I didn’t realise at the time but I was about to experience the nearest thing, I can only?describe, to being in a James Bond movie.
Imagine waiting to be taken to your hotel on a small island less than a 10 minute boat crossing from the mainland – and not another person in sight!
David and I were driven by our chauffeur to a gap in the vegetation that hid from our view, a beautiful stretch of soft white sand gently sloping down to the crystal clear turquoise water of the Indian Ocean. Richard carried our rucksacks and equipment onto the narrow beach – then left.
After 5 minutes or so stood in the blazing hot sun wondering why there was nobody around anywhere, no signs of civilisation on a normally busy day of the week, when, in the distance, across the water, we heard the sound of a small engine. Relieved at the prospect of our onward journey, I stood excitedly watching the small boat approach us. The engine cut out as the boat was propelled as close to the sand as possible whilst the boatman jumped over the side into the sea. With a huge welcoming smile on his face, he came towards us and introduced himself. Our instructions were precise and detailed, describing the next leg of our journey – at which point I was still no wiser as to the real meaning of what was to follow. Our luggage was carefully loaded into the boat, completely covered by waterproof material and tied down whilst we climbed into waterproof trousers and jackets pondering why we should need to take such unusual precautions.
Having waded out up to our thighs in the cool water, we climbed into the little boat and sat astride a long rubber tube 2 feet in diameter. David snuggled on behind me whilst Francoise started the engine and turned the boat around. Holding tightly to the sides of the little boat, relaxed, then gently bounced across the waves heading towards the distant island. Again contemplating why I was wearing hot, sweaty, rubber waterproof trousers and top, our boat skimed across the ocean – the wind blowing in our faces, occasionally feeling the spray of the cooling sea. This was different – exciting but not scary.
As we approached the beach we could see several people waiting to greet us – I felt like royalty! Then the engine stopped and we floated around in a large circle – apparently waiting for the next suitable wave. Why? our boat was to land safely on the beach with all intact……… I will never forget that experience and relive it many times in my dreams.
Where wee we ?? arriving in style on Couisne Island just off the northern tip of Praslin Island