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Introduction

Île Saint-Paul (Saint Paul Island) is an island forming part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF) in the Indian Ocean, with an area of 6 square kilometres. The island is located about 85 kilometres southwest of the larger Amsterdam Island, and 3,000 kilometres southeast of Réunion. It is an important breeding site for seabirds. A scientific research cabin on the island is used for scientific or ecological short campaigns, but there is no permanent population. It is under the authority of a senior administrator on Réunion.

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Geography

Île Saint-Paul is triangular in shape, and measures no more than 4.8 kilometres at its widest. It is the top of an active volcano, the volcano last erupted in 1793 (from its SW Flank), and is rocky with steep cliffs on the east side. The thin stretch of rock that used to close off the crater collapsed in 1780, admitting the sea through a 100 metres channel; the entrance is only a few meters deep, thus allowing only very small ships or boats to enter the crater. The interior basin, 1 kilometres wide and 50 metres deep, is surrounded by steep walls up to 270 metres high. There are active thermal springs.

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Sights and Activities

For such a lonely place, Saint-Paul has acquired a surprisingly eventful history. The HMS Megaera was wrecked at Saint-Paul (more accurately, its crew gave up in disgust at the poor quality hull of the ship and scuttled it in the lagoon). An ill-fated lobster cannery was started on the island and then abandoned, unfortunately its employees were stuck on the island and all but two of them starved before they could be rescued. The ruins of the old stone cottages are still there.

You can see evidence of this human activity as well as the rock with the original French inscription laying claim to the island on the shores of the lagoon.

There are always seals and seabirds about. Penguins can also be found.

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Weather

The island has a cool oceanic climate.

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Getting There and Around

The Marion Dufresne travels to the islands of Kerguelen, Crozet, Saint Paul and Amsterdam 4 times a year from Reunion.

For larger vessels, there is anchorage off the east of the Island. It goes without saying that you should not leave a vessel unattended in such a case.

For small vessels, it is possible to anchor inside the caldera, particularly towards the south.

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Saint Paul Island Travel Helpers

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This is version 4. Last edited at 13:30 on Jul 29, 15 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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