La Grande Mitsio and Organ Pipes – a little-known bizarre natural wonder
La Grande Mitsio, biggest island of the archipelago and it is the only inhabited island in the archipelago, where about 1500 residents live an unfettered life of subsistence agriculture. It is the largest island of the archipelago and is about 12 km long and 3 km wide. Its highest peak is 206 meters. Traditional pirogues (dugout canoes) dot the ethereal silver-blue horizon, where sea and sky merge seamlessly. Fishermen drift miles from land in searing heat and haze, fishing by hand for squid, swordfish and African red snapper.
The island is popular amongst windsurfer and divers, can only be reached by boat.
Nosy Mitsio is known for its huge basalt columns, resembling organ pipes, also called the Organ Pipes. A jewel of the Indian Ocean hidden in Mitsio archipelago, Organ Pipes is a bizarre natural wonder formed 125 million years ago. With tubular basalt volcanic sediments that project spectacularly into the sky, the site bears an uncanny resemblance to Northern Ireland's famous Giant's Causeway. Both were caused by a sudden volcanic eruption and rapid lava sedimentation. But unlike the Irish World Heritage Site, which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, Organ Pipes attracts just hundreds of travelers annually. Accessible only by boat, a little-known wonder, known to few travelers.
Most travelers arrive on a day trip from the mainland, eager to explore the hundreds of shimmering burnt copper columns that project up to 20m into the sky. Others search for 40 million-year-old fossils of extinct fish species, which have gradually been unearthed as sedimentary rocks push up out of the sea. Afterwards, many plunges into the gently lapping cerulean sea to swim with green turtles and bottle-nosed dolphins.
The strength of nature Organ Pipes’ ribbed vertical walls may look like a desolate oasis, but a defiant ecosystem clings on amid the charred volcanic browns and coppers, challenging gravity as trees sprouts upwards, parallel to the pipes. Organ Pipes is home to an abundance of exotic seabirds, brown boobies, northern gannets and white-tailed tropic birds drinking the purified rainwater that seeps through fractures in the rock. Large colonies of up to 100 pairs of frigate birds nest and breed exclusively in the archipelago, and avid birdwatchers should look out for the one of the world’s rarest birds: the critically endangered Madagascar fish-eagle, also known as the “King of the Sky”.
Watch more photos about La Grande Mitsio и Organ Pipes here.