Searching for Pirate Treasure in Seychelles
Bel Ombre where the search for the hidden treasure of La Buse has been on for nearly 70 years. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
The Seychelles, officially the Republic of Seychelles, is a collection of 115 distinctive islands in the Indian Ocean located just east of Africa. It was once controlled by the French then British and was granted independence in 1976 as a republic within the Commonwealth. Now, it’s a destination spot for tourists taking in the beautiful beaches, visiting the natural wonders of two UNESCO world heritage sites, and enjoying the unique blend of cultures and food imbued with French, British, African, Indian, Chinese, and Creole influences.
But before the tourists or even the French colonists came, the Seychelles was a pirate haven and it is believed that the infamous French pirate Olivier Levasseur buried a treasure on the islands estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars which remains undiscovered to this day.
Olivier Levasseur, nicknamed ‘La Buse,’‘The Buzzard’ and also ‘La Bouche’ or ‘The Mouth’ in French because of his speed and mercilessness, was born to a wealthy family. He became a naval officer for the French crown during war efforts and later was an official privateer. When ordered to return to France, he instead became a less-official pirate and raided several galleons, amassing gold, pearls, diamonds, and other treasures including the seven-foot high “Cross of Goa” made of solid gold and encrusted with precious stones during his exploits up and down the African coast.
Although he attempted to participate in the French government’s 1724 pirate amnesty program, they wanted most of his loot in return. Levasseur declined and was eventually captured and then hung for piracy in 1730. Legend claims that when stood on the scaffolding to be hung, he was wearing a necklace containing a cryptogram and threw it into the crowd exclaiming: "Find my treasure, the one who may understand it!" Treasure hunters have been obsessed with him—and so the Seychelles where he allegedly hid his misbegotten gains—ever since.
Bel Ombre, on the north side of Mahé, is thought to be the famed location of Lavasseur’s hidden treasure and is where present day treasure hunters from the Cruise-Wilkins family are still searching to this day. Reginald Cruise-Wilkins began his search in 1949 and now his son John has taken over the “family business” using a variety of different equipment and methods to unearth a maze of underwater caves and cryptic stone carvings. So far their efforts have gleaned a few pirate artifacts but not the legendary treasure.
Bel Ombre is not the only rumored location for fortune hunters! the Anse Forbans beach on the south-eastern coast of Mahé, popular with families for its soft white sands and safe swimming waters, is also believed to hide swashbuckling mysteries. Ile Cachée, or ‘Hidden Island,’ near Cerf Island which can be reached at low tide from Cerf simply by walking across the sand, too may conceal buccaneer booty!
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Even if the only gold you’re searching for on holiday is a tan, let us take care of the details on your visit to Seychelles. Flying in on a private jet at ExecuJet, you will receive a discreet, safe, comfortable and efficient personalised service. Complementing the convenience of private flight, our team can also assist with transfers to the best beaches in Seychelles. ExecuJet takes the time to really understand your travel needs, on the ground and in the air – the service starts long before you take off. Talk to ExecuJet today and discover how we can help you go beyond first class.