29, Mar 2023
Brendon Grimshaw’s Moyenne Island Story of Real life Robinson Crusoe 

Most tropical island buyers want luxury. Unique Brendon Grimshaw. Grimshaw’s Seychelles island Moyenne Island was.

Grimshaw first visited the Seychelles, an Indian Ocean archipelago of 115 islands, eight of which are inhabited, in 1962. He edited several of East Africa’s leading publications. He worked with Tanzania’s charismatic new leader, Julius Nyerere, who would become president.

Grimshaw wanted more than a getaway.

As Tanzania and Kenya gained independence the year before, Englishman Grimshaw realised that locals would soon steal his job. Knowing he would soon be unemployed, Grimshaw sought a career that brought him closer to nature. He wanted to buy a Seychelles island.

During two weeks in the Seychelles, Grimshaw wondered if he should alter course because there were few islands and high prices. On his second-to-last day in Victoria, Seychelles, a young man asked Grimshaw if he wanted to buy an island. The same. They visited Moyenne, a 0.099-square-kilometre dot 4.5 km off Mahé, the Seychelles’ main island. Grimshaw was immediately drawn to the area’s wilderness. He later remembered that it was far from the Seychelles’ main island but accessible.

“Totally different. That felt different, “A documentary crew discovered in 2009. I found it.

Grimshaw agreed to pay £8,000 for Moyenne at four minutes to midnight on his last day in the Seychelles. Island was his. Buying Moyenne is easier than caring for it.

Save for a fishing family, Moyenne was abandoned for years. In the Seychelles, where tourism was taking momentum, someone would soon clear the land for a five-star resort.

Moyenne, the Seychelles’ smallest inner island, is 0.4 km long, 0.3 km wide, and has a 2 km coastline. It’s barely 61 metres tall. Moyenne has a dense, unbroken wall of trees that surrounds the island and rises low in a pyramid shape over the water. The turquoise skies and sapphire waves make the greenery look like a miniature rainforest emerging from the lake.

It was difficult to restore Moyenne’s natural attractiveness due to its modest size. Neglect and overprotection left Moyenne panting for air. The island was so overrun with weeds that coconuts never hit the ground. Rats scavenged in the weeds, while birds were missing.

Rene Antoine Lafortune, a 19-year-old local fisherman’s son, stood by Grimshaw. They cleared underbrush, planted trees, and cleared trails to transform the island. They bonded. Grimshaw spent his life obsessed with that hard, backbreaking task.

Grimshaw wanted to prevent Moyenne’s overdevelopment. This first meant discovering the island’s untouched beauty and building a modest island home to spend his remaining days. His long-term ambition was to create a natural paradise that would last.

Rene Antoine Lafortune and Brendon Grimshaw. Photo: Grimshaw Origins and History
Rene Antoine Lafortune and Brendon Grimshaw. Photo: Grimshaw Origins and History

Suketu Patel, who met Grimshaw in 1976 and became a lifelong friend, said his objective was to leave a conserved island for Seychellois and people worldwide. “He wanted a mini-Seychelles. He wanted to restore pre-visitor Seychelles and its islands.”

It wasn’t all laborious. Grimshaw found two tombs while removing Moyenne’s overgrown northwest corner. Their gravestones read “Unhappily Unknown”. Grimshaw believed pirates were buried at Pirate’s Cove, a north-side beach. The tombs belonged to two common buccaneers who were murdered by two notorious pirate captains so their ghosts would haunt the island and preserve the loot.

Grimshaw may have believed the myths. “He liked waking up and planning his day. Let’s find riches “Think Patel. Modern maps of Moyenne show two skull-and-crossbones spots where Grimshaw and Lafortune failed to find the pirates’ booty.

As the Seychelles became a tropical island paradise in the 1980s, investors coveted Moyenne. Grimshaw got $50 million proposals for the island. He refused.

Grimshaw aged and realised he had a limited time to protect the island’s future. After Lafortune died in 2007, Grimshaw took action because he had no offspring to give the island to. In 2009, he signed a contract with the Seychelles Ministry of Environment to incorporate Moyenne in Ste Anne Marine Park and give it its own status. Moyenne Island National Park became the world’s smallest.

Grimshaw seems weird. After all, he moved alone to the other side of the world, bought an island, believed in pirates, and spent his life fixing a tiny piece of land. Many Seychellois appreciate what he left behind for their chosen homeland.

“I don’t think he was crazy,” said Seychelles National Parks Authority Isabelle Ravinia. “He returned the island to the nation honourably. Before dying, people would sell the island to support other projects. He did something extraordinary.”

Once Grimshaw died in 2012, he was buried next to his father (who eventually moved in with Grimshaw) and the other two pirates. “Moyenne trained him to open his eyes to the beauty around him and express thank you to God,” Grimshaw’s epitaph reads. “Moyenne Island is to be maintained as a place for prayer, serenity, tranquilly, relaxation, and knowledge for Seychellois and visitors from overseas of all nationalities, colours, and creeds,” he wrote in his will.

Patel’s Moyenne Island Foundation will implement Grimshaw’s wishes. The Jolly Roger restaurant, a Small museum, and two giant tortoise hatcheries are Moyenne’s only attractions.

Moyenne’s experience of wading ashore barefoot on a barren island without a jetty is unmatched in the Seychelles. Stepping onto dry ground and trekking up the progressively increasing forest track transports you to another world. Trees enclose you. The 16,000 mahogany, palm, mango, and pawpaw trees Grimshaw and Lafortune planted on the island surround you. The woodland bottom receives dappled sunlight and is cooler. One study found that Moyenne National Park had the most plant species per square metre.

Moyenne’s nearly 50 free-range giant Aldabra tortoises may occasionally obstruct your path. As they pass, don’t rush either. Hawksbill turtles nest at Pirate’s Cove’s shallows and beaches.

Even during peak season, the island rarely has more than 50 guests at a time and 300 in a day. The Sainte Anne Marine Park has six islands, however only Moyenne and the tiny Ile Cachee are undeveloped. Grimshaw and his friends will keep Moyenne like this.

“There’s something that grips you,” Patel said of visiting. “On the island, you realise a problem you thought was serious isn’t. Moyenne should live.”

Rene Antoine Lafortune and Brendon Grimshaw. Photo: Daily Mirror
Rene Antoine Lafortune and Brendon Grimshaw. Photo: Daily Mirror

You may Ask?

How much does a trip to Moyenne Island cost?

Depending on the tour company and the kind of tour you select, Moyenne Island admission prices change. A half-day trip typically costs $60–80 USD per person, which includes transportation, an entrance charge, and a guided tour. Trips lasting all day that include extra activities like kayaking or snorkelling may cost more. It’s crucial to confirm the tour provider’s cost and inclusions before booking.

Are overnight stays permitted on Moyenne Island?

On Moyenne Island, there are, however, no lodging choices. Yet from Mahe, it’s simple to take a day excursion to the island.

Does Moyenne Island have any dining establishments?

Unfortunately, Moyenne Island does not have any restaurants. Some boat cruises do, however, include a picnic lunch in their price.

What season is ideal for visiting Moyenne Island?

The dry season, from May to September, is the ideal time to explore Moyenne Island. This time of year is more suitable for exploring the island because of the cooler and dryer weather.

On Moyenne Island, is it feasible to go swimming with the gigantic tortoises?

On Moyenne Island, swimming with giant tortoises is not permitted. On the other hand, you can interact with them and feed them on land. Respect their personal space and avoid disturbing them when they are in their natural environment.

Source : thenandnow.space | dm for removals

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