Around Seychelles in 18 Bays – A memorable and successful event |12 June 2023
Hats off to organisers
The much awaited ‘Around Seychelles in 18 Bays’ which took place on Saturday will surely go down in history as a memorable event for all those who participated wholeheartedly in it.
And hats off to the organisers who made sure everything was spot on!
This historic event brought together an all-female crew comprising influential women in sports, arts, conservation and politics, who sailed around Mahé, Praslin and La Digue onboard the Oplezir catamaran, covering 18 bays in the course of a whole day.
The event was to commemorate the World Oceans Day and at the same time raise funds for the Liam’s Rainbow Foundation, while creating awareness on marine-related issues.
Early Saturday morning, all participants were right on time - 5am – at the Fish Tail restaurant for registration. Immediately after there was a wonderful praise and worship session animated by Erica Rangasamy, Pastor Maria Liza Payet and Reverend Christine Benoit. Gospel chants were accompanied by Isis, Alisha, Belinda and Sheila.
One of the main figures behind this big event, Isabelle Ravinia, noted that the main reasons behind it was to educate the public on the importance of our seas and also to inspire girls to join the maritime sector.
“All the women here today will sail the sea together with the same aim – appreciate and celebrate the ocean. This is for sure an event to be remembered for life,” Ms Ravinia said.
She thanked Liam’s Rainbow Foundation for its support and other sponsors.
“One of our tasks is also to make people contribute to Liam’s Rainbow Foundation who will soon make a space for children who are sick,” she added.
The group of women, including First Lady Linda Ramkalawan and Stella Afif, the wife of Vice-President Ahmed Afif, were accompanied by representatives of four media houses who were broadcasting the event live on the different platforms. And to ensure our safety, a Coast Guard boat ‘La Vigilante’ was escorting Oplezir for this trip.
Around 6am we all boarded Oplezir under the direction of Captain Marie-Jeanne Pathon. By 6.15am the catamaran left the jetty and headed towards the north of Mahé. First bay we passed by was Carana Beach at Glacis followed by l’Ilot, Sunset beach and then Beau Vallon beach. The ambiance on the boat was electric where all women, after settling down, felt comfortable walking around, mingling with the participants, singing and dancing. We should not forget the number of photos being taken and shared on social media!
The first stop was at Labriz Gastro Lounge at Bel Ombre where some participants disembarked and food was collected for the participants on the boat.
Oplezir then set sail to Anse Major at Bel Ombre. While on our way to Praslin, our three local singers – Antoinette Dodin, Telcy and Tania – entertained the group. The team also had a DJ onboard – ‘Spinella’ – who really made us all have a good time with her amazing mix and choice of songs.
The participants were able to discover Anse Georgete, Anse Lazio around Praslin then Anse Jose and Baie La Raie at Curieuse.
Back around Praslin, we were able to discover La Reserve, Anse La Blague and Anse Lafarin.
Around 13:30, the sailors were received with great enthusiasm by the Praslinois on their new jetty Ero. We were welcomed by the group Latanier with some traditional songs and performances by the children and youth of Praslin schools.
Around 14:30 we left Praslin to sail towards La Digue where we discovered Anse Marron, Grand Anse and Anse Source d’Argent. Hearing about the trip, Cataleya Durup made a sweet donation of R2000 towards the foundation where she was waiting for the boat on the La Digue Jetty.
The trip ended with the discovery of Anse Manon and Anse Cimetière on Ste Anne Island where our first settlers landed.
The arrival at the Inter Island Quay was spectacular where all ladies were on the deck singing and dancing. They were thanked by a small welcoming crowd.
All in all, the trip was worth it and we all had an amazing time discovering the beauty of our ocean. On the way we were enthralled by the antics of some dolphins and were greeted by all boats we met on our way.
The Oplezir belongs to the Creole Travel Services group and it was beautifully handled by Captain Marie Jeanne Pathon and her most endearing crew members Annia Marengo, Daniella Bamboche and Maryse Marie.
They all spoke positively about the role of women in Seychelles community and how women should engage more in the maritime sector. It is the first time that they all carried a boat with mainly women with an all-female crew.
“We are happy for the opportunity to participate in such an event. We encourage women to join us and urge them not to be scared. We also want to educate the population on the ocean and urge each one of us to be responsible.”
Erica Rangasamy, founding member of Liam’s Rainbow Foundation, shared that this boat trip is exceptional for her as the last wish of her late son Liam was to go on a boat. “We could not fulfill his wish as he was too weak to do it and a wish I could not accomplish. Seeing all these women on the trip today, it confirms that women in Seychelles have the courage to accomplish great things in life. The other special thing that happened today was that a rainbow appeared and it is a sign of hope. Personally, it was a confirmation that we are on the right track.”
First Lady Ramkalawan said that she was happy to be part of the group as “today we are celebrating Seychellois women and helping in diffusing positive messages for the environment. It was nice for me to do a small leg of the trip with them. I also thank the group of women behind Around Seychelles in 18 Bays for choosing Liam’s Rainbow Foundation as we have a big project to construct a playhouse adjoining the hospital which will cater for children who are in serious medical conditions. The Playhouse will cater for the children and the parents in providing emotional support to them. This is a service that is missing in Seychelles and it is a noble cause to which I will encourage people to keep donating.”
First Lady Ramkalawan added that wherever there are women, there is hope, joy and happiness.
Farida Camille, a member of the organising team from Praslin, shared that they mobilised children from Praslin schools to raise funds towards Liam’s Rainbow Foundation. “Together with other associations we were able to raise R20,000. Children need lots of support and we never know when a child will need such a support. Children care for others that’s why we went to them.”
On the boat, Christine Chetty, an artist, was also there to capture this memorable event on canvas.
The accompanying photos show some highlights of the event.
Photos by Romano Laurence (on Praslin) and Vidya Gappy (elsewhere)