Turtles, bats, lizards, birds ... and dogs on the loose more or less supervised (watch out for the fangs!), but not the least deer on this island, which takes its name from the frigate Le Cerf, which anchored in front of the future capital in 1756, Captain Corneille Nicolas Morphey, leader of the French expedition, having officially taken possession of the Seychelles on 1 November. From this historic day remains this symbolic stone of possession, kept in the National History Museum. Stretching 5 km from Victoria, about 1.7 km long and 800 m wide, within the National Marine Park, this green island is traversed by three streams that tumble from its heights (108 m at the top). With abundant vegetation and supplied with water and electricity for the past twenty years by submarine cables, it is inhabited by about sixty people, including about ten children, with the de La Fontaine and Calais people still accounting for a third of the population. These families thus perpetuate two names attached to this island for more than a century. "Originally from Brittany, my Calais ancestor married Bourbon and then settled in the Seychelles. At Cerf, the La Fontaine family came a little later and weddings followed", Marcel Calais, the dean of Cerf, told us a few years ago. In a white undershirt and beige colonial shorts, still wearing it proudly, the former logger from Black Africa was happy to look back on his youth: "I'm seven years older than this big kapok with its huge roots, since I planted it, quite involuntarily, at the age of five. My mother had told me to throw out some seeds that she had just found in a coffee shop: I threw them out without suspecting that one of them would give me this 40-metre tree, under which I would like to rest when the day comes," Marcel was still surprised, who, as a schoolboy, had to go to school by boat like all the other children: "We had to row three quarters of an hour morning and evening, except when the wind allowed us to set sail. " Between the wars, my father was a big copra producer... He also made some vanilla and was responsible for one hundred and three people," continued the old man, "not yet" married: "I had too many girl friends and I didn't want to choose. "
As you travel around the island, you can always chat with some of its inhabitants, such as Anne Netcalf, who also grew up there and whom an Englishman married, 5,125 miles from London, as mentioned on a signpost in front of their house. It thunders against the invading Mahelois who, at noon on Sundays, disembark from their private boats in the surrounding area for a picnic, breaking the ambient peace and quiet: "They put the music on loudly and drink until the evening. Plus, they leave their trash behind. "A stone's throw away, his brother, Harold de La Fontaine, prefers to talk about their grandfather: "He was a French Swiss. He brought the Protestant religion to the island. "This former carpenter lives very close to St. James Church, which consists of an altar and a few pews, and where the Anglican parish priest of Victoria still holds a few services, including a Catholic funeral. It is true that Cerf has never had many Catholics, as the discreet cemetery, located on the tops of the hill, testifies to this, and very few of the fifty or so tombs have a cross. Some of them already have bottles, the oldest and largest being that of "Marie Hellene who died in 1809". We also note that a certain Agnès de La Fontaine died in 1991 at the age of 101.
Some of the houses are buried in the greenery and most of them are close to the beaches. Not all the houses are inhabited, but few are abandoned, many of them being in fact second homes, such as the charming villa Vallée des Lys, owned by Ermance, this Seychelloise from Perth sometimes comes to recharge her batteries on this estate full of charm, with its breadfruit and badamier tree, its palm trees and frangipani trees (one of which gives superb pink flowers). On the edge of the beach, a delightful spot that you come upon after crossing the island by the only path that leads from the main village to the more nonchalant one on the other side. Here and there on the coastline, more solitary houses rise up, including the one, planted on rocks and all in wood, by South African architects, right next to the transparent property, perfect for snorkelling: a real aquarium! In the distance, the beautiful church of Cascade stands out above the old east coast road. We will have understood that this island, which we can venture to go around at low tide (if we accept to crawl around in the rocks and get a little wet), is not lacking in interest, even if we can deplore that it offers only one real path.
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