Seychelles: New Year’s Marlin
It was here, in the area of Aldabra Atoll, that Jacques-Yves Cousteau directed his film The World of Silence, which brought him worldwide fame. It was here, near the island of Denis, where the depth reaches 1800 meters, many world fishing records were set. Most likely there are no more blessed waters on earth. Throughout December, we went out with the fishermen until dawn to catch small fish, and with the first rays of the sun, when the thick gentle waves seemed to be pulled by copper-gold foil and sweetly intoxicating the smell of waking seaweed, begin the hunt for a blue, striped or black swordfish – marlin. And there were no happier days in my life, although it was not possible to set a record and the biggest marlin I caught on the 31st did not reach 80 kilograms (their weight can exceed 400!). When he first jerked, the feeling was that you had your hands tied to a tram standing at a traffic light, and that one suddenly went and began to turn, tripping over the joints of the rails, then stopped – and rushed off, not noticing you at all.
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The struggle went on for more than two hours, the fishermen continually offered help, but I refused, they laughed, pulling out tuna with teeth almost every minute, like an Asian wolfhound, dorada, small barracudas. My spinning line suddenly sagged, lay on the water, and I decided that the marlin had broken, but he suddenly came to life under the bottom of our boat and almost vertically, with a “corkscrew” went to the depths like a “razor fish” that I caught the day before , and only plunging 40 meters, the marlin froze again, as if expecting the next move from me in our game-scramble. Meanwhile, a caught “butterfly fish” with a long orange nose flopped to my feet on the deck, then immediately a “Picasso fish” and the so-called “angel of the imperial sea” with yellow, blue, black and green stripes; in general, it seemed that you were not standing on the deck, but in the painter’s workshop, who squeezed all the colors from the tubes onto the floor and launched into the workshop a crowd of tipsy friends. The sun rose and the water became emerald. Other boats, yachts and a catamaran appeared.
Once a friend and I asked a price – and gasped! The Marine Charter company in the port of Victoria offered to rent a 21-meter May Way yacht for 7,000 Seychelles rupees (4.7 Seychelles rupees equal to 1 US dollar) per day to go to the nearest islands. And on the island of Aldabra, where Cousteau made his film in 1954, at least 10,000 rupees per day. A cruise takes at least two weeks. Arithmetic is simple. But recently, one of our youngest and most famous bankers allowed himself such a “honeymoon”, and even with an attached helicopter (an hour – 4000 Seychelles rupees), which urgently carried out any orders. But the 15-meter Payanotis catamaran, designed for 8 people (6,800 rupees per day) were chosen by Moscow bandits, often having fun with the “beauty queens” on it.
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We asked if it is possible to go to the Seychelles on your ship? Can. “Seychelles is one of the few countries where animal rabies does not exist, therefore, numerous measures are being taken to prevent infection,” reads Article 10 of the Rules, which establishes the procedure according to which the port of Victoria is the only official arrival point Seychelles and departure from them. “Port control” – sanitary, customs, immigration – takes at least a week and is expensive. In principle, this point can also be the island of the Assumption located near Aldabra – subject to payment of the fee: “In this case, representatives of administrative bodies arrive from Mahe Island by plane. The cost of a flight in the amount of 30,000 Seychelles rupees is paid by the ship. ” And the “excessive daily tax on sailing on one’s own sailboat” makes this pleasure not just for the rich, but for the very rich.
But we were distracted. A Mademoiselle shark appeared; Seychelles has many species of sharks – blue, white, nosed, tiger, hammerhead shark, whale, up to 20 meters long – but Mademoiselle shark is the most elegant and unpredictable. I thought that the story of Hemingway’s “Old Man and the Sea” would repeat, but “Mademoiselle” from a distance of thirty meters, looking at us from under green water, playfully curved, wagged her tail and disappeared. And my marlin was already exhausted and hardly resisted. True, I dragged him for another twenty minutes, and during this time the sky was overcast, and I almost pricked myself on the pterois radiata anal spike – they warned me that the poison of this fish is more dangerous than the poison of a cobra, it comes across, thank God, very rarely.