Journey to the forgotten island of Aldabra, known as the 'Galapagos of Africa'. Beginning in Mahe, cruise southeast, island-hopping along this fascinating archipelago. Rich in wildlife in the skies, on land and beneath the waves, this idyllic ocean environment is packed with opportunities. Dive, snorkel and explore on land, using the MV Maya's Dugong as a floating base.
- Journey to the paradisiac coral atoll of Aldabra, home to giant tortoises and wonderful birdlife
- Dive or snorkel off some of the greatest underwater sites of the Indian Ocean
- Set foot on captivating desert islands, home to phenomenal seabird populations
- Share the experience with just a handful of others aboard the MV Maya's Dugong
Renowned for its birdlife and thriving population of giant tortoises, this isolated island paradise is the second largest coral atoll in the word. The focal point of the trip, the island is renowned for its wonderful birdlife and large population of giant tortoises. Stay here for three days, exploring below the waves and stepping ashore in search of wildlife. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and protected area, this fragile ecosystem is accessible only to a few.
On the way too and from Aldabra - the most southwesterly point of the trip - the MV Maya's Dugong will stop off at a number of the small islands that make up the Seychelles Archipelago. These include Silhouette, Desroches, Alphonse, Cosmoledo, Astove and Assumption. Although this ocean voyage covers a vast distance, venturing to the fringes of this desert-island nation, only two days are spent crossing empty seas. By island-hopping from one fascinating atoll to another, have the chance to explore remote, sand-fringed islands – lost amidst the expanse of the Indian Ocean.
Beauty exists both above and below the ocean surface, in this mesmerising part of the world. Dive beneath the waves and explore the reefs, sandbanks and channels and lagoons that decorate the edges of these island paradises. The dive schedule will be flexible and relaxed, with time split between diving and other activities. But each island offers its own possibilities – combined they present some of the best diving in the Indian Ocean.
Rich underwater landscapes litter the world beneath the waves, whilst a myriad of colourful marine species flit through the warm waters. The reefs of Cosmoledo are spectacular in their unspoilt vastness, Aldabra’s main channel offers fantastic drift diving possibilities, shoals of butterfly fish shimmer beyond the coralline sands of Assumption, hammerhead sharks and sea turtles cruise past the pristine coral walls below Astove and menacing barracuda stalk the Gorgonian fan corals of Alphonse.
Those wishing to dive will be required to have a PADI Open Water Diver qualification, or equivalent certification, prior to the trip. This course can be completed at numerous locations in the UK and requires no diving experience. On the other hand, snorkelling is available to all.
For those who do not wish to dive, snorkelling excursions will be available. The trip’s flexible nature means that the group can easily be split, allowing some to dive whilst others snorkel. And with the abundance of natural beauty beneath the waves, there is much to be seen close to the surface. Snorkelling sites will often differ from the diving locations, showcasing marine life and coral formations at a more accessible depth.
As well as diving and snorkelling in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, step ashore and explore a number of the islands that litter this scattered archipelago:
- Land on Silhouette and wander amongst the endangered plant and animal species, including the Seychelles sheat-tailed bat.
- Experience deserted solitude on the uninhabited atoll of Cosmoledo, rivalling Aldabra for birdlife. Visit the last breeding site for brown boobies and spot rare Madagascar white-eyes.
- Discover the eerie sailors’ graves and bleached turtle bones that scatter the shores of Astove, before watching Caspian terns dive in a shallow lagoon.
- Visit the giant tortoises of Aldabra and marvel at the endemic birdlife, including the rare Aldabra rail. Stop at the Aldabra Research Station, explore the mangrove forests and experience the second largest colony of frigatebirds in the world.
The MV Maya's Dugong is a 40-metre expeditionary vessel unlike any other in Seychelles, with exceptionally high fuel capacity offering the opportunity for long-distance cruises. Both efficient and economical, it boasts large deck space and modern equipment to handle a wide range of tasks on the open sea.
Originally built as a research vessel by the Canadian government, the Maya's Dugong was completely retro-fitted in the early 2000s as a private yacht, before being overhauled once again in 2009 to accommodate charters and cabin cruise voyages.
It now serves as an oceanographic and expedition cruising vessel throughout the Indian Ocean, an ideal platform for discovering the islands' most exciting and hard-to-reach places. With just seven spacious air-conditioned guest cabins, each with an en-suite bathroom, the ship is small and exclusive.
WHY WE LIKE IT
This trip offers extraordinary adventure cruising in an area of the world unknown to many. Combining subaquatic exploration with fantastic on-land experiences, it uncovers the many forms of beauty that decorate the Seychelles’ most remote atolls. Dive amongst pristine corals, walk beside giant tortoises and hear the cries of swirling frigatebirds – all whilst cruising through a tropical paradise in comfort.
For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.