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Astove Island, Seychelles Overview

Astove Island is part of the Aldabra Group of the Seychelles. It is 38 km SSE of Cosmoledo Atoll. Astove’s unusual structure has raised questions about its formation. It was suggested that Astove is not a true raised atoll, but rather a reef flat, with the lagoon being washed out later. In any case, the lagoon indeed grows slowly, owing to rainwater, acidic from the soil’s humic acids, dissolving the lagoon’s carbonate rock bottom. This causes the unusual milky-white color of the lagoon’s waters.

It is a raised coral island of most peculiar form, a single stretch of land, more than 1 km (nearly one mile) at the widest, almost entirely encloses a shallow lagoon. This has a maximum depth of 3 metres (10 ft), and the only exit is a winding passage in the southwest, called Gueule Bras Channel.

Today, the island is rarely visited – usually by scientists researching the lagoon’s ecology – but the near-vertical drop-off from its outer reef edge is an occasional destination for diving cruises.

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Detailed Map of Astove Island, Seychelles

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The climate is dominated by the southeast trade winds which are most pronounced between April and November. Temperatures are around 28 °C (83°F) in the shade during that time, and slightly higher during the northwest monsoon season. At that time, tropical cyclones with torrential rain sometimes hit the island, but overall it is very arid.