Alphonse – for the first Time on the Äußeren Islands
In February, a huge dream came true for me: I could for the first Time on the Outer Islands, specifically to Alphonse Atoll. And who knows the Seychelles, white, this is the ultimate.
Who's talking about the Seychelles, in the Inner Islands, which include the three main Islands of Mahé, Praslin, La Digue and many more smaller ones. The Outer Islands of some of the less conservation organisations and accommodation – are, apart from the staff uninhabited. These Islands and Atolls are located 250 to 1150 km from Mahé. All of them are all of coral origin.
One of the Outer Islands of the Aldabra Atoll. It is next to the Vallée de Mai on Praslin – one of the two Unesco world heritage sites in the Seychelles sites, and is strictly protected.
Alphonse group-Alphonse Atoll and the island of Alphonse, because you can say, that was a mess. The Alphonse Atoll with the island of Alphonse and St François Atoll with the Islands of Bijoutier and Saint Francois count for the Alphonse group. They are located 400 km southwest of Mahé and can be reached from there in about an hour with the propeller machine. With the boat it would take in calm sea about 36 hours, if there are waves, there may even be a week.
An Atoll is a ring-shaped reef that encloses a lagoon. In the 10 to 12 metre deep lagoon of Alphonse the former volcano's summit lies below sea level. The island is around 1.8 km long and 1.4 km wide, and is reminiscent in shape to a triangle.
Alphonse was discovered in 1730 by the Crew of the ship "Le Lys," and they named the island after their captain Chevalier Alphonse de Pontevez. The island had several owners and are not counted until 1881 officially to the Seychelles. In 1882, lived 28 inhabitants on Alphonse. At that time, they operated very intensively, a coconut plantation and export over a Million coconut exported nuts per year. Today live – with the exception of the approximately 80 employees of the resort and the IDC (Islands Development Company of Seychelles) – no inhabitants on Alphonse. The palm forest is rampant, but more to himself.
The accommodation – the Alphonse Island Lodge
No. 29 – this was my beach Bungalow, a-frame, as the roof almost to the ground and optically to an "a" reminds. The Alphonse Island Resort was first opened in 1999 and is the only accommodation on the Atoll. On the Outer Islands, there is also accommodation on Desroches island, Astove and Cosmoledo – all very exclusive and expensive area.
The Alphonse Island Resort consists of 22 beach suites and 5 bungalows, all located directly on the sea. The beach suites are built on stilts and consist of one bedroom with an additional bed, a Veranda, a bathroom and an outdoor shower. Each guest receives their own Bicycle, a super comfortable beach cruiser with a basket.
The Central area is a community area with a Restaurant, Bar, Lounge, cinema and swimming Pool. About 2 to 3 minutes bike ride away, the activities Center, where all of the activities around fishing, diving, snorkeling & co. are planned. As a guest of the resort you can enjoy many excursions that are for the most part, included in the price. I'll tell more later.
Alphonse also operates a small Farm, on the 60% of the fruit and vegetables for own consumption are produced. The Rest will be provided on a weekly basis with a boat from Mahé.
All of this plays out in a corner of the island, the Rest is uninhabited and untouched.
My house was in the middle.
We are Family
The "We" is written on Alphonse in size. I noticed the same on arrival. After landing, all new guests are addressed by their first names. No matter where I went, the staff knew my name and all of the other guests. All were very friendly and the atmosphere in the Team was very harmonious. The staff from as many Nations, not so easy and many of the accommodation on the main Islands is also not the case. In this Resort there are mainly Seychellois, English, South Africans, Australians and Mauritians working there.
I am travelling alone to Alphonse. I know, of course, because not everywhere there is always someone with can. At my first lunch, I was invited directly by two English couples at the table. They were around 65 years old, retired and travel to Alphonse every year since the age of 16.
After an hour, I knew the whole origin and development of the resort and was initiated into the art of fly fishing. Because Alphonse fishing is one of the world's best destinations for flying, even if the Resort is trying to currently have the focus to kill. The Atoll has certainly other advantages.
It's Paradise – on the nature on Alphonse
Even if I can no longer hear the word "Paradise" and in the case of the Seychelles, not in the mouth take: Alphonse is a Paradise. As soon as I saw the island and the Atoll at the time of landing from the plane, was I Amazed. A Atoll I have never seen it before and the view from the bird's-eye view was already breathtaking.
After the delicious lunch, I grabbed the beach cruiser and explored the island. My first path led me into the jungle. The interior of the island consists of an incredible number of palm trees that are a Remnant of the former coconut plantation and wild in front of proliferate. The palm trees are native to the Seychelles, but not to this extent. Impressive, but it was all.
Coconut palm trees, where the eye can see.
The coast of Alphonse consists of fine, white sand beach. The beaches are isolated, untouched, and to give a real Robinson Crusoe-Feeling. I have not met in all the time once someone on the beaches, apart from a few fishermen, who tried at the reef, your luck will Fly. Often I felt as if I was the only one on the island. This feeling is just indescribably beautiful.
What I missed on Alphonse a bit, are the many birds I know from the main Islands and many smaller Islands. Alphonse lies far away, that there are neither endemic nor introduced species. You can not fly as far.
The little red Madagascar Weber (in Creole Sed), which like to sit at the Breakfast table, or even the Seychelles nectar bird (in Creole Hummingbird) I searched in vain. There are a few seabirds, where there is much more Arid (Blogpost will follow soon), Cousin and Bird.
Alphonse, hundreds of grey herons, which stand at low tide in the shallow water near the shore and even the Pool life. These birds I had not seen before in this number, and never from this close. A real Highlight is waiting every day shortly after sunset, when hundreds of frigate birds from the sea, fly to Alphonse to stay there in the trees. This spectacle I have seen to me every evening – simply amazing.
A grey turtle-breasted in front of my Bungalow, and, of course, life on Alphonse also some free-living giant.
Activities on Alphonse
What accounts for Alphonse in my eyes, are the many activities. Every day there are two to three activities that are included in the price, and two dives. In the activities Center with a large Whiteboard hangs on the wall with the Plan for the whole week. Sam, the Manager of the center, has received me joyfully, and me, for all the activities in the next few days listed.
Day 1 | 14 PM: Snorkeling Tour
Shortly after my arrival, I took part of the afternoon on a guided Snorkelling tour with a marine biologist. We started with the boat and snorkeled at different Spots in the lagoon and in the channel that connects the lagoon with the sea.
As I took the first glance under the surface of the water, I didn't want to believe my eyes in the first place. Thus, a wealth of fish I had never seen that before. Large schools of fish, colorful reef fish, sea turtles, sharks, rays, eels and Barracuda I saw within the first 20 minutes.
But what impressed me even more, are the living coral. Around the main Islands, much of the coral has died or faded. In the case of Alphonse, the situation is different. The under water world-defying life and the corals seem to be in a mostly healthy condition.
Day 2 | 10: 30 Am: Bike Tour & Smoothies
The next Morning, the next trip: a 1-hour bike tour with a Nature staff member followed directly. We stop at various Spots, for example, in the old cemetery where the first settlers to find their resting place in old houses and also at the fruit and Vegetable plantation. We know many of the Details, especially on the history of the island, what I always find particularly interesting.
Our destination was the Smoothie cafe next to the fruit and vegetable farm, where we were allowed to us our own Smoothies mix was finally.
Day 2 | 14.30: boat trip to Bijou animal
On this Highlight, I was pleased even before the arrival. The small island of Bijoutier is also part of the Alphonse group, and located about 20 minutes away by boat. The island is uninhabited and you can circumnavigate in just a few minutes walk.
This trip (we were five persons, including two marine biologists) will be held only once a week, you don't have to intervene in nature. The trip is used every Time for a Beach Clean Up and the washed-up plastic trash. Since the employees make the but regularly, we found only a few things.
Bijou animal is turtles home to many sea. During our stay I counted about 50 tracks in the Sand, pointing to the fact that you recently came to lay their eggs. The interior of the island may not be entered for this reason.
If you look at the island (see next photo) in more detail, one sees the effects of Erosion. The small palm forest used to be the interior of the island. On the front of the island some of the fallen trees and palms, unable to hold out the sea water level. On the right, however, the island is enlarged through newly washed Sand and the island Hiking.
Day 3 | 10: 00 am: Reef Walk with a marine biologist Lucy
Lucy, I was fascinated, incredibly. A marine biologist through and through, who has been working for over seven years, Alphonse. She went with us at low tide along the reef and has not shown us the creature, of which I even knew they exist at all.
We turned each coral and they explained to us, all seagrass, algae and animal species. In the case of low tide is about 30 cm deep water, small rays and young sharks find here at low tide in the shallow water for protection from predators also saw many young sea turtles.
Lucy showed us every sea creature is very gentle. She had a bowl and filled it with fresh sea water and the animals, coral, and seagrass shoots always back to the same place.
Other activities on Alphonse
All the excursions are spread over the whole week and are held usually only once, you don't have to intervene in nature. The groups are also very small – we were always biologists only 2-4 people, plus two conservation staff, or the sea. Since I was only three days on Alphonse, I could not attend all the trips. Nevertheless, I would also like to mention the other possibilities.
- Visit of the Saint-Francois Atoll
- With manta rays snorkeling
- Blue-Safari & Dolphin watching
- Scuba diving (to Alphonse, there is a 5-star PADI-diving school)
- Fishing/fishing etc.
The thing with the fly fishing
Alphonse is regarded as the best Destination for fly fishing around the world. Madness, are you? The made directly in the small IDC-Check-in hall at the airport felt. In my breezy summer dress and Flip Flops I noticed between all the guests in a professional fishing clothes already. 15 kg is allowed as baggage, and makes the fly fishermen the whole Equipment. Therefore, the clothes worn upon arrival, told me a connoisseur.
It wasn't long until I was curious approached and a short time later, I was already a little Pro. I knew what a "GT" (Giant Trevally, up to 50 kg heavy giant predatory fish) and what to wear on best, finally, you are standing the whole day in the blazing sun. By the way the fish after the catch, and mostly a short picture for the trophies to be dropped-collection directly free.