Lavezzi, paradise for hikers, sailors, scuba divers
Location of the Lavezzi islands
10 km off the coast of Bonifacio
“The pounding of the ship is horrible; impossible to stand upright; we sit on the floor in small groups, holding on to the seats, talking to each other. We have to shout to be heard. (…) Suddenly, a terrible jolt, a scream, just one scream, an interminable scream, arms stretched out, hands clutching one another, anguished faces, on which the presentiment of death appears like a flash of lightning… have mercy on us ! “
Overwhelmed by the tropical beauty of the Lavezzi islands the visitor will have a hard time imagining that this was the scene of one of the worst shipwrecks in the Mediterranean sea (described by Alphonse Daudet in his book "L´agonie de la Sémillante").
On the 15th of February 1855, this wooden warship on its way to Crimea was hit by a hurricane in the «Strait of Bonifacio».
It sank at about midday, but it was as “dark as the inside of a wolf’s mouth”. Of the 750 sailors and soldiers on board there was not a single survivor!
Today a 10-metre-high pyramid and two cemeteries, built shortly after the disaster, commemorate this tragic shipwreck. Not quite 600 bodies are buried here, the sea never having relinquished the others.
The landscape around is quite magical and at the same time totally barren : between the most varied rock formations small coves of fine sand and huge tropical-like beaches compete with each other. Numerous trails wind their way through a dry, thick macchia.
This is a paradise for hikers, sailors, scuba divers…and lizards! Ever since it was classified as a nature reserve in 1982, this archipelago is strictly regulated.
It is forbidden to leave the marked paths (if you can make them out)! Fishing and any picking and/or gathering are also forbidden.
It takes several hours to discover the many different sites on this island and to enjoy its many beaches (take along water and food!).
During high season and in beautiful weather excursion boats depart regularly from the port of Bonifacio.
There are about ten different companies competing to attract the numerous tourists, so don’t hesitate and check them out before choosing one !