September 2004 - Chagos
The Chagos archipelago is a British Indian Ocean Territory.
The largest island, Diego Garcia, has been made available
to the United States as a military base and is off limits
The islands are uninhabited except for Diego Garcia which
has about 3000 military and civilian personnel stationed there.
The original inhabitants, who lived on the islands for two
centuries before being resettled in Mauritius in the 1960s,
won the right to go back to all islands except Diego Garcia
on November 3 2000 in the High Court in London.
People on visiting yachts are not allowed to spend the night
ashore and, at least in principle, the authorities expect
yachts to spend no longer than three months in the islands.
It is in the best interests of all sailors not to upset the
present status quo by abusing this tolerance.
The archipelago has the largest expanse of undisturbed coral
reefs in the Indian Ocean, as well as rare and endangered
species of birds and other wildlife. There are strict conservation
rules, which must be observed in order to preserve this unique
sanctuary in its present state.