By captain’s recommendation: The Seychelles
For superyacht captain Cameron Moore, this tropical archipelago is the best destination in the world for families.
British-born superyacht captain Cameron Moore has been visiting the Seychelles for the past 16 years. There are few places in the world that, in his opinion, compare to this archipelago of 115 islands in the balmy Indian Ocean. Its vibrant coral reefs, rainforest coated mountains, deserted white sandy beaches and shallow warm waters provide a heaven on earth for marine life and superyacht guests alike. “It’s called Eden for a reason,” says Moore, who has been homeported in the Seychelles for the winter season aboard Sea Rhapsody three times in the past four years.
The 65-metre yacht, with its gargantuan toy chest and impeccable crew, is a popular choice for charter guests, particularly those with young families. Once on board, a passionate crew, comprising surf instructors, dive instructors, fishing experts and sailing instructors, eagerly await. While three rosette head chef Michael Carbert busily prepares his signature Chilean sea bass dish, the deck crew set about entertaining guests with some of the best water toys around. A six-metre beach landing tender provides access right on the reefs for snorkelling or spearfishing, or guests can take their pick from wave runners, paddleboards, Seabobs, wakeboards, kayaks, an inflatable water slide, water skis, surf boards, and even an impressive beach set up.
“A few years ago, I designed an inflatable T-dock, which sits at the end of the boat,” says Moore. “We have a pool that goes off the back of that, and we can comfortably park the jet skis on it, too. It’s kind of extended the boat a little bit, and it’s even got a little paddling pool for the babies. We’re really well set up for family charters and watersports, and the Seychelles is the place to do it.”
Aside from the obvious perks, the Seychelles has an appealing convenience factor of its own. Private jets fly non-stop from Europe, it shares the same time zone as the Middle East, is just one hour ahead of Russia, and the airport is only five minutes from the marina. “Guests can either join the yacht at Eden Island Marina or it’s a quick tender ride out to the boat,” says Moore. “We anchor right underneath the runway, too, so guests can see us on their approach from the air.”
Captain Moore knows the islands like the back of his hand, but his favourite spot is Anse Lazio in the northwest of Praslin Island. It’s widely considered to be the most beautiful beach in the Seychelles, if not the world. Bookended by granite boulders, its silver sands are fringed with palms and native takamaka trees set against a backdrop of sweeping rainforest. To the south of Praslin island lies Anse la Blague beach, surrounded by warm waters too shallow for the yacht, but easily reached by one of its three tenders. It’s here where guests have been known to catch sailfish and frequently spot dolphins, stingrays, spotted eagle rays and whale sharks.
“At any of the anchorages around Praslin Island you can fish, snorkel and it’s all very private. And if you don’t see a whale shark, then at nearby Curieuse Island’s marine park you can visit the world’s oldest giant Aldabra tortoise,” he says.
The waters around the red earthy hillsides of Curieuse, topped with coco de mer palms, are a biodiversity hotspot, alive with unique fauna, flora and large humphead parrotfish. It’s also a safe haven for the endangered hawksbill turtle and the rare Seychelles black parrot. It’s only natural to expect that an area where such beauty has been discovered will attract endless yacht traffic, but the captains have that issue covered, too. “We have an unwritten rule between the other boats that we don’t share a bay. It’s very old school, and reminiscent of what the Caribbean used to be like 20 years ago.”
This informal agreement means otherworldly beaches, such as Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue, can be enjoyed in all their unspoiled beauty. “It’s like visiting nature’s theme park,” says Moore, who also notes an anchorage just off Félicité Island for some of the best scuba diving around and a visit to Baie Ternay Marine National Park, northwest of Mahé, which is only accessible by boat. “The coral reefs are vibrant. There’s a lot of sandy bottoms, but you do see a huge variety of marine life and all the colours that you could possibly imagine.”
In terms of highlights, fishing with guests and bringing in a 600-pound marlin is high up on Moore’s list. All the crew are adept at rod fishing for grouper and red snapper with the kids, allowing the adults to enjoy a leisurely dinner – “you hear the screams of excitement when they bring up the fish”. But for one particular charter family, an eventful episode night time fishing will forever remain their cherished Seychelles highlight.
“We had one guest, a young boy, bring up a guitar shark while night-time fishing,” remembers Moore. “It was catch and release, but he was just over the moon about it, and his parents were ecstatic, too.”