ISLANDS OF THE SEYCHELLES’ARCHIPELAGO
By Jean-Claude ,“Zan Klod”, Pascal MAHOUNE
The Republic of Seychelles which comprises some 115 islands are divided into two groups ,the Granitic and the Coralline islands.
The granitic islands are:
1.Mahé 2.Praslin 3.La Digue 4.Ste Anne 5.Ile au Cerf 6.Ile Longue 7.Ile Moyenne 8.Ile Ronde 9.Grand Rocher 10.Ile Cachée 11.Ile Sēche 12.Ile Anonyme 13.Ile Hodoul 14.Ile aux Rats 15.Ile aux Souris 16.Ile Thérēse 17.Conception 18.L’Islette 19.Chauve Souris(Mahé) 20.Ile aux Vaches Marines 21.l’Ilot 21.Cousin 22.Cousine 23.Curieuse 24.Ile Ronde(Praslin) 25.Chauve Souris(Praslin) 26.Ile aux Fous 27.St. Pierre(Praslin) 28.Ile Aride 29.Zave 30.Félicité 31.Marianne 32.Grande Soeur 33.Petite Soeur 34.Ile aux Cocos 35.Ile La Fouche 36.Silhouette 37.Ile du Nord 38.Mamelles 39.Ile aux Récifs 40.Frégate 41.L’Ilot(Frégate( Constitution of the Third Republic of Seychelles).
While the granite islands soar nearly 1000 metres out of the sea the coralline islands , which are sand-cays or atolls, are low and flat and rise barely 6 to 13 metres above the high-water level.
Ste. Anne…Ile Moyenne…Ile Ronde…Ile au Cerf…
Seychelles, it has often been said, is not only a thousand miles from anywhere but unique by a thousand miles” . They are the only mid-ocean granitic islands in the world”!
According to one theory Seychelles is the remnants of a vast continent named Gondwanaland, perhaps 20 million years old, which embraced Africa, Arabia, India, Indonesia , Australia and the vast Indian Ocean The land area gradually sank in parts to form the current Indian Ocean, ….…Mahé and the other granitic islands being the only vestiges of the mountain tops above sea level...of a sunken continent or sub-continent that once linked Africa and India, possibly by way of Madagascar.
Granite is certainly much in evidence in the granitic group of islands,
Granite boulders (Karana Beach)
One travel writer wrote several years back
.“The mountain flanks are dark with granite....... Boulders litter the granitic isles. They lie everywhere high up the mountainsides, in the forests, along the shore, and even in the sea like giant stepping stones....”.
“So profuse are they that the Seychellois even perch their homes on them---for the rocks occupy valuable ground and are too large, too deeply-bedded and obdurate to remove. Toppled, tumbled and teetering granite boulders-slabs, mounds, pyramids, fragments...give an added picturesque touch to the lush islands. More granite in the shape of dark outcroppings and cliffs from the mountain ramparts which run the length of Mahé, Silhouette and other steeper islands.” (Douglas Alexander,1972)
The granitic islands are described as
“mountainous, steep and lush...scenic showpieces of the archipelago....rimmed by glittering white beaches, swaying coconut palms, pellucid blue, green and turquoise seas....beautiful coral reefs”.
The islands in the Republic of Seychelles can further be divided into :
(2)the Inner and Outer islands
The inner islands:
1.La Digue 2.Félicité 3.Marianne 4.Grande Soeur 5.Petite Soeur 6.Ile aux Cocos 7.Ile La Fouche 8.Silhouette 9.Ile du Nord 10.Mamelles 11.Ile aux Récifs 12.Frégate
13.L’Ilot (Frégate) 14.Ile aux Vaches (Bird Island) 15.Ile Denis (Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles)
Ile au Cerf….Zil Perseverans..
The inner islands ……" steep, verdant sister islands and islets….. cluster around Mahé in the blue sea like lumpy escorts. Truly it is an enchanting group of islands, fully justifying descriptions like “a cluster of jewel-like isles and “one of the world’s most beautiful backwaters”(Douglas Alexander,1972).
(©Jean-Claude, Pascal MAHOUNE)