Scattered across the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles are the epitome of a tropical island paradise; but these castaway islands are said to be hiding a secret beyond their ivory sand beaches and jurassic jungles.
But in the early 1700’s, this necklace of islands became the subject of pirate legend after a treasure estimated to be worth $130 million was supposedly buried somewhere in the Seychelles.
The story began in 1721, when French privateer Olivier Levasseur, in command of three ships and some 750 men, captured a Portuguese galleon anchored near La Réunion.
Once aboard, they were astonished by the vast treasure it was carrying.
Legend has is that a treasure estimated to be worth $130 million was supposedly buried somewhere in the Seychelles.
Levasseur, who also went by the nickname La Buse, found the ship filled with gold and silver bars, gold coins, diamonds, pearls, emeralds and precious silks belonging to the governor of Portuguese India and the Bishop of Goa.
Nestled amongst the booty, one of the prize items was a solid gold crucifix encrusted with precious gems. It was said to be so heavy, it took three of Levasseur’s men to carry it on deck to be admired in all of its glory.
Fleeing to a base in Madagascar, the crew divided the booty between them, with Levasseur taking the larger share for himself – including the crucifix – before burying it in a secret location on the island of Mahé in the Seychelles.
Above image credit: Pirates Privateers
Levasseur was captured in 1730 but just before his public execution in France, he threw a parchment into the crowd inscribed with cryptic clues to the treasure’s whereabouts. His last words were; “Find my treasure he who can!”
Many have tried to decipher the clues of the cryptogram, with the first translation published in 1934 by historian Charles de La Ronciere, however it remains unintelligible.
Find my treasure he who can!
Said to be worth $130 million, this fabulous hoard has so far eluded treasure hunters, although many have tried to find it over the years.
However a few small items have been uncovered while searching around Mahé, including a gold earring, copper coin, ancient pistols and porcelain statuettes.
A few small items have been uncovered while searching around Mahé, including a gold earring, copper coin, an ancient pistol and porcelain statuettes.
Above image credit: Seychelles News Agency
Some have devoted their lives to the quest, and have uncovered mysterious carvings and stone structures around Bel Ombre, on the northern coast of Mahé, where many think Levasseur buried his treasure chests.
Many explorers and adventurers have come to the Seychelles with their own ideas of where to look and what the curious stone carvings are pointing to, but the treasure remains tantalisingly out of reach.
Somewhere, though, in a hidden cave blocked with gigantic boulders, buried deep in the sand or secreted away in booby-trapped underwater tunnels, there are thought to be untold riches waiting to be found.
In between treasure hunting, there is plenty to see across the 115 islands of the Seychelles. Take the time to drop anchor and climb ashore at Curieuse Island, home to the Seychelles’ famous giant tortoises. Then, meander through the Vallee De Mai and take in the sights of the natural waterfalls, dense groves of palm trees and green and black parrot species flitting between the leaves.
The islands are ringed by pristine coral reefs, making this a snorkeler's paradise. Don your dive gear and head below the surface of the sea to discover a kaleidoscopic underwater world – followed by some much-needed relaxation stretching out on La Source d'Argent, the Seychelles' most famous beach.