If the gospel according to our Seychelles cruising guide was that "skies are clear from May to October, and there is no hurricane season, creating "perfect sea and weather conditions for charterers, what was that cyclone doing 200 miles to our north? Keith had already weighed anchor for the five-hour passage to Praslin when we emerged the next morning from our four queen staterooms with en suite showers fore and aft. The center cockpit was laid with Linda's lemon-and-honey-garnished pancakes, and off we sailed into Vasco da Gama's fabled jade ocean-the only place where granite mushrooms from 23,000 feet below the surface into life-giving earth. Tropicbirds soared, fish leapt, and the newly rigged yacht rode high and stiff over the powerful swells. We had barely snugged into Chevalier Bay-an anchorage like liquid emerald with a beach, Anse Lazio, that has been called the most beautiful in the world-when the sky unleashed a deluge. Then, the unthinkable: A 1,500-mile-wide tropical depression moved in for 10 days' duration, and the rain continued hour upon hour, night upon day.