An SNA review: Ahoy matey, let's discover the pirate cove -- Arrr!
Filippin showing the way to his museum. (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Have you ever wanted to walk into a pirate’s secret lair and explore its hidden secrets? There is a place in Seychelles that could help you achieve this dream.
To get the pirate cave experience, one has to travel to the southwestern district of Baie Lazare. There are two wooden signs along the Anse Soleil road that will help you find the place. You will know when you are there.
The Pirate Cove, as it is called, towers high among the rocks above a cafeteria built in an uncommon architectural style. That is where I met with the creator and owner of the cove, Antonio Filippin. After being given a small tour of his workshop, gallery that is under construction and the artist house, Filippin, an Italian-born Seychellois, led me to the entrance of the cove. That is when he started telling his made-up pirate stories involving his grandfather, a witch and UFOs.
|The wooden sign showing where the Cove is (top) and Filippin close to the opening of the narrow passageway.(Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
Filippin opened the door to the cove, revealing a narrow passageway between granite boulders, which were full of drawings and markings. Heading in, it took a few seconds to get accustomed to the dim environment. Walking past the pirate’s kitchen, the narrow corridor gave way to a spacious sitting/dining area. The table was full of wooden plates and utensils, and littered with the skulls and bones of animals. More skulls, as well as a bird, hung from the ceiling. Behind a skull-adorned wooden chair of the captain that headed the table was a fully operational shower that used collected rain water. Though the place had a spooky atmosphere to it, my inner child wanted to run and explore every corner. “Let’s discover more”, it screamed.
From there on, we went up a few ladders (at that instance, I was glad that I had worn jeans). They led to various pirate bedrooms each with either an Arabian, Russian or creole style. Knick-knacks were scattered in the rooms with more writings and drawing on the rock walls. Treasure chests full of golden coins, silver cups and jewelries completed the setting.
|Filippin in his Pirate Cove (top) and the treasures. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
The last flight of stairs, tucked in a corner of the last room, led to the captain’s cabin. If you were to enter the cove from this end, you would never know if there are other rooms beyond, as the door is well hidden. The doorway through which we came into the cabin was full of shelves holding silver plates and other bric-a-bracs.
Visitors can leave their wish in a book on the captain’s desk.
The experience was comparable to walking into a scene from a pirate-story-book. I had drifted away into the words and world of 75-year-old Filippin.
The Pirate Cove extends over three floors and it took Filippin three years to build it. In my opinion, it is totally worth the entrance fee of $7 (Seychelles Rupees 100) per person that caters for a tour of the pirate cove and the artist house.
The artist house is the residence of Filippin and it is a work of art in itself. Just imagine the artist installed a waterfall in his house. It literally is so cool – the fountain, which uses collected rainwater, serves as Filippin’s air conditioner. Granite boulders that were originally on the land when he bought it have been integrated into the architecture.
|Filippin's has used his creativity and artistic talent on his home. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
Scattered all around the house are sculptures and carvings in wood that Filippin has done. The bed he sleeps on? You guessed it, it’s his own work. The man himself made the signs that I talked about at the start.
Filippin, who came to Seychelles in 1992, dreamt of putting up signs all over the main islands of Seychelles to provide direction to locals and visitors. Today, the artist carves on small scale at a fixed price of $223 (SCR3000). As his health doesn’t allow him to produce on an extensive scale, Filippin tends to spend more time helping others to sculpt and paint. Inspiration can even come from his soon-to-be-opened gallery.
Visitors and residents looking for a cool island experience should head to Baie Lazare to paint or carve their heart away, and pay a visit to the Pirate Cove and artist house. It’s totally worthwhile.
What: Experience a pirate lair in a small, cool cave, then carve or paint a small art project.
Where: Baie Lazare, Mahe. Follow the signs to the Pirate Cove.
How much: $7 (SCR 100) entry fee.
Contact: 2 510 977
|SNA presents a collection of photos of the pirate cove and different art works of Antonio Filipin. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|