“For 13 thousand dollars, Englishman Brendon Grimshaw bought a tiny uninhabited island in the Seychelles and moved there forever. When Grimshaw was under forty, he quit his job as a newspaper editor and started a new life.
By this time, no human had set foot on the island for 50 years. As befits a real Robinson, Brendon found himself a companion from among the natives. His name was René Lafortin. Together with Rene, Brendon began to equip his new home. While René came to the island only occasionally, Brendon lived on it for decades by himself, never leaving.
To talk about the history of this peculiar purchase, we must go back to the sixties, specifically to the year 1962. It was then when the journalist Bredom Grimshaw began to explore options for living in full contact with nature. At first, his idea was to move to any place in the Seychelles archipelago after having covered the war in Kenya for years, but what he never imagined is that the opportunity would appear before his eyes completely by chance.
On one of his visits to the archipelago, a passerby offered him at random – or at least that’s what Grimshaw told – an abandoned island destroyed by mass tourism for a figure of around 10,000 dollars. The British citizen did not hesitate, it was just what he was looking for and he embarked on an adventure like no other.
A rebuild from the ground up
Although we are talking about a relatively ‘normal’ price for the time, it could even be said that it was somewhat high given the conditions in which the island was. The only fauna that could be found was that of hundreds of rats that prowled through the undergrowth. The trees had long since disappeared and the plant wealth was nil. Therefore, this daring adventurer became obsessed with only one thing: replanting.
After clearing the island, Grimshaw buried the seeds of some trees native to an adjoining island. After a few decades, the island of Moyenne already has almost 20,000 trees. Something similar he put into practice with the fauna. From the moment the plantations began to bear fruit, Grimshaw moved some birds also from the neighboring island to breed there. However, this was a more difficult process, since the birds returned by inertia to the place they had always inhabited. Today we can find more than 2000 birds of different species.
Grimshaw poses next to the turtles that he himself transferred to his island
A very peculiar species of turtle also settled in Moyenne, always following all the guidelines of the different flora and fauna conservation organizations. The chosen one was the giant Aldabra tortoise, and the reason for this choice was given in part because on some of the islands of the archipelago they were becoming extinct. Here they would have a safe place to live, and it has been through the years.
Integrity over money
With electricity and a line of telephone communication, Grimshaw stabilized his life on this small island no more than 400 meters long. That’s where he decided he wanted to end his days. He received the curious for years, always respecting the sanctuary that he had built. The journalist became news, and with him the island did. According to what he told some English media, they came to offer him 50 million dollars on two different occasions. But he always refused. For him it was not a question of money, since after many decades of work he had finally created what is now considered the smallest national park in the world.