In 1808, a French privateer vessel, the Hirondelle, came to grief on the coral reef off the western point of Bird Island, from which this part of the island now gets its name. It has a beautiful beach that extends in an arc to the north point of the island. The island’s small farm, mainly growing vegetables and salads, is based here and now a new venture has opened.
Two of the island’s staff, Darrell and Jennifer, have built a rustic shelter of timber and coconut thatch. Much of the timber is driftwood collected from the beach and the shelter is decorated with beach-washed shells and coral hanging from any potential support. Here, they sell freshly prepared coconut water and home-made snacks, trinkets made from shells, driftwood and whatever arty material that can be found on the island, and they are increasingly including clothing, especially beachwear, in their stock.
This little enterprise is already proving popular, both with tourists and some of Bird Island’s largest tortoises, including the world-famous Esmeralda who some years ago entered the Guinness Book of Records as the largest tortoise in the world!
Although on the other side of the island from the hotel, Darrell & Jennifer’s is only about 500 metres away by means of a good track through the forest. Drinks can be taken down to the beach to be enjoyed with a wonderful view of white coral sand, blue water and waves breaking over the reef that proved fateful for the Hirondelle over 200 years ago.