Československa fotografka uvíznutá v ráji
Tak zněl tytulek nejčtenějšiho sejšelskeho denika Seychelles Nation. Hned mi bylo jasne, že se musi jednat o Eriku Valkovičovu, Slovenku žijici v Praglu. Teda kdysik žila v Praze, fčil oslavila sty den na Sejšelach.
Ten přiběh je velice jednoduchy, Erika, kera robi fotky mimo jine pro UNESCO a jine podvratne organyzace odjela v unoru fotit do mist, kaj nevedly žadne internety a když se vratila do civilizace sejšelskeho hlavniho města tak zjistila, že svět zachvatilo šilenstvi, panyka a jeji letadlo, tajak všecky ostatni letadla na ostrov byly zrušene, bo virus se pohybuje letadlama.
Bo Eryka neni ani černa, ani přislušnice jakesik levicove uchylne neziskovky, nezačala vyžadovat po ambasadě okamžity odvoz dodom, ani zapalovat auta, ani rabovat obchody a rozhodla se počkat, až zas cosik poleti.
A tak tam čeka dodnes, pravě oslavila sty den na Sejšelach.
Tuž vychutnejte si některe jeji fotky, bo jak se tak divam na ty šalenosti, co se na světě fčil robi, tak si myslim, že se do Prahy už nevrati. Čest jeji cestovatelske pamatce.
Ladislav Větvička, fotograf Mlade Fronty Fčil
Autorkou všeckych fotek je Erika Valkovičova (použite s jejim laskavym svolenim), v originalnich velikosťach si je možete vychutnat tady (ty fotky, ne tu slečnu vyše).
A tady je rozhovor pro lokalni list:
When did you arrive in Seychelles?
I came to Seychelles late February with my partner for a 15-day expedition to the beautiful Aldabra Atoll, which we booked two years ago. We had no wifi on the boat, so when we arrived back to Mahe mid-March, it was a shock to hear the news about the spread of the pandemic worldwide. Our country just went into lockdown, and our flights were cancelled.
How long were you planning to stay?
Since this was our third trip to Seychelles, our original plan was to only stay 18 days, including the expedition and a short visit to Praslin.
Where are you currently residing?
It has been almost seven weeks now staying on La Digue. As do not drive a car, this island gives me the convenience to explore the island on a bike.
Describe your experience in Seychelles during the 80 days?
Since my teenage years, when my auntie sent me a postcard from her holiday with the beautiful Coco de Mer, Seychelles has been my dream destination. I came here on my first visit in May 2018, and it was love at first sight. For a nature addict, the 115 islands filled with incredibly beautiful sceneries and abundant fauna and flora are a real feast for the eyes! During our two-week sea expedition, we have visited Desroches, Alphonse, Cosmoledo, Assumption, Astove, Bijoutier and St. Joseph Islands with the magical Aldabra Atoll UNESCO World Heritage Site, as a highlight. After our return to Mahe, the second World Heritage Site was awaiting- Praslin’s enchanting Vallee de Mai Nature Reserve with the endemic Coco de Mer. We spent a few days on the wonderful Bird Island and two weeks roaming around Mahe, hiking the fascinating Copolia Trail with the endemic carnivorous plants and arrived to La Digue just a few days before the lockdown. My partner works from home, so we rented a villa with a fast internet connection to be able to prepare a fully functioning home office environment. I am a freelance Landscape Photographer and a member of the World Heritage Photographer Team, also working mostly from home. It was not easy to be in paradise and stay inside, but we knew the only way to prevent the spread of the virus is to obey the rules and remain patient. We could not have chosen a better place for the lockdown! Life is coming back to normal on La Digue, and I am enjoying again shooting the seascapes and the night sky. We also went on a snorkelling trip around La Digue and more adventures awaiting soon!
How did you get stuck in Seychelles?
There were still some flights available to Europe, so we kept re-booking our flights after each cancellation. Eventually, we received the news from the Czech Republic, where we live, that due to the lockdown measurements, only permanent residents or temporary residents with a permit are allowed to cross the border. Since we are both temporary residents living and working in the country and our residency permit is kept in a safe back home, we had no chance to return to our flat in Prague until after the emergency lockdown of the country was lifted.
What is the covid-19 situation in your country?
The Government of the Czech Republic declared a state of emergency on 12 March 2020, sealing borders and shuttering most shops. It restricted free movement on March 15. The Czech Republic is one of the few countries in the world where protective masks are mandatory during the coronavirus crisis. The state of emergency was lifted on May 11 with the country returning to life and slowly easing up on restrictions.
Do you plan to go back when they open the border next month?
We have registered our interest in flights, but we will only get on the plane once we are sure we won’t get stuck somewhere else during the transit, as there are no direct flights to our home.
Have u made any friends during your stay?
Our four-legged friends were the first we made, probably straight after our visit to the beach. They are an integral part of our life now. Our hosts are lovely, too, and we made friends with many local shop owners, managers, residents as well as other tourists who ended up in a similar situation to us. It is a small island, and we are very thankful for everyone’s hospitality and help during this challenging period.
What has been the reaction to your pictures that you’ve posted online?
I was overwhelmed with the feedback, especially on social media, my Milky Way image received over a thousand likes in just a few hours! Many amateur photographers were asking me about how to capture the stars and long exposure photographs. The Milky Way is not visible to more than one-third of humanity. Still, since Seychelles has very low light pollution, on a clear night, the starry sky is just magical! I hope to pay back the kindness of the people in Seychelles with spreading the word about the beauty of their country with the help of my photographs.
Will you visit the island again?
I will definitely come back next year again, perhaps with like-minded photographers eager to discover and learn to capture the beauty of Seychelles!
Erika has also told this newspaper that the popularity of her work has caught the attention of many locals including the district administrator of La Digue who has showed interest in decorating her walls with her scenic pictures.
Anyone interested in viewing Ms Valkovicova work can do so by going on her website www.lpontour.com/seychelles