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Our first glimpse...

As we approached Aride for the first time, the view of the island from the water was breathtaking. Although we had both seen photographs before our arrival, lit up by the bright, crisp tropical light, it looked far more beautiful than we ever imagined it would. Approximately one mile long, running east to west, by 0.4 miles wide north to south, Aride is a small, linear, densely wooded granitic outcrop in the middle of the Indian Ocean, six nautical miles from the mainland.

With a total island area of just 68 hectares/126 football pitches, it was dwarfed by the vast expanse of ocean surrounding it. Yet, it still appeared bold and imposing, as it poked assertively through the sparkling iridescent water, which stretched as far as the eye could see. Its rugged nature looked both intriguing and inviting, the granite rock covered in vibrant, lush green vegetation rising in stark contrast from the azure blue of the sea - a very special place indeed and the place we were going to call home for many months to follow.

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