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Forbidden Islands – Snake, Ni’ihau And North Sentinel

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Snake Island is located 18 nautical miles off the coast of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and is approximately 110 acres in area. There is a lot of beauty and diversity on the landmass with hills, and cliffs overlooking the open ocean.

Since there are so many snakes on the island, studies show there could be as many as one snake to every square meter. Competition for resources is always at a premium.

When the sun sets over Kauai’s Kekaha Beach on an especially clear night, a tall, silhouetted tract of land emerges west of the Hawaiian islands, toward the horizon.

For most of the state’s residents, that’s the only way to see the island of Ni’ihau.

It’s known as “The Forbidden Island” in Hawaii, and the nickname isn’t an exaggeration.

A single family has owned the island for more than 150 years and — even though it’s only 17 miles from resort-lined Kauai — Niihau remains surprisingly insulated from the outside world.

The island has no roads (dirt trails navigate its arid, bushy terrain), no cars, no stores, and no Internet. Its sandy beaches see more wildlife than human footprints. Sleepy Hawaiian monk seals dot the coast and schools of sharks have been known to swim remarkably close to empty shores.

But the island is populated with people.

When Niihau was purchased by the Sinclair family in the 1860s, the island’s inhabitants — known as Niihauans — were allowed to stay, but access to the island by outsiders (including anyone from another Hawaiian island) was restricted.

To this day, only Niihauans, the Robinsons (the descendants of the title-holding family), and the occasional invited guest are allowed there (or near the dozens of homes in the island’s only settlement, Puuwai).

This portion of the Andaman Islands is home to an indigenous group of Sentinelese. If any foreigners even attempt to sneak a peak, they are met with spears at the coastline. One of the last remaining tribes on earth that is completely untouched by modern civilization, the Sentinelese want to keep it that way.

India had administered the island as part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Union Territory in 1947. But no treaties were signed, so the island remains in limbo.

In 2005, the Andaman and Nicobar Administration stated they had no intention to interfere with the lifestyle of the Sentinelese. Populations are estimated to be in the few dozens.

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