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Introduction

Europa Island is a 28 km² low-lying tropical atoll in the Mozambique Channel, about a third of the way from southern Madagascar to southern Mozambique. The island has been a possession of France since 1897, but is also claimed by Madagascar. The island, garrisoned by a detachment from Réunion, has a weather station and is visited by scientists. Though uninhabited, it is part of the "Scattered Islands" of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands administrative region. Europa Island was the setting of a 1968 episode of "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau", partly focusing on the breeding habits of the green sea turtle.

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Geography

Europa is 6 kilometres in diameter, with a maximum altitude of 6 metres, and has 22.2 kilometres of coastline. It is surrounded by coral beaches and a fringing reef and encloses a mangrove lagoon of around 9 km2 and open to the sea on one side. There are no ports or harbours but anchorage is possible offshore. Its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), contiguous with that of Bassas da India, is 127,300 km2.

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Sights and Activities

Nature and Birding

The island is a nature reserve. It is one of the world's largest nesting sites for green sea turtles. The island has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International because it supports a large and diverse population of breeding seabirds and other waterbirds. It is the only known breeding site outside Aldabra and Madagascar for Malagasy Pond Herons. Seabirds include the second largest colony in the western Indian Ocean of Great Frigatebirds (with up to 1,100 pairs), Audubon's Shearwaters (up to 100 pairs), Dimorphic Egrets and Caspian Terns. The island is home to an endemic subspecies of White-tailed Tropicbird. There are three species of landbirds present, one of which is an endemic subspecies of the Malagasy White-eye.

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Weather

The tropical climate is affected by the Agulhas Current with water temperatures usually above 30 °C, southeast trade winds during the (austral) winter and occasional cyclones.

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Getting There and Around

The airstrip is 1,500 metres long.

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Europa Island Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Europa Island

This is version 1. Last edited at 8:54 on Jan 26, 15 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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