Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Carl Royal lands dream job on Desroche island Seychelles

I thought this week I would introduce you to one of the Seychelles true tropical paradise islands, Desroches. Not many volunteers venture this far out from the main islands, they can be difficult to get too and expensive to stay but for a once in a lifetime experience of a truly pristine environment you will not find better anywhere in the world.

One way to get there as Carl Royal found out is to come to GVI Seychelles for ten weeks then apply for a job there. Carl has just gone to live and work on Desroches for a year. He is working for the Island conservation society of Seychelles, putting all the training he gained at GVI Seychelles into practice. He will be working on baseline studies for the extensive coral reefs as well as erosion and beach profiling studies. To give you an idea of where he is living here are some facts and figures for the island.

Île Desroches or Desroches Island is the main island of the Amirante Islands, part of the Outer Islands of the Seychelles. It is located 230 km southwest of Mahe, the Seychelles' main island. It is 6.2 km long and has a land area of 3.24 km². Along its circumference of 15 km is a beach of fine sand.

Desroches has a population of about 50, a settlement in the middle of the northwestern shore (looking to the lagoon), a small luxury hotel with 20 rooms in the south (Desroches Island Resort), built in 1988 and a paved airstrip 1372 m long in the southern part. There is a lighthouse on the northeast end. The island is fringed by a drying reef which extends 1.6 km offshore from the northeastern extremity and 0.8 km from the southwestern extremity. The island is low and is covered with coconut palms and tall hardwood trees. A deep channel, about 1.6 km wide, leads into the lagoon.

Desroches was named by Chevalier de Roslan, commander of the ship L'Heure du Berger, after the Chevalier des Roches, the Governor of Mauritius (then Île de France) and Réunion (then Bourbon) from 1767 to 1772. It was explored by the Chevalier de la Billioère in 1771. The British had originally named it Wood Island because of its dense tree vegetation. The island was an important producer of copra.

Along with the remaining Amirante Islands, Desroches had been a part of the Seychelles since it became a separate colony in 1909. On November 8, 1965, the United Kingdom split Desroches from the Seychelles to become part of the newly created the British Indian Ocean Territory together with Farquhar, Aldabra and the Chagos Archipelago, but returned it to the Seychelles with the first two. The purpose was to allow the construction of military facilities for the mutual benefit of the United Kingdom and the United States. On June 23, 1976, Desroches was returned to Seychelles as a result of it attaining independence.

We whish Carl well in his new venture. It is always good to see our old friends continuing GVI's work with other organisations around the Seychelles.