Rodrigues is an autonomous outer island of the Republic of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, about 560 kilometres east of Mauritius. It is part of the Mascarene Islands which include Mauritius and Réunion. It is of volcanic origin surrounded by coral reef, and just off its coast lie some tiny uninhabited islands. The island used to be the tenth District of Mauritius, it gained autonomous status on 10 December 2002, and it is governed by the Rodrigues Regional Assembly. The capital of the island is Port Mathurin. Its inhabitants are Mauritian citizens. As of 2014, the island's population was about 41,669, according to Statistics Mauritius. Most of the inhabitants are of mixed African and French descent. Its economy is based mainly on fishing, farming, handicraft and a developing tourism sector.
Rodrigues is a volcanic island rising from a ridge along the edge of the Mascarene Plateau. The tectonically active Rodrigues Triple Point lies on the seafloor nearby. Rodrigues is only 1.5 million years old, even if the plateau under the lagoon surrounding Rodrigues may be much more ancient than the island. Over time Rodrigues has developed a unique environment, including many endemic species.
Rodrigues is situated about 560 kilometres kilometres to the east of Mauritius. It is about 18 kilometrs long and 6.5 kilometres wide with an area of 108 km2. The shape is that of a whale back with a central ridge and deep cut valleys. The island is hilly with a central spine culminating in the highest peak, Mountain Limon at 398 metres. Rodrigues is the only Mascarene island with extensive limestone deposits and caves. A large fringing reef surrounds the island forming a lagoon within which lie eighteen small islets.
The coral reef of Rodrigues is of particular interest as it is self-seeding – it receives no coral zooplankton from elsewhere. This has led to an overall species-poor but highly adapted ecosystem. A species of coral, two species of Pomacentrus damselfish and many species of crustaceans are only found on Rodrigues' reefs.
The isolation and location of the island give a micro climate specific to Rodrigues, with two seasons. Rodrigues enjoys a mild tropical maritime climate with persistent trade winds blowing throughout the year. Mean summer temperature is 25.9 °C and mean winter temperature is around 22.3 °C. The temperature difference between summer and winter is 3.6 °C. January to March are the hottest months and August is the coolest month. The wettest month is February; September and October are the driest months. The climate is hotter and dryer than in Mauritius. Cyclones may arise from November to April, and Rodrigues is more often hit than Mauritius.
Air Mauritius operates daily flights connecting Plaisance Airport and Rodrigues (flight time - 1 hour 15 minutes).
Coraline sails once a week to Rodrigues Island and to Reunion island from Port Louis Harbour.
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