Me with grown tortoise and coconut.
After visiting Zanzibar, Mary travelled onwards from Mombasa to the Aldabra Atoll. Although part of the Seychelles, it is actually 700 miles north of the nation's main island and is as remote and inhospitable as that sounds.
Included in the British Indian Ocean Territories, the atoll was under consideration as a suitable location to build a military aircraft staging post in the mid 1960's. Fortunately the ecosystem and unique biodiversity of Aldabra was defended robustly enough to re-direct plans away from this environmental jewel, a significant contributor to which was The Royal Society who later sponsored Mary's research.
A specialist in island ecology, she was to stay there from mid Feburary to early May in 1970, as part of the first wave of ecological specialists sent by the society, to study the relationship between the native vegetation and bird life.
The following is a conflation of various documents from her trip. She kept rough field diaries (as can be seen in the shot above), sketched different species of plants in their various stages of development, wrote up scientific papers, kept trip budgets, gave newspaper interviews, transcripted her corrspondence back home and after her retirement published 'Islands of the Trade Winds: An Indian Ocean Odyssey.'
Upon reading these primary sources it became apparent that the voyage out had a documented chronology but her days on land did not; not unless an event of particular interest, like a ship wreck took place. As such the content of her work has been grouped thematically and aims to give an insight into her experiences, interactions and adjustments to a very unique place at an equally unique time.