Suzie's Journal

Suzie´s dispatch of events on the island of Mahe in the Seychelles from October 1998

CLIMBING TROIS FRERES
(The Three Brothers)

Well, here we are on another long passage, this time to South Africa. The last few months have been very exciting and we’ve been to some amazing places.

Once we arrived in the Seychelles, we were all so happy to actually be somewhere civilized (well, sort of civilized) that we rarely spent much time on the boat! The Seychelles are beautiful and we ended up spending about 3 weeks there.  After having been on the boat for so long prior to our arrival, I was very eager to stretch my legs and do some nice long walks around the islands. So, off we all went to the local tourism office where they gave us a list of the best walks and graded them on a level of difficulty.  Being the intrepid adventurers that we are, we chose the 2nd most difficult hike on the island!

seyhike1

So we take a taxi early in the morning to the starting point with water bottles and banana cake in tow. Off we go admiring the scenery, breathing in the fresh mountain air, birds chirping and all that. We were about an hour into it when we were finding it very difficult to locate the little yellow arrows that were supposed to be our guide to make sure we were on the right track. Not letting a little thing like that deter us, we persevered up some very muddy, steep, overgrown tracks. I found the best way to proceed was in four wheel drive. So here I am on all fours making my way up this mountain.

Once we finally got through the clouds and made it to the huge boulders that were at the top, we were still looking for the large cement cross that our guide book assured us was up there. Alex went up ahead in search of the cross without a hint of his fear of heights, jumping across boulders, oblivious to the sheer drop-offs on either side of him. Bill had the difficult task of trying to get me to move off the boulder that I was clinging to for dear life! After several pep-talks from him on why “I can’t give up now,” and how “I’ve come so far.”  He’s just not buying my pathetic attempt at an excuse that I’m completely happy to almost make it.   Guilt, a little determination, and a lot of help got me moving again.

Finally Alex spotted the cross.  Then Bill, after securing me to a boulder, set off to check it out. All I can hear is “Oh Wow, this is amazing!” “Suz, Suz you have to see this!” So I took a few deep breaths and reached deep into my reserve tank of determination and with the help of both Bill and Alex, I am very proud to say “I got to the cross!” So, there we were sitting at the top of this 700 meter mountain that we had just conquered. Feeling very good about ourselves while enjoying our picnic lunch of vegemite sandwiches and banana cake and after taking a few photos to prove to everyone that we did actually make it to the top, we prepared for our descent down the mountain.

seycrosssk

The trip back was definitely a lot easier. This time I was in 3-wheel drive using my bottom as my brake. After about 90 minutes, we see four people heading up the track carrying paintbrushes and one guy with a bucket of yellow paint.  After chatting to them for a few minutes we find out that they are environmentalists who look after the Parks throughout the Seychelles.  They have been fighting an ongoing battle with the Seychelles Tourism Board who have been encouraging tourists to go all the way to the top of the mountain... where we were! They were on the mountain that day repainting the yellow arrows we couldn’t find.  They were only going to paint halfway up the mountain and were purposely allowing the rest of the tracks to overgrow so people wouldn’t go any further.

seyaldohikeThe parks people also told us of a group of escaped prisoners that were hiding out on this particular mountain and had already shot a few military men that had gone looking for them. Well, it didn’t take us long to get back to the comfort of our little nest, Out of Bounds, and stick to much safer experiences, like battling the high seas of the Indian Ocean once again!

Until next time, I’ll bid you farewell with some parting words of wisdom:

“The use of travelling is to regulate imagination by reality and, instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.”   
Samuel Johnson (1692-1772), American philosopher.

-Suz

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