GRANITIC /INNER ISLANDS OF THE REPUBLIC OF SEYCHELLES
“SAINTE ANNE GROUP”
It is the largest and most northern of the group of islands to the east of Port Victoria. Over the years Ste Anne has been described as “…conical, symmetrical.. beautiful….one of the prettiest and most shapely of all the Seychelles islands”.
Only 1.8 kilometers in length, it rises out of the sea ‘steeply to a conical summit of 253 metres’. It lies 5 kilometres from Port Victoria and is the largest o ring of islands including Ile Longue, Ile Moyenne, Ile Ronde… making up the “Ste Anne Marine National Park”… surrounded by coral and abounding in marine life.
It lies 5 km from Port Victoria and is separated from its sister islands by the ‘Ste Anne Channel’
From time memorial, Ste Anne had “an ancient and mysterious baobab tree” (described as an “upside-down tree because its branches resemble roots! ) which was believed to be the only one in Seychelles and no one knew who planted it.
The island has special significance in the history of the Republic of Seychelles .It got its name when Captain Nicholas Morphey came to take formal possession of Seychelles in the name of Louis XV of France which fell on Sainte Anne Day in 1756 (Sainte Anne was the Holy mother of the Virgin Mary) It was on Ste. Anne, fourteen years later, in 1770, that the first settlers set foot.
The French entrepreneur, Brayer du Barré had obtained from Pierre Poivre, Governor of Ile de France(now Mauritius), at government expense, a brig ‘Thélémaque which brought in the first settlers, in all twenty eight(28) on 27 August 1770. There were 15 ’whites’, 7‘slaves’, 5 ‘Malabars’, 1‘negress’ (=African woman),…...on 27 August 1770 under the command of Monsieur Delaunay. But the concession which had been given to Brayer du Barré was revoked and he was condemned to pay in 1775 the cost of the original equipment sent by the ‘Thélémaque”. He was also charged of having
invented the story of a silver mine on Ste. Anne, obtaining money and credit under ’false pretences’. He was imprisoned in Pondicherry and, after being released in 1776, died two years later.
Ste Anne which has an area of 500 acres was one of the strongholds of Corsair Jean-François Hodoul .On the western side are the ruins of the buildings of the St. Abbs Whaling Company.
2. ILE SĔCHE (BEACON ISLAND)
It lies about 1,450 metres on the eastern extremity of Ste Anne and reaches an elevation of 30 metres. Small, rocky, boulder-strewn and uninhabited, it is the resort of sea-gulls.
3. ILE MOYENNE (MOYENNE ISLAND)
The island which has an area over 50 acres and has an elevation of 60 metres, lies at the north-east end of Ste Anne separated from it by a deep channel(Ste Anne Channel).
4. Ile RONDE (ROUND ISLAND).
It was used as a leper camp and in 1940 the female “inmates” were transferred to Curieuse island off Praslin.
5. ILE LONGUE (LONG ISLAND)
It is 5.6 km to the east of Mahé and lies at the South East of Moyenne Island. Its highest point is 276 above sea-level and was used as the Quarantine Station where there were quarters for cabin and deck passengers. At the beginning it was a prison island for juvenile and first offenders only. The three(3) islands(Ile Longue, Ile Moyenne and Ile Ronde) in 1825 belonged to one family and the population was twenty five(25)!
6. ILE AU CERF (CERF ISLAND)
It got its name at the same time as Ste Anne after the frigate ’Cerf” when Captain Morphey took formal possession of Séchelles (now Seychelles).The Cerf passage separates Cerf Island from East Mahé by 2.9 km. In the olden days it took a pirogue from half to three quarters of an hour rowing from Mahé to Ile au Cerf where stags (cerf) did roam the island at one time though it was rather used as a quarantine station for imported breeds of cattle-cross between the Jersey cow and the zebu, later Friesian bulls.
7.Ile Cachée (Faon Islet)
The tiny island was also known as Faon island. As its name suggests it appears ‘hidden’ either behind Cerf or appear to be part of Cerf Island.
©ZAN KLOD (Jean-Claude, P.MAHOUNE)
©Denys A.BOUDANE (PHOTOS)