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  • Writer's picturePeter Antonucci

Astove Island, Seychelles (Thurs., March 5)

Today was a bonus day. Because, according to the captain, we had “some extra time in our back pocket,” we anchored off the coast of Astove Island in Seychelles. It is an uninhabited island that is rarely visited except by scientists researching the lagoon’s ecology. Other than that, the island remains vacant, the site of a former coconut and sisal plantation.


It was first discovered by Arabs centuries ago. After they left, European explorers came upon Astove island when they were shipwrecked there. The explorers, having salvaged what they could from their ship, built a new ship and went on to India, leaving their slaves behind on the island. They never sent any rescue party for the slaves and, as a result, a colony of these former slaves grew for the next 50 or 60 years.


After downing a Seychelles spicy beef burger,I headed off to my 2:00 PM snorkel trip. Astove Island is known for being one of the two steepest drop offs or “walls” from a reef crest into very deep water in the entirety of the Indian Ocean. It is reputed to be some of the best diving and snorkeling in the entire Indian Ocean. I buddied up with a good friend and while we saw hundreds of fish, we really didn’t see anything so exemplary.(One does become jaded though after so many days and weeks of terrific snorkeling. In any other location, this would’ve been classified as a spectacular opportunity.)

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We sailed back to the ship on the zodiac two beautiful blue waters.  One woman asked mr friend and me if we are brothers because we look and talk alike.  I quickly quipped: “I don’t know which of us you just insulted more.”

Back on board, the captain made an announcement that he was canceling the afternoon nature hikes and power walks on the island because the surf was too high to safely and the zodiacs. So instead, I spent the next hour walking and running laps on the ship's track.

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