"When you see the Southern Cross for the first time
you understand now why you came this way..."

Diego Garcia

"The Footprint of Freedom". "The Peak of Limuria". Known by these names (and a few others!), Diego Garcia is one of the most beautiful islands on Earth. Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean (appx 7 deg south of the Equator), Diego is the largest of a group of islands known as the Chagos Archipelago. It is a coral atoll, which forms a U-shape around a lagoon. Three channel islands guard the north end of the lagoon, which gives the island the overall shape of a footprint.

The island is a part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, and at the time I was there, was home to about 5,000 Navy and Air Force members, in addition to a small British contingent, some merchant marines, and a civilian maintenance population. The British have taken their conservation of the island's natural resources very seriously, resulting in a place where the wildlife, both above and below the sea, have nothing to fear from man. It has incredible marine life, with over one hundred varieties of live coral, dolphins, rays, sharks, and two species of turtle (the green and the hawksbill) in abundance. The photo above captures the sense of isolation that can be found here, where on any given day, your footprints might well be the only ones on that particular stretch of beach.

Below is a selection of photos from the times I was there - most were taken in 1997.

I've also put together some of my thoughts about the issues that John Pilger has brought to light about the removal of the 'Chagossians' from the island. Those are here.

Pictures of Diego Garcia

Satellite view of DG
Off the deck of the Expat, before it was rebuilt
Channel islands, from the short pier
Deck of the Expat, before it was rebuilt
From the short pier

Visit Diego Garcia in the Virtual World

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