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SEYCHELLES ... DESROCHES ISLAND
Mark Bechtel
February 17, 2012
There's a lot more to see than the seashells, starting with the amazing schools—bonefish, tuna, marlin and plenty other big-game names
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February 17, 2012

Seychelles ... Desroches Island

There's a lot more to see than the seashells, starting with the amazing schools—bonefish, tuna, marlin and plenty other big-game names

Northeast of Madagascar lies a chain of islands and atolls called the Amirantes. They were named by the explorer Vasco da Gama for himself (Amirante means admiral), an act of vanity that is easy to understand: If you found something this amazing, you'd want your name attached to it, too.

One of the largest, and most dazzling, is Desroches, an island of barely one square mile that SI visited in the late summer. We realized upon landing that we were in for a quaint stay: The airport was actually a hut next to a paved airstrip, and our transport was a tractor and a couple of golf carts, as there are no cars on the island.

While it would have been easy to simply spend any downtime in the sprawling villas that form the resort (butlers and private chefs who prepared meals with organic produce from the resort's garden), there were plenty of diversions, most notably the spa and the fishing, the unofficial national sport in the Seychelles.

The Escape Spa is folded seamlessly into the outdoors, its open reception area set to the sound track of the ocean's waves lapping against the shore, natural light flooding each of the treatment rooms and outdoor showers (no windowless subbasements here).

Then there is the fishing, the Indian Ocean's best. Bonefishing is the adventure in the flats, the average size of the silver ghosts roughly three times what you'll find in the Americas. For those who would endeavor beyond reef's edge, sailfish, marlin and tuna, among other big-game fish, are worthy opponents.

A tortoise sanctuary is home to dozens of hawksbill and green turtles. The resort goes to great lengths to protect the habitat of the animals (guests can sponsor and "adopt" a turtle), in keeping with the larger goal of being ecologically responsible. It makes sense: When you have something this heavenly, you want to make sure it stays pristine.

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