Porschist Magazine 63 - Seychellen

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PORSCHIST TRAVEL

The Enchantment of the Outer Seychelles Paradise. Who doesn’t long for it? Maybe not that eternal one, of course, but one that we can enjoy while still alive and healthy. In any case, it isn’t written anywhere that God would have destroyed paradise after the unfortunate occurrence of the original sin. Could it still exist somewhere, that Garden of Eden? There are those who claim that it is in East Africa. Staring at the globe, after a long search, we notice a few tiny pinpricks in the Indian Ocean, a handful of tiny islands. Outer Seychelles, we read. Who knows? We won’t find a Porsche there, that much is clear, but perhaps a place of bliss. For the Porsche we will travel on to Mahé - the main island of the Seychelles. There we have an appointment with Christophe Larue, owner of a 911.

text: kathleen van bremdt - photos: kathleen van bremdt & sven hoyaux

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Like summer blossoms, the 115 islands of the Seychelles are scattered across the Indian Ocean, some 1600 kilometres east of the African continent. The archipelago is an example of postcard-worthy beauty: azure water, endless golden beaches, swaying palm trees and unparalleled exotic fauna and flora. The Seychelles are divided into two large groups. The main group, the Inner Islands, is known to almost everyone. These include the main island of Mahé and the islands of Praslin, La Digue and Silhouette. They are the centre of tourist, economic and social life of the island state. About 90 percent of the population lives here. More than a mile away, southwest of Mahé, is a second group: the Outer Seychelles. Virtually unknown and extremely difficult to reach, but due to its isolated location a true treasure trove of nature. Blue Safari Seychelles - a young travel company - is committed to exclusive trips to these 'outer islands' and allows visitors to explore some of the most pristine atolls in the world.


COSMOLEDO: BAREFOOT WORLD We have never had the feeling of being so far from civilization as when we were on Cosmoledo. The journey there is long. At least four stages are required to reach the island: a long international flight from Brussels to Mahé, two domestic flights of over an hour each (via the islands of Alphonse and Astove) and finally a boat trip of another hour and a half. Not that those stages (the long-haul flight aside) are an ordeal. With our noses pressed flat against the window of the small two-propeller, we stare down. Below us lies an immense ocean of aquamarine and sapphire hues that sparkles as if studded with countless diamonds. Depending on the depth and the angle of light, the colour of the water changes like a chameleon. Every now and then a sandbar or deserted atoll pops up. They seem to be made of origami paper and haphazardly placed in the water. When we finally arrive at Cosmoledo, we have lost all sense of time and space. A warm welcoming committee awaits us with a refreshing drink. It tastes good after the long crossing. We look around curiously. Cosmoledo consists of some twenty islands and wide sandbanks that surround an immense, clear blue lagoon. We see extensive beaches, dunes and mangroves. This is nature at its best: pure, untouched and breathtakingly beautiful. The stress knot in our stomach - the result of the hectic life at home - dissolves automatically and we kick off our shoes. The contact with the warm, soft sand creates an instant feeling of happiness. In a gigantic safari tent equipped with wide sofas, robust tables and sculptures made of driftwood, the two hostesses Gaby and Natasha explain the ins and outs of the camp. The tent will serve as a meeting place, bar and restaurant for our next few days here.

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Cosmoledo Eco Camp


More than 20,000 red-footed boobies nest on Cosmoledo.

COMPLETELY ECOLOGICALLY SOUND Cosmoledo Eco Camp is a brand new project by Blue Safari Seychelles and only last year opened its doors, or rather, its container doors, because the accommodation on this island consists of 20-foot shipping containers. Minimal impact on the delicate environment was paramount in the design. The aluminium boxes do not require any anchoring and can be removed at any time without leaving any trace. Ideal. The containers are called 'Eco-Pods' and blend seamlessly into the decor. There are sixteen of them: eight for guests and eight for staff. Besides the large central tent, they are the only signs of human presence. It feels like camping in the great outdoors, but in luxurious style. Our living container does not lack any comfort: stylishly furnished, air conditioning and a wall-to-wall window that can be opened completely so that we do not miss a minute of the exceptional nature. Each guest container is arranged in such a way that you don't see any others. This gives us the feeling that we have the island all to ourselves. Barefoot luxury in a place that seems frozen in time. The other guests are just as enthusiastic as we are. In no time we get to know each other: David and Carol from Cape Town, Sue and Greg from Zambia, Charlie and Barbara from Philadelphia and Russian couple Nadia and Denis. Add to that two Belgians and you have an interesting international mixed bag. The atmosphere is relaxed and familiar. Most are avid divers or fishermen and eagerly await their first adventures.


A red-footed booby fast asleep.

BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOT

The Outer Seychelles are called the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean.

Numerous endemic animals call Cosmoledo home. This is why the Outer Seychelles are called the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean. Among other things, birds in all shapes and sizes can be found here. Every morning we are awakened by the twittering of the honey eaters. Large populations of sea and migratory birds live on Cosmoledo, including gannets, terns and frigate birds. Guide Agnus takes us to Menai Island, a beautiful mangrove island where more than 20,000 red-footed boobies nest. It is the largest nursery in the world of this species. The animals are beautiful with their snow white plumage, light blue beak, pink eye ring and brick red legs. The chicks, downy and white, peek cutely out from the nest. Our visit does not bother the birds at all. One of the animals is fast asleep. Its head hangs down lazily. When our camera clicks, the lazybones suddenly wakes up, loses his balance and tumbles straight from the tree. A hilarious moment. Frigate birds, with their impressive two-metre wingspan, soar majestically over the water. Under normal circumstances, gannets and frigates don't get along, but on Cosmoledo's spiky mangrove branches they live peacefully side by side.


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CRABZILLA There are also creatures living on Cosmoledo with a slightly lower cuddle factor. Coconut crabs live in the dark, moist hollows of the mangrove forest. Their bluish pink colour makes them hard to spot, but Agnus soon finds one and holds it up. We immediately recoil. The animal is huge. About fifty centimetres long and, according to Agnus, weighing four kilos. Is this a crab? Darwin once described the animals as "monstrous." The large claws have a squeezing force greater than that of all land animals, with the exception of the alligator. Imagine getting a foot or arm in between ... It may be our imagination, but we have the feeling that the animal does not appreciate our presence and we wisely decide to get out of the way.

AN ARTIFICIAL FLY AS BAIT The pristine lagoons of the Outer Seychelles are the absolute mecca for fly fishermen. "Fly fishing is an incredibly fascinating showdown between the fish and yourself," David tells us enthusiastically over dinner. "There is nothing more beautiful." He's been out on the water all day and the grains of salt are still glittering in his bushy eyebrows. "It's an art," he continues. “You have to be able to read the water, as it were. You have to be able to think like a fish. You have to be patient and persistent. It is nature that determines which fish you get. Sometimes you don't catch anything, sometimes you get the catch of your life.” The South African's enthusiasm is contagious and the next day we head out with


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Dean - one of the camp guides and a fly fishing pro - for our first lesson. In fly fishing, the line itself forms the weight that is cast. No bait is used, but so-called “artificial flies” - fake flies in bright colours and patterns, some with feathers and beads - which are intended to mislead and lure the fish. Depending on the fish you want to catch, you use a different fly. Dean has an extensive range. The box in which they are all neatly stored resembles a jewellery box. Our first swings are pretty clumsy, but gradually we master the technique. Casting is getting smoother and our line makes graceful arches above the water. Suddenly, we have a nibble on our line. Immediately the adrenaline rises. Dean gives us instructions. “Stay calm now. In the beginning, the fish is aggressive and gives everything it has to get loose again. Let it be. It comes down to exhausting the fish.” We do exactly what Dean tells us: play out the line, let the fish fight, wait a while, pull the line a bit closer, wait again, play out some line again ... After more than ten minutes the animal gives up and we actually land a beautiful bonefish. "That moment," David had told us, "is almost sacred." It sounded a bit exaggerated to us yesterday, but now we can feel what he meant. After the obligatory picture with the fish in our hands, we release the animal. There is no barb on an artificial fly. Fly fishing is fishing without a kill.

"Fly fishing is an incredibly fascinating showdown between the fish and yourself."

FRESHER THAN FRESH On our last day on Cosmoledo, David and Greg promise to bring fish for dinner. Gleaming with pride, they return late in the afternoon with a giant tuna and a wadoo. They hold up the fish with the smug smiles of men who have completed their mission. Dale, the camp cook, comes to inspect the loot himself and disappears with it towards the kitchen. A little later, the fish appears on our plate: we are served sashimi and a perfectly grilled tuna steak. For dessert, Dale - still sweaty from working in the kitchen container - comes up with a huge birthday cake for Sue. With what he conjures up from his galley here, he is the equal of any French chef.


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A beautiful triggerfish.


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The spectacular underwater world at Astove.


TRAVEL PORSCHIST

ASTOVE: BLISSFULLY SLOW LIVING With our bags packed, we are waiting for the boat. Our three-day stay at Cosmoledo is over. We look back with regret. Although we don’t really have to grieve, because the Outer Seychelles has even more wonders in store for us. Astove, another coral atoll and just as unspoilt, lies some 35 kilometres from Cosmoledo. No tents and containers for shelter here, but The Coral House. With its white walls and central square courtyard, the square building is reminiscent of a Spanish hacienda. There are only six rooms. This island is also only accessible to a very limited number of visitors.

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In the meantime, we have effortlessly adopted the rhythm of the tropics. No rushing around, whirring brains, worrying about tomorrow, just living in the present. Astove offers us a rare privilege of a glimpse into a world that has barely changed over time. When we swim, the turtles just swim with us, heads briefly popping out of the water and then going under again. Brown, shiny telescopes in azure blue, bathtub warm water. In addition to water turtles, Astove also has a large population of Aldabra giant tortoises. The animals originate from the time when the dinosaurs were still in charge. For that reason alone, they deserve respect. We find them in the clearings in the forest, their green shells stained brown from the mud bath they just took. They are immense: on average 1.5 metres long and weighing 300 to 500 kilograms. Most of the tortoises are likely to be of a venerable age, as they can easily live up to 200 years in this safe environment.

Astove offers us a rare privilege of a glimpse into a world that has barely changed over time.

FREE FROM GRAVITY One thing is certain: if you can choose anywhere to dive, make it on Astove. Because here is the awe-inspiring “Wall”, an enormous vertical water wall. In awe we look over a reef edge that slopes almost vertically to a depth of more than one kilometre. It's like looking into the gulf of the Grand Canyon, but underwater. The underwater wall is one of the reasons this place is one of the world's top diving destinations. We marvel at cauliflower-shaped coral gardens and gracefully swaying anemones. The many coral fish form a kaleidoscope of bright colours and artistic patterns. A school of sharks hangs above us. Inevitably, scenes from Jaws immediately come to mind, but these are harmless blacktip reef sharks. They hardly move and let themselves be carried away by the current. Eagle rays are flapping below us. Their distinctive long tails swing through the water like an antenna.


15 Late Jacques-Yves Cousteau, renowned French explorer, oceanographer and documentary maker.

A WORLD OF SILENCE Jacques-Yves Cousteau (1910-1997), the renowned French explorer, oceanographer and documentary maker, was also fascinated by the rich maritime life of the Outer Seychelles and in particular by the spectacular underwater wall at Astove. In 1956, he shot his sensational nature film “Le monde du Silence” there. It was the first film to use underwater cameras. To say that the film is equivalent to the images of the first man on the moon may be an exaggeration, but this film was a true revelation for the general public. For the first time, the sea was no longer just a large pool of salt water, but a fascinating world full of unknown life. The film introduced the viewer to coral reefs, fish in all the colours of the rainbow and deep sea giants such as whales and humpback whales. They were images that had never been shown before. The film won the Golden Palm in Cannes in 1956 and an Oscar a year later.


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Dream accommodation at Alphonse.

ALPHONSE: EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE, NOTHING IS MANDATORY Slowly we start to return to Mahé, although, fortunately, we aren’t there yet. When we landed briefly on the island of Alphonse on our outward journey to Cosmoledo, it seemed like a godforsaken place. Now we think it is almost too busy. With its 27 beach bungalows and 2 beach villas, the lodge can accommodate about 80 guests, but the number of visitors is currently only half that. So busy? That is very relative. Although it does make us think how quickly we got used to a Robinson Crusoe-like existence. Alphonse has the slender shape of an arrowhead. A coconut plantation was once established here, which means that the island is much more overgrown. From the air you can see a green heart with wide, pearly white sandy beaches on all sides around a beautiful lagoon. While Cosmoledo and Astove are primarily aimed at fly fishermen and divers, Alphonse offers a wider range of activities. There is a well-equipped water sports centre, a large swimming pool, a modern gym with adjacent tennis court and an inviting spa. Our bungalow is a charming detached white house on stilts with a triangular gabled roof. From the terrace we look out directly to the ocean. Two bicycles are available in the front garden. It is blissful to discover the island by bike, past


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infinitely high palm trees and sweet-smelling flower bushes. The sun peeks through the foliage and plays with the light. A young man named Uno - assistant to the general manager - shows us around the large, organic garden. All the fruit and vegetables for Alphonse, Astove and Cosmoledo are grown here. The papayas and bananas are ready for picking. A further 1 to 2 days ripening in the kitchen and they will be ready to be processed in a colourful fruit salad, refreshing cocktail or in one of the many creative dishes that Creole cuisine has in abundance. From our private beach we watch the ever fascinating play of colours of the setting sun. Wisps of clouds in shades of orange, purple and pink pass in front of us until the sun finally sinks like a golden disk into the horizon and makes way for the first stars. In the evening everyone gets together in the bar. The guides and sports instructors are also present and there is much talk about the many adventures of the day. The fish are already being described as larger than they actually were and the diving experiences presented just a bit more spectacular, but that is all part of the exuberant atmosphere. We see the South African Sue again. David is still fly fishing on Cosmoledo, but she has come to visit Alphonse for a few days. Dinner is the ideal time to catch up.


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MAHÉ: BACK TO CIVILISATION All good things must come to an end, it is said, but on Mahé we are just starting a new chapter. We may have had to leave the intimacy of the Outer Seychelles behind, but when you are picked up at the local airport by a Porsche Cayenne and your home for the next few days is the best hotel on the island, the return to the modern world is amazingly smooth. We are now so used to eye-catching panoramas that this is at the top of our wish list. At the Four Seasons, our wishes are granted. From our Hilltop Ocean View Villa we look at the beautiful, azure bay of Petite Anse. (Anse is Creole for small bay). The 5-star resort covers an area of 70 acres and is located on a slope amidst lush tropical scenery. All villas have spectacular views and privacy is assured. A stark naked dip to cool down in our private swimming pool is therefore no problem. The Four Seasons is a place where everything is exactly right: fantastic location, impeccable service and excellent cuisine. In addition to villas and suites for two people, the Four Seasons also offers private residences with between three and seven bedrooms, ideal for larger groups.

The Four Seasons is a place where everything is exactly right: fantastic location, impeccable service and excellent cuisine.



TRAVEL PORSCHIST CRUISING ON MAHÉ A golden tip if you ever find yourself on Mahé: the “Roads by Porsche” app includes a great Mahé Coast Trip that we will of course test. Mervyn Esparon - the man who picked us up at the airport - accompanies us on the trip. We start at Cap Ternay, the most western point of Mahé. This is the rough, deserted side of the island. Impressive granite rock formations tower high above the green mountain landscape. In the middle of it lies the Morne Seychellois, the highest point on the island, at just under 1000 metres. We zigzag south along the West Coast Road. The Cayenne darts swiftly from one bend to the next. The road has no side markings and is exactly the same colour as the surrounding rocks, which makes it look like it has always been there.

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by Porsche

The view is unparalleled. Every now and then we even see dolphins tumbling in the surf. According to experts, the most beautiful beaches are on the south side of the island. They have sweet names like Anse Louis, Anse Soleil, Anse Intendance and Anse Royale. They are long strips of powdery sand bordering gently rolling waves. To get to the beaches, we drive into small, bumpy side roads that usually take us right to the beach. Tall takamaka trees and palm trees provide shade when it is too hot. "Never park your car under a palm tree", warns Mervyn. "Falling nuts can do a lot of damage”. We continue our way along the east side of the island past sleepy fishing villages where occasionally, sultry reggae notes can be heard. As we drive onto the East Coast Highway - built specifically to get tourists from the international airport to Victoria, the island's capital, as quickly as possible - we can finally press harder on the accelerator. Although a third of the total population of the Seychelles lives in Victoria, the town is no bigger than a village. From Victoria, it is not far to Beau Vallon Bay, the locals' favourite seaside resort thanks to its wide beaches and calm, child-friendly sea. The dense, inaccessible rocky coast in the north of the island marks the end of our great exploration. Cruising on Mahé is highly recommended, especially with Mervyn at the wheel. We talked a lot along the way. You can read more about this conversation on page 26.


THE KEY QUESTION So, did we find paradise on the Outer Seychelles? As far as we're concerned, yes. Every day feels like a gift from god. Weltschmerz evaporates here like snow in the sun. We discover a world that we see as perfect in all its opulence and beauty. We are on the same planet, but in a different universe. We rediscover the benefits of slowness and enjoy the amazingly untouched nature to the fullest. At the same time, this wonderful nature also gives us an unmistakable message: that we should cherish its beauty and safeguard it for the future.

GENERAL INFORMATION SEYCHELLES Area: 400.000 sq km of which only 457 sq km land surface Number of islands: 115 Population: 95.981 inhabitants Capital: Victoria Government: Republic Official languages: English, French, Sechellois Creole Travel documents: International passport Thanks to:

Vera Van Steenvoort, manager Advalorem Travel Designer, www.advalorem.be Valérie Payet, chargee de promotion Office du Tourisme des Seychelles Martine Verschoren (Director Kales Airlines Services, Ethiopian Airlines), Taye Kenenissa, Area Manager Benelux Four Seasons, www.fourseasons.com/seychelles Blue Safari, www.bluesafari.com Mason's Travel Christophe Larue and Mervyn Esparon: Porsche-owners


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Christophe Larue


PORSCHIST INTERVIEW

Christophe Larue:

Thanks to his 911, he never feels blue.

You could call Christophe Larue a jack of all trades and a master of all. As if he isn’t busy enough as a professional pilot, in his early forties he is also the manager of two companies. It is therefore not surprising that it is difficult to get hold of the man, but just on the last day of our stay, we manage to meet each other. He quickly drives into the parking lot in his striking 911. Our meeting place? The lounge of the international airport on Mahé. Where else could it be?

Someone who is a pilot, usually dreamed of becoming one as a child. Indeed, that was also the case with me. I knew very quickly that I wanted to become a pilot. I obtained my flying licence in South Africa and was able to start at Air Seychelles when I was just nineteen. First I flew between the various islands. That was in a Britten Norman Islander or a TwinOtter DHC 6. Wonderful aircraft and always a fantastic view. After a while, I switched to international flights and I was at the controls of big craft such as a Boeing 767, an Airbus A330 and now also an Airbus A320 Neo, a new addition to the fleet. I am thrilled to be able to fly for our national airline. Even though Air Seychelles is a small airline, it has an excellent reputation. In the meantime, I have literally flown all around the world. But that is not your only professional activity. That's right, I also work as a manager in the family business SF Hybrid Motors which my parents founded and developed. We sell hybrid cars. Since 2014, we have also been an official Porsche distributor. I fought hard for that licence and I am very happy that I succeeded. Porsche is now also represented in the Seychelles. Nothing quite as beautiful as a Porsche, right? We are also active in the tourism industry with our charter company Sea Fever Boat Charters. People can charter a motor boat with us to visit the surrounding islands such as Praislin and La Digue or to go fishing.

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INTERVIEW PORSCHIST How come you are so successful in everything you do? I owe that to my parents. They have always been my example. Hard working people, who taught me what entrepreneurship is and how to run a business. Nor could I have accomplished as much as I have without the unconditional support of my family. I am married and have two wonderful daughters. They are my heart and soul. And to be honest: I am extremely busy, but everything I do is just fun. I play with cars, motorcycles and planes. A person can do worse. (laughs) And it is summer here all year round and the beach is always right outside my door.

“The colour name is Miami Blue, but it would have been better to name it Seychelles Blue.”

24 SF Hybrid Motors specialises, as the name implies, in hybrid cars. Why hybrid? Conservation is critical in Seychelles. Everyone here is convinced of that. Hybrid is synonymous with respect for the environment and sustainability. Hybrid cars save energy and fuel and reduce harmful emissions, resulting in cleaner air. A great asset. We sell both semi-hybrid and full hybrid models. Can customers also contact you for maintenance? Sure. Everything is under one roof. We sell both new cars and secondhand cars, provide maintenance and technical assistance and also provide assistance in the event of breakdowns. For our Porsche customers we have a separate technician, Francis Mein, who has been trained by Porsche. So the Porsches are in good hands. How many Porsches are there in the Seychelles? Currently there are 15, all E Hybrid Cayenne’s. The only exception is my 911. You have a soft spot for Porsche, that much is clear. What attracts you so much to the brand? The total package. Porsche simply plays in a different league than all other car brands. It is that difficult to define balanced combination of power, design, luxury and comfort that makes every Porsche so irresistible.


Your 911 has a striking colour. Why exactly did you choose that one? Because it's the colour of the Seychelles, the colour of the sea. The colour name is Miami Blue, but it would have been better to name it Seychelles Blue. What is your opinion of the Taycan? An absolute hit. If I could, I would buy one right away. Electric mobility is a new way of driving. I am convinced that it is the future. One last question: living in the Seychelles, isn't that living in paradise? It sure is! I am Seychellois through and through and I am proud of that. I feel blessed to have grown up in such a beautiful place and will never leave here. No other country can match the beauty of our islands.


INTERVIEW PORSCHIST

Mervyn Esparon.

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Mervyn Esparon:

a man who knows what service is. During our road trip on Mahé we are accompanied by Mervyn Esparon, proud owner of a beautiful Cayenne S Hybrid in which we explore the island. The youthful man in his forties is an engaging man who has already lived an exciting life. He is also an true Porsche fan. That’s something we like to hear.

What do you do professionally? I am managing director of Summer Rain Seychelles, a travel agency dedicated to tailor-made travel. We take care of every aspect of the trip. From flights, transfers, accommodation, tours through to guides. We have only been on the market since 2017, but can already count on a strong and loyal clientele. A Porsche in the Seychelles is exceptional. Sure. Porsche only opened a sales location on Mahé four years ago. I was the first to buy a Porsche; a Cayenne S Hybrid. My company has a fleet of 20 cars. Of course, the Cayenne is the flagship. The SUV is particularly well suited to the winding roads on the island. In addition, it is all luxury and elegance.


Why the hybrid version? Partly for ecological reasons. The Seychelles have a unique, but fragile nature. I want to do my part to preserve it. Another reason is of course the financial aspect. The import tax for a luxury car is 100% here. The rates for a hybrid version are a lot lower: 35% for a regular hybrid and 15% for a plug-in version. And when I bought the Cayenne, the import tax was only 5%. The number plate of the Cayenne is S 737. There must be a story behind that. That's right. It is not possible to personalise a number plate in the Seychelles. The inscription always consists of the letter S followed by a number of numbers. For example, I cannot use the name of my company or any other personal name. What we can determine is the number of digits and the following applies: the fewer you use, the more expensive it is. The president’s number plate is therefore, not surprisingly, S 1. My number plate is S 737. It originally belonged to a pilot who referred to a Boeing 737, the type of aircraft he usually piloted. When the man left the country at one point and sold his car, the licence plate was released. Since I work in the tourist industry, I thought the number plate was a perfect fit for my business. My guests all arrive by plane. When I take care of their transfers, they get the same service as in business class: a refreshing towel when boarding, chilled drinks in the centre console and the driver always has small snacks with him in case anyone is hungry. I just apply the same principles.

“Here you can only personalise the number plate by choosing the number of digits: the fewer, the more expensive.”

Are there any other special number plates on the island? Yes, there are of course people who like to give their number plate a personal touch, although you don't always get what you want. A good friend of mine drives a 911. His dream is to have a number plate with S 911 on it. Unfortunately for him, there is already someone on the island who has that licence plate: an elderly man driving around in a dilapidated Toyota Starlet. The licence plate doesn't mean anything to him, but the man doesn't want to sell it. My friend has tried many times to persuade him, but the man stubbornly refuses. My friend's last offer was $ 18,000! Imagine, the man could buy a new car with that, but he does not want to give it up. Incredible. You have told us that you love to drive. Where does that passion come from? My father taught me to drive when I was only nine years old. I learned to drive a small Suzuki Samurai. That is one of those cars that keeps going forever. My love for Porsche has grown in the States. I was a good swimmer in my youth and was awarded a scholarship to Bolles High School in Florida when I was 12. That is a great high school for athletes. I went there to prepare for the Olympics. During the weekends, I stayed with a host family. The father had a 911 and because he thought it was very special that I was able to drive at such a young age, he let me drive it around the neighbourhood. Of course I thought that was fantastic and I fell completely under the spell of the Porsche. I started reading and learning all about it.

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Did you eventually compete in the Olympics? No, I stopped swimming when I was seventeen. High School was finished and my parents had already arranged for me to train in Atlanta, but I had had enough of swimming. I had been abroad for five years and I was tired of it all. I missed my normal life, my family, my friends ... The toll just got too high. Don't you regret that decision? My mother said I would regret it and she was partially right. I know I could have gone far in the swimming world, but I had run out of steam. Apparently it was not my destiny. Although I still like to swim a lot. Every morning I get up at 4:30 and go swimming for at least three kilometres. That is how I stay in shape. Since you have a travel agency, we assume that you enjoy traveling. Sure. I make a lot of trips: India, South Africa, Kenya, Brazil, Greece, you name it. In part, this is also market research. I want to stay informed about everything that goes on in the travel world. I also travelled a lot in my teenage years. In those days it was to participate in international swimming competitions. Thank you for the unforgettable ride and the pleasant conversation.


Blue Safari = een safari op de Seychellen. Parelwitte stranden, diepblauwe lagunes, rijke koraalriffen en het eeuwig groene regenwoud. Een tropische droom beleeft u op de afgelegen eilanden Astove, Cosmoledo en Alphonse. Leef u uit in, op en onder het water. Heel geschikt voor een familievakantie, huwelijksreis of gewoon omdat het kan! Geef uzelf iets om naar uit te kijken, Advalorem stippelt uw reis naar de Seychellen uit op basis van uw en onze unieke vingerafdruk.

Vera Van Steenvoort • Tel. 0475-36 00 27 • vera@advalorem.be Braziliëstraat 33 • 2000 Antwerpen • www.advalorem.be