfortunately contrast totally with some regions very few known in Maharashtra, where green and cleanliness co-exist such as the beautiful region of Konkan, where one of my sisters of heart comes from, showing us a green, clean and safe environment. Here is an interesting link with lots of details about that beautiful region of Maharashtra to know more about it, and on which I will develop about that beautiful region as soon as possible after I reassemble all my sources all together: http://divcomkonkan.gov.in/asp.net/visitor/history.aspx.

Alison Teal

Finally, another deplorable aspect to take note about: The way people lie about the image of some touristic worldwide regions to attract tourists, whereas those regions present their medal reverse. I once mentioned about the Maldives which have an island where all the wastes coming from other islands of the archipelago are stocked and afterwards abandoned. Some foreign people launched in their way a sensitization campaign regarding that polluted island, at the example of that ex-reality show star Alison Teal like in the pictures shown in the article below: http://www.dirtbagdarling.com/girl-gone-wild-naked-and-afraids-alison-teal/

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Author: ekasringavatar

Always be yourself unless you can be a Unicorn. Then, always be a Unicorn.

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