For 13 thousand dollars, Englishman Brendon Grimshaw bought a tiny uninhabited island in the Seychelles and moved there forever. When Grimshaw was under forty, he quit his job as a newspaper editor and started a new life.

By this time, no human had set foot on the island for 50 years. As befits a real Robinson, Brendon found himself a companion from among the natives. His name was René Lafortin. Together with Rene, Brendon began to equip his new home. While René came to the island only occasionally, Brendon lived on it for decades by himself, never leaving.

For 39 years, Grimshaw and Lafortin planted 16 thousand trees with their own hands and built almost 5 kilometers of paths. In 2007, Rene Lafortin died, and Brendon was left all alone on the island.

He was 81 years old. He attracted 2,000 new bird species to the island and introduced more than a hundred giant tortoises, which in the rest of the world (including the Seychelles) were already on the verge of extinction. Thanks to Grimshaw's efforts, the once deserted island now hosts two-thirds of the Seychelles' fauna. An abandoned piece of land has turned into a real paradise.

A few years ago, the prince of Saudi Arabia offered Brendon Grimshaw $50 million for the island, but he refused. “I don’t want the island to become a favorite vacation spot for the rich. Better let it be a national park that everyone can enjoy.”

And he achieved just that. In 2008 the island was indeed declared a national park.


Written by Joseph Pearce

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