Why is Kristian flying three nights on airplanes from Tahiti to Seychelles??
Read our Expedition Proposal and the backstory that inspired it.
My journey began in Fakarava atoll, where we run many of our trips (an overnight sail to the east of Tahiti). I’m proud of Sabrina for standing in as Capitana! She’ll be running Selaví, taking care of the kids, with help from our awesome French friends Marie & Gautier.
In March, we had a successful 10 day haul out in Apataki. Since I had a 2 week break in April, I seized the opportunity. Using 85K United Miles, I got a ticket from SFO to Seychelles roundtrip for $100 in taxes. This deal brought the Seychelles within reach — otherwise, it is usually waaaay too expensive to get to! Plus of course, the cost of flying Fakarava to Tahiti ($400 RT) and Tahiti to SF ($550 RT). So the five flights cost me just under $1,000, all told — plus the miles, which I accrued thanks to a credit card bonus.
Why Seychelles? There are two boats for sale there below-market value, the ideal for our around-the-world Expedition: the 60 foot Eleuthera. It is basically a really big version of our current boat, Selaví. Both are built by by the French boat builder Fountaine Pajot (around 2000-2010). I’m a big fan of these boats because they are excellent sailboats, able to point upwind, yet also have enormous amounts of comfort for guest. See photos below.
For comparison, these boats are lower performance than Outremers and Catanas, but they have much more interior space & comfort. Meanwhile, they are higher performance than Lagoons and Leopards, which are renown for huge interior space and a focus on comfort.
“You don’t know if you don’t go…” is the saying. So I grabbed the first flight in Fakarava on April 2… and only arrived in Seychelles on April 5.
I spent one night at my friend’s house, Leon and Soraya in Tahiti. They were excited about the name of one of the boat we’re looking at: Mata Fenua is a Tahitian for “Looking at the Earth”. Very strong name! they said.
The flight to SF was a piece of cake, daytime 8 hours and very enjoyable. The worst flight was probably the red eye 5 hours to Toronto which was crowded so I was stuck on the window. Luckily Leon & Soraya lent me a big pillow, which really helped a bunch for sleeping on the plane!
Every connection on my itinerary was perfect: 4 hours max, just long enough to make it mellow but not too long. The flight from Toronto to Ethiopia was the longest: 13 hours, overnight, but it was also the most enjoyable of all! I had my own row to stretch out, and I felt great upon arrival.
The final flight was from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s airport, to the Seychelles, about 5 hours. This archipelago is east of Tanzania, north of Madagascar, and comprises over 100 islands. The largest island is Mahé, where the capital of Victoria is located.
The taxis were absurdly expensive ($50 for 10 min?!) , so I just grabbed a bus ($1) and walked up the hill to an apartment I was renting above the marina. I could see the boats in the distance below me from my apartment door, with a Chinese restaurant nearby for dinner and grocery store for water and snacks.
I’d arrived! Now it was time for the boat inspections to begin.