Where on Earth can you possibly snorkel with a sailfish?
Reef & Rainforest has pioneered some extra-special wildlife encounters over our 30 years of operation, from jaguar watching in the Pantanal, through puma tracking in Chile to whale snorkelling off the east coast of Sri Lanka.
Now we can offer another marine first: snorkelling with sailfish. You might imagine (quite reasonably) that to snorkel with a large, pelagic, fast-swimming sailfish would be all but impossible. Yet I have recently done just that.
Some friends and I were on the far-flung Seychelles island of Alphonse, famed for its flats fly fishing, snorkelling and scuba diving as well as for its well run, comfortable resort.
The resort has all the facilities needed for a fabulous island holiday, including four-bedroom villas and spacious suites with private pools, beachfront A-frame bungalows, a large swimming pool, beach bar, spa (where Lucy gives excellent massages), restaurant, main bar, fishing and diving operations, and various boats, kayaks and paddle boards.
Wandering the island are around 60 giant tortoises, and there are many species of birds to be seen including large numbers of frigatebirds and herons as well as fairy terns, perhaps the most beautiful of the Seychelles birds.
Having dived in the morning then enjoyed a unique al fresco lunch on a tidal sand bar, we cruised back to the island while trolling a hook-less lure. Soon a sailfish hove into view, attracted by the lure. The South African/Kenyan crew then cast some “stickers”, further hook-less lures in the shape of fish used to keep the sailfish staying behind the boat. We quickly entered the water with snorkels and saw through the clear water two sailfish about five metres below us. They raced along and after 15 seconds disappeared. But what a 15 seconds that was!
We later learnt that this was a new activity which had only been enjoyed by around 40 other guests on Alphonse. I think it deserves to be more widely appreciated as it is rare and previously unheard of and offers a truly unique marine experience while doing no harm to the marine environment nor the fish itself.
Call me on 01803 866965 for more information about sailfish snorkelling and other Alphonse activities, as well as the possibility to visit the even further-flung atolls of Astove and Cosmoledo, both of which have new, tiny lodges where fly fishing, diving and snorkelling are world class.