One man, one island, 2000 Birds
by Dr. Rich Briones
Imagine yourself on an island. The picturesque view you can wake up to in the morning, swimming in the ocean, the fresh air, sand between your toes, and of course, don’t forget your piñacolada to cap your day off! Truly a dream, isn’t it?
At least one person seems to think so — and has taken steps to make the dream come true. A man named Brendon Grimshaw bought an island, bringing himself a step closer to that dream island life. However, what he did with his island goes well beyond staycation goals.
THE MAN BEHIND THE ISLAND
Brendon comes from Dewsbury, England and was born in 1925. At a young age of 15, he knew that he liked writing and became good at it. He later worked as an editor for a newspaper in Kenya and in Tanzania.
His interest in Seychelles started when two of his friends told him about the beautiful islands. Brendon then caught a boat from Mombasa to see the beauty of the islands for himself.
While staying there for a week, he realized that there was something he wanted to do. “This is what I wanted. I wanted a place in Seychelles,” Brendon mentioned during his interview in the feature documentary titled A Grain of Sand.
NOT A WALK IN THE PARK
Brendon was in the market for an island for three weeks and not having any luck. It wasn’t until an 18-yearold approached him and asked if he wanted to buy one.
“It was a special, special feeling that, oh yes, this is what I want, this is the place,” he mentioned during his documentary interview as he set foot on Moyenne Island. Unfortunately, the owner did not want to sell it.
It was on the very last day of his holiday that the owner had a change of heart. Brendon became the owner of Moyenne in 1962 after buying the island for GBP 10,000.
Brendon and Rene realized that there was too much bush on the island. They decided to plant trees, palms, and shrubs, not only to make the island look good but also to make it useful.
There are now 16,000 of these plants on the island.
It wasn’t only the trees that were lacking in Moyenne; there weren’t a lot of animals, too. Aldabra Tortoises were supposed to be endemic in the Seychelles; however, there were none on the island.
Today, there are 111 Tortoises who live there and roam as they please. Brendon took care of the hatchlings himself before releasing them.
Brendon brought 10 Birds from neighboring islands to Moyenne — but that was just the beginning. The Birds left the island because there wasn’t enough vegetation to provide food. He then fed them until some started to return by themselves.
There are now 2,000 Birds who reside in Moyenne.
TURNING DOWN A BIG OFFER
It is not surprising that Brendon received offers of up to USD 50M for the island. However, he wanted the island to stay as it was instead of turning into a commercialized space with a five-star hotel.
“I don’t want to [sell the island]. I’m happier to get my hands dirty. I’m happier to not be greedy for a wonderful life because I enjoy what I do, I enjoy being with nature, and also, I appreciate the fact that what I am doing is useful.”
Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp