I was in Victoria, Seychelles capital, in August 2007, and asked in a travel agency for a ticket by boat first, or by air second, to Aldabra, Farquhar and Amirante islands.
It was my intention to visit all these archipelagos spending a few days in each of them, to admire the famous Aldabra turtles and the white sand beaches.
The girl in the travel agency looked at me astonished, because in the Seychelles Travel agencies they mainly sell tours and airplane tickets for the Inner islands, that is, Praslin and La Digue.
I insisted and then she checked in her computer and told me that those islands are, either private, or National Parks, and are off limits, especially for individual travellers on their own.
After consulting with her boss I was told that, presently, there is a hotel in Desroches Island where they accept guests, but it was fully booked for the next two weeks, when there will be a room free for a single night.
I immediately made the reservation. (It was very expensive, I feel ashamed…, but I saved money sleeping those 2 weeks in Beau Vallon beach, for free, eating wild coconuts and having showers in the waterfalls).
Meanwhile, in the Tourist Information Office, I learnt that there are a few cruises (expensive) every year to those archipelagos during autumn and winter (when the waters are calm in the Seychelles), but not in August.
In fact, these islands form part of National Parks (Aldabra is protected by UNESCO), or belong to private tourist companies from Mauritius (Desroches Island), Maldives islands (Alphonse atoll), or United Arab Emirates (D’Aros Island).
After 2 weeks I flew to Desroches in a small airplane with only 8 places (I was the only passenger, the plane was sending cargo to the island).
I spent a lovely day in Desroches enjoying the hotel facilities and riding a bicycle around the island, where I observed the presence of about 150 workers, mainly from India, preparing copra. I asked them how they traveled to Desroches and was informed that they were sent there by boat with special permission form the Island Authorities.
I do not know why the name Amirante was given to those islands. In Spanish and Portuguese is Almirante (the Almirante Vasco da Gama discovered those islands in the year 1502) and in English is Admiral. Probably the name derives from the word Amir, which means Commandant in Arabic.
The next day I flew back to Victoria satisfied to have been in an island discovered by the Almirante Vasco da Gama.