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Focus: The pirate hunt is on, and not just in the Caribbean!

3 - In the footsteps of Hodoul in the Seychelles

The pirate hunt is on, and not just in the Caribbean! © Copyright

Between 1680 and 1730, the Seychelles became the hideout for pirates chased from the Caribbean. Throughout the archipelago you'll come across the names of the legendary pirates Hodoul, Boudin, Avery, Kid and Taylor. The names of bars and restaurants carry reminders of the island's connection with piracy (The Pirate Arms, Le Corsaire). On topographical maps of the island you'll see features such as Pirate Bay, just south-east of Mahé, where buccaneers once revitalised. In Victoria's (the capital of the Seychelles) telephone directory the pages of Hodouls goes on and on. After having robbed a huge number of ships, the pirate Jean-François Hodoul bequeathed Mamelles castle in 1804, to the south of Victoria. Still today one can engage in private prayer at his graveside in Bel Air cemetery, the oldest in the archipelago. On his vault, which is protected by the leaves of palm trees, is written, next to an engraving of a boat, 'Il fut juste' (It was fair). Treasure hunting truly is a national obsession in the Seychelles. The island, like so many, has its own saying based on its past: anyone who comes into money, not matter how, is said to have found treasure in his back garden! 150 miles from Mahé, Desroches Island resort is small seaside paradise. In front of every suite you'll find 2 bicycles at your disposal; practical for exploring the island. Indeed, why not try and uncover some treasure? Failing that, there is giant tortoise enclosure, a chapel and another mysterious little cemetery. The hotel sometimes organises treasure hunts. Isolated on a virgin island of imposing mountains covered in equatorial rainforest, the resort of Labriz Silhouette offers a taste of adventure in the utmost comfort, and to believe an old legend, pirate Jean-François Hodoul's booty is buried here. 35 miles from Mahé, Frégate also contains some hidden secrets. Just off a road close to Parc Bay one can see the remains of pirate dwellings, a well, several strange kabbalistic signs engraved into the rocks, some graves and a few caves where, no doubt, they concealed a share of their takings. With little of the booty ever found, what's to say you can't find it yourself!

On the trail of The Buzzard's treasure in La Réunion Henri de Monfreid and the Red Sea