The island of Desolation is located within the Kerguelen archipelago and is located in the south of the Indian Ocean between 48 ° 35 ′ and 49 ° 54 ′ south latitude and between 68 ° 43 ′ and 70 ° 35 ′ longitude East.
Why do I give you the exact coordinates? Because we are talking about the most difficult place on earth to reach.
DESOLATION ISLAND: the most isolated island in the world
# The hardest place to reach on the planet
While in 1914 it took more or less 20 days to get from London to San Francisco, now most places in the world can be reached in less than 48 hours.
Man has crossed deserts, immersed himself in the depths of the ocean and even went to the moon, yet there are still places disconnected from the world and almost impossible to reach.
The Desolation Island is one of these places.
# Desolation Island
The Kerguelen Islands are an archipelago in the southern Indian Ocean. They belong to France and constitute one of the five districts of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.
The main island, called Grande Terre or Isle of Desolation, has an area of 6675 km² and is the most difficult place to reach in the world.
The island of Kerguelen is in fact 3,300 kilometers from a town: there is no airport and the closest land is Madagascar.
# The cursed discovery
The first person to set foot on this island was the French navigator and admiral Joseph Yves de Kerguelen Trémarec.
It was February 17. 1772 when the entire crew was disappointed not to find the paradise they expected: in front of them there was only a cold desert island without any civilization.
Returning to his homeland, however, the navigator presented himself in the presence of Louis XV promising gold and treasures on that distant island, managing to obtain funding for a second expedition.
For the second time in a row in two years, the Island of Desolation proved itself for what it was: a desolate island.
This discovery, considered useless and a waste of time, cost Kerguelen Trémarec, once he returned home, six years in prison.
The story tells that James Cook, a British navigator and cartographer, rediscovered the island years later while Kerguelen Trémarec was in prison. We owe the scary name to him, infact he immediately baptized the land “The Desolation Islands”.
To underline the mockery against his French colleague, he officially gave him the name of Kerguelen in his “honor”.
# The Island of Desolation today
Over time, the island of Kerguelen has not lost its eighteenth-century nickname.
The landscape of this island is one of a kind. Due to the strong wind not even a tree grows, only a native cabbage blooms which has become the essential source of nutrition for the main inhabitants of this island: albatrosses, penguins, sea lions and seals.
The cold climate is conditioned by the irruptions of Antarctic winds with mists, frequent rains and the possibility of snowfall in all seasons.
Today the island of Kerguelen is inhabited by about a hundred scientists and meteorologists who, in rotation, work in the technical and scientific station of Port-aux-Français, built in 1950.
Here, geophysical, biological, meteorological, climatological and oceanographic research is carried out.
The disappointment of eighteenth-century sailors was unfounded: what they had discovered was truly a paradise of unspoiled nature where flora and fauna reign undisturbed by human intervention.
# Journey to the island of desolation
As already said, the island of desolation is one of the most difficult places in the world to reach, difficult but not impossible.
Every three months a ferry leaves from the island of Réunion (in itself already difficult to reach since there is no airport) and then it takes six days of crossing the sea to finally spot land.
Getting lost in this magnificent and unspoiled place is a once in a lifetime experience, the only problem is that you could get lost in order to reach it.