Satellite image of Alphonse Group
(Alphonse Atoll north)
|Area||1.74 km2 (0.67 sq mi)|
Alphonse is usually included as a part of the Amirantes, but lies 87 kilometers south of the main bank, from which it is separated by deep water. Alphonse lies just three kilometers north of St. François Atoll. The atoll has just one island, Alphonse Island, with a population of fewer than 300.
The area of the island is 1.74 km2. The total area of the atoll, with more than 3 km in diameter, is about 8 km2, including reef flat and lagoon.
After 1562 the whole of the Alphonse group (Alphonse, St. François and Bijoutier) are collectively named on Portuguese charts as San Francisco. Chevalier Alphonse de Pontevez commanding the French frigate Le Lys visited on 27 June 1730 and gave the islands his own name. The following day he visited and named the neighbouring island of St François possibly following the former Portuguese name for the group. A small hotel has been built on Alphonse Island specialising in fly fishing.
Flora and Fauna
Wedge-tailed shearwaters breed despite the presence of rats and cats. The common waxbill (probably introduced) breeds and is found nowhere else in Seychelles other than Mahe and La Digue. The introduced house sparrow also breeds. The isolation of Alphonse acts as a magnet to migratory birds and Seychelles Bird Records Committee has recorded more bird species here than anywhere south of the granitics apart from Aldabra, including the only record of sociable lapwing for the entire southern hemisphere and the first country records of red knot, tufted duck and common chiffchaff.
Media related to Alphonse Atoll at Wikimedia Commons
- Island Conservation Society
- Seychelles Bird Records Committee
- Alphonse Resort
- The Islands of the Seychelles
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