The Alphonse Group includes three beautiful islands: Alphonse, Bijoutier and Saint François. It's located 210 miles south-west of Mahe and 96 miles south-west of Desroches. The closest island is Marie Louise, in the southern part of the Amirante Group, at about 50 miles. There is only one way to get there: by boat. Normally it is better to make a stop in Desroches, where you can fill up your fuel tanks and spend a night in safe anchorage. Some very good diving is to be had along the reef in the south-east side of the island, while diving in the lagoon is poor because the coral was damaged by a cyclone a few years ago. In the late afternoon you can leave for the last 96 miles, so you can arrive in Alphonse with the sun light. It is important to plan to arrive before dark, because anchoring is not very easy and entering the shallow lagoon in the dark is difficult. Desroches also has a small but perfect airstrip with daily flights from Mahe, so you can arrange to have a boat waiting for you there and fly to Desroches (about 40 minutes), thus saving one day of sailing. The first thing you notice arriving at Alphonse is the abundance of coconut-palms covering the whole island. During the English colonial period this atoll, as many others, was used as a plantation for copra production.
Alphonse, the principal island of the Alphonse Group, is a small triangular island barely 1.2 kilometres wide, sheltered by a spectacular coral reef. Located 400 kilometres south-west of Mahé, Alphonse was initially developed around the coconut industry and was also mined for guano (decomposed bird droppings). The island remains an important nesting ground for turtles and colonies of sea birds. Alphonse is one of the few among Seychelles’ outer islands to offer accommodation in 25 luxury bungalows and 5 executive suites. The island provides excellent opportunities for fly-fishing, deep-sea fishing, and diving in virgin waters. Alphonse is serviced by air from the main island of Mahé in a flight time of one hour.
Bijoutier Island is a circular 2-acre island, set like a gemstone as if to crown the beauty of the lagoon. It occupies a place of pride within the crystalline turquoise water. It is fringed with beach shrubs and coconut palms. A walk around the island will take only a few minutes. The island which has never been inhabited, boasts a variety of wildlife that includes colonies of frigate birds, turtles, giant blue mud-crabs as well as, now, a world renowned population of bone-fish. Excursions to Bijoutier can be made from Alphonse.
Saint François Island
Saint François is a low-lying, v-shaped, flat reef cay with a fringe of coconut palms, separated from its larger neighbour, Alphonse, by a narrow but deep canal. The island itself only formed relatively recently and is not mature, and its poor topsoil has placed limitations on its development. The island once supported a population of a handful of men engaged in harvesting coconuts but the plantation was never productive. The sand flats surrounding Saint François today offer what is widely considered to be the best bone-fishing in the world, for fly-fishing guests staying at the nearby Alphonse Island Lodge.