Astove & Assumption
Assumption is the gateway to the Aldabra Group, whilst Astove is surrounded by deep waters. The fringing reef Astove averages about 250 meters from the shoreline, and beyond this the floor plummets steeply. This wall of corals is probably the best dive site in the Indian Ocean, and has been rated by diving experts as one of the finest in the world. Hundreds of species of fish, Green Turtles and even the anchors of wrecked ships are to be seen. Snorkeling is also excellent on the edge of the drop. Ashore there are graves of shipwrecked sailors, bleached turtle bones and abandoned buildings. Aldabra Expeditions gives you the opportunity to explore this strange and beautiful location on land and beneath the sea.
The airstrip of Assumption is the fastest link to the outside world for the Aldabra group. Assumption was devastated by guano mining in the early 20th century. Over 160,000 tons of this deposit was scraped off the tiny island and the vegetation removed to facilitate exploitation. With the loss of the plants, the birds that depended on them were also lost. Giant tortoises were wiped out. Seabirds suffered, especially boobies. Today it is slowly recovering. In recent years, birds from Aldabra have been sighted for the first time in more than a century. The main beach is one of the finest in Seychelles and some Green Turtles still nest here. Diving is excellent too.
The wall off Astove is one of the most awe-inspiring and spectacular dive sites in the world. From the shallow edge of the reef, the waters plummet to incredible depths. Huge groupers, reef fish and shoals of pelagic fish congregate alongside forests of Gorgonian fan corals as Green Turtle drift slowly past. In places, large anchors and their chains descending towards the depths, are a reminder that Astove’s reefs have claimed many ships over the years.
Flora & Fauna
Giant tortoises, exterminated from Astove early in human history, have been re-introduced from Aldabra. The brightly coloured Astove green gecko is an endemic subspecies. Astove is renowned for its butterflies, including large numbers of some species such as freckled fan and eyed pansy. The shoreline of the lagoon is fringed with vegetation which is very difficult to penetrate in places. Mangroves grow along much of the lagoon shore, especially in the southeast.