Former tourism specialist, Roger Porter-Butler, and his wife, Joan, revisit their fondest memories of Seychelles, their little corner of paradise since 2011.
Seated in their cozy living room in Somerset in the Southwest of England, Roger and Joan Porter-Butler, a retired British couple, met with a Seychelles team on a Wednesday afternoon.
The meeting, conducted via the online platform zoom, courtesy of COVID-19 and its travel restrictions, was one of those once-in-a-lifetime encounters, transporting the writers through the beautiful love story of the Porter-Butlers with Seychelles.
Roger recounted his first memories of Seychelles back in 1978 when tourism was new to the Indian Ocean destination – the airport having just opened in 1972. Roger recalled with much emotion that he was charmed by the virginal state of the beautiful islands and being particularly mesmerized by Anse Lazio with its powder-soft sands framed by imposing granite boulders.
“My first visit in Seychelles lasted for 2 weeks and I was excited about being in such a beautiful place, especially having Anse Lazio beach on Praslin to myself for a whole day. That is when I promised myself I would return to walk on this deserted beach again,” said Roger.
“Being in the travel industry and traveling the world, I kept the memories of Seychelles dear in my heart and I knew I would return.”
The years passed but Roger never forgot about Seychelles, and in 2011, a decade after marrying his beautiful wife, Joan, he took her on a trip to what would become one of their favorite destinations.
The couple decided to discover another wonder of Seychelles, settling this time for the island of Ste Anne and during the trip, they celebrated the 10-year milestone in their relationship at the Four Seasons hotel on Mahé.
Reminiscing, Roger and Joan spoke affectionately about their visit to Moyenne Island, a 24-acre island that forms part of the Sainte Anne National Park, where they met with Brendon Grimshaw, a former British newspaper editor, who owned the island at the time.
Mr Grimshaw signed his book “A Grain of Sand” with a special note to the couple inviting them again during their future visits.
Making the most of their time in Seychelles, the couple sailed to Praslin on a catamaran and hired a car to visit the island at leisure. 33 years after his first visit to Seychelles, keeping the promise he once made to himself on the sumptuous Anse Lazio, Roger stood again on the sandy beach, but this time with his soulmate.
In 2013, Roger and Joan returned to Seychelles and venturing further afield, made their first visit to Denis Private Island.
“This particular holiday was the most amazing holiday we’ve ever had in our lives, bearing in mind that we have travelled the world, everything was just perfect. The weather was excellent, the sea was amazing, and we could swim and snorkel. The other guests were friendly but not intrusive, we respected each other’s privacy but got on well at dinnertime. The food was excellent and so was the accommodation. We like seclusion and Denis Island was perfect,” said the couple.
Their 2013 holiday was so memorable that upon their return to Somerset, they got a Labrador dog and named him Denis. The Porter-Butlers said that the anecdote about their dog’s name always gives them a perfect opportunity to speak about Seychelles and their love for the islands. In 2015, they returned to Denis, where they celebrated Joan’s 60th birthday.
“Our most beautiful experience is Denis Private Island for sure as we love the peaceful surroundings away from the crowds. We would like to keep returning to Denis Island as often as we can,” Joan confessed.
In 2016, they decided to choose a different island to explore and visited Cerf Island where they enjoyed snorkeling around Cerf, lodging at South Point Villas and enjoying the regular shopping trips to Mahé.
In 2019, the couple returned to celebrate Roger’s 80th birthday, opting this time to stay at Chateau de Feuilles on Praslin, a hotel they had spotted during their visit in 2011. During their stay, they enjoyed a visit to Grande Soeur island and touring Praslin.
Although Joan and Roger could not make it to Seychelles in 2020 due to the pandemic, the islands are never far from their mind and they are planning a trip to the islands in 2022.
The couple mutually agreed that Seychelles remains their most beautiful experience because of the beauty of its flora and fauna, the simplicity of life and most definitely, the pleasure of savoring a deliciously cooked fish fresh out of the ocean!
Since his retirement, Roger spends much of his time perfecting his other passion, painting; can we dare to hope that one of his most famous works will be one of our islands? We certainly look forward to welcoming the Porter- Butlers back to Seychelles.
MEDIA CONTACT: Tourism Seychelles, firstname.lastname@example.org