The Gull Reef Club

5/22/2005

Flew da Coup Coup Island

Filed under: — Jaime @ 1:57 pm

Comoros

In between Mozambique and Madagascar, where the Mozambique Channel lets out into the Indian Ocean lies today’s destination – the tiny, volcanic islands of Comoros. Depending on who you ask, the Comoros Islands consist of either three or four larger islands and a number of smaller islands. The main island is Grande Comore.

The Comoros were formerly a colony of France. Independence was gained in 1975 for most of the islands, with Mayotte choosing to stay under French control. Comoros considers Mayotte part of the island group – which is where the ‘three or four’ larger islands controversy begins. The islands have experienced decades of political strife as they compete for control. Sources vary, but there have been at least 19 coup attempts since 1975, four of which were led by this man, Bob Denard. Thus, the unfriendly moniker ‘Coup Coup Island’ was born. Within the last few years, however, the factions have come to some semblance of peace, tentative but hopeful. One of the main islands, Anjouan, even hosts a pretty impressive government site, The Anjouan Government. Kansas State University provides a good rundown of facts about these islands in its Comoros Islands’ Home Page.

I felt bad about not putting a lot of effort into last week’s postcard, so I vowed to make up for it with this one. In the process, I have really taken a shine to these mysterious islands. The Comoros played an integral part of the world’s earliest trade routes and are aptly designated as part of the Spice Islands. They come from a grand tradition. Helped then hurt by colonization, the Comoros now hold so much potential as a tourism designation.

This was a tough assignment. Being such a dangerous place, there simply are not a lot of photo galleries out there. One of the best galleries I found is in Czech, from the “Traveler’s Consortium”- if the Czech to English dictionary I found is correct. Still, pictures speak a thousand words, no matter the language. Please enjoy the Traveler’s Consortium’s Momentky z Komorských ostrovů (which I believe translates to Memories of the Comoros Islands, but I could be wrong on that first word). I also found this small, but pretty, gallery Travel in Moroni. For a somewhat depressing look at Comoros, Jeremy Jowell offers this journal entry and this photo gallery. A more recent look at Comoros is offered by world traveler “Erin” in her journal entry from January of this year.

The Comoros Islands are home to some very unique wildlife. It is the only known habitat of the ancient fish, the coelacanth. The Comoros are also home to Livingston’s Flying Foxes. These ‘foxes’ are actually bats – really, really big bats, as in 4 ft. wingspan big. Good thing they eat fruit.

Speaking of eating, here are a few unique Comorian dishes Comorian food link. Bananas and cassava make up a large part of the Comorian diet. Can’t say that I’ve ever had bananas for anything other than a snack or dessert, but any recipe is worth trying once, right?

Well, our bellies are full and we’ve seen just about all there is to see. It’s time to pack up and get ready for next week’s currently unknown destination. May the hope that seems to spring eternal in Comoros actualize itself sooner than later.

Kwa Heri!

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