The sun has not yet risen in the Seychelles, during our catamaran flotilla, but the first light of day warms the colors of the sky on the horizon.
A sweet awakening, on a catamaran…
My eyes are slightly misty, I’m not sure what I’m looking at. For a moment I have the doubt that from my porthole I can no longer see that sea so blue that I admire every morning, but a sheet obstructing the view.
Judging by the number of bottle corpses surrounding me, I can easily give a high score to the quality of the party that took place here last night.
I step outside for some air. A nice hot coffee would be a dream, but I must admit that the lack of energy is greater than my desire. I gradually regain consciousness of where I am, and remember that I am on a catamaran moored in the bay of Anse Volbert. But this time we are not alone…attached to my boat there are 3 other catamarans! Everything starts to make sense again, that’s why this morning I couldn’t see the sea from my porthole. I was surrounded by the boats of my fellow travelers from the flotilla.
On deck I find sleeping bodies that are not part of my crew. They are sleeping soundly, but some of them have stayed all night on the damp mattresses that are used for sunbathing. Last night’s party was truly epic, 95% of my crewmates had a pretty good hangover I would say.
But let’s go back for a moment, to the beginning of this week, to see how I found myself in this scene worthy of A Hangover (The Hangover).
You take 4 boats instead of one, and it’s a whole different story believe me!
I arrive at the port of Mahé: I am late and without luggage, because as you may remember I missed one of my transit flights from my previous vacation in the Norwegian fjords, and now I am in the Indian Ocean.
It is not difficult to find the crew, at least: Sailsquare flags are flying everywhere.
The first I meet is Andrea , the skipper who organized the flotilla. He explains that this week I will be aboard his boat, the Muzical, which fortunately for me is the largest and most comfortable of the four!
Andrea, immediately arranges a meeting with the other skippers of the flotilla to remind them of the safety rules, define the itinerary with them and plan the route.
Little by little, the 40 fellow travelers of the flotilla to the Seychelles arrive at the port and each join their crew.
I immediately understand the spirit of the flotillas: to combine the pleasure of sharing and partying with that of safety and exploring places! Sharing a vacation together, meeting four times as many people, sailing together…It’s a chance to experience life with so many different people on a boat, and it promises to be unforgettable!
After our first night, spent in port, we set off and headed for the first leg of the trip: Curieuse Island. The 4-hour crossing is the longest we will make this week. The weather is gloomy, clouds are gathering on the horizon, the wind is rising and making a slight wave: on the plus side, we can try sailing! Our catamaran leads the way to the fleet, followed by the other 3 catamarans. It’s really nice to see how these small silhouettes with white reflections light up this somewhat gloomy landscape.
Safety: one of the real pluses of catamaran flotilla sailing
Each skipper maintains constant radio contact with the rest of the fleet: they use portable VHFs (walkie-talkies) to communicate with each other and to inform the rest of the fleet about the position of the boats they encounter along the way. The sense of security while sailing in a flotilla is invaluable; we are a team, and if someone needs help, the others are always there. Mutual support is the key to a well-organized flotilla.
As we approach Curieuse Island, Andrea gives directions to the other skippers of the flotilla in the Seychelles on how to moor for the night: the calm waters of the bay are populated with hidden coral reefs, so we have to anticipate any change in the wind direction, but also be ready for the Coast Guard to arrive at dawn to pay for the night spent at the buoy…all these little details are key to the perfect functioning of a flotilla.
It will be like this for the whole week: our catamaran, the Muzical opens the navigation and the arrival in the bay in the evening, Andrea has the official role of chief skipper of the flotilla and has to inform and organize meticulously the mooring of these four big catamarans.
Festive evenings dancing under the stars: the essence of a flotilla
The parties on a catamaran are really fantastic, impossible to forget that of the last night, to say goodbye to our flotilla vacation in Seychelles. How to make a catamaran party epic? You have to moor the catamarans close to each other (package) and that’s it; 4 catamarans, 40 new friends, music and…fiesta!
Mooring 4 large catamarans in a bay, is not a child’s play. It starts with the first catamaran that must be well anchored to allow the next one to dock, then you have to put the fenders between a boat and the other, calculate well the distances, tie correctly the boats to each other … in short, a delicate moment for our skippers.
But half an hour later, here we are: we are all anchored and close together in the bay! Just in time to admire the sunset. We start off light, just a handmade punch. Then, when the sun goes down, the festivities begin!
Each crew shuffles, meeting on the catamaran in the middle of the pack, the Muzical in fact. Of course, since we have the ice machine, a state-of-the-art stereo system and the widest catamaran in the fleet…it was only logical that the party would end up being here!
– “Cheers!” shout Yana and Jack as they hand me a shot of tequila.
– “Now it’s getting serious,” they sentence.
We cross our eyes and toast.
Tequila, Moscow Mule, Spritz, Rhum and so on! Everything is multiplied to the nth power, imagine to find yourself partying on a catamaran with 40 people … everything, from navigation to laughter, is disproportionate!
After this little story, you can now better understand the scene I woke up to the next morning.
We celebrated in the best way possible, and ended this week on a high note, the way we started: by flotilla on a catamaran.
Because when you multiply encounters, you also multiply friendships and experiences.
After all, if, as we said, it is the encounters you make that make travel more beautiful, then why limit yourself?