Devil's Island - See Old French Penal Colony on South America Cruise

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    Devil's Island in the Salvation Isles of French Guiana

    Devil's Island in South America
    ••• Devil's Island in South America. Devil's Island (c) Linda Garrison

    Pictures from Famous Historic French Penal Colony in French Guiana

    Devil's Island is one of three Salvation Islands used by the French as penal colonies from the mid-1800s until after World War II. Tourists are not allowed on Devil's Island, but instead can tour the old prison facilities on Isle Royale, which is just a short distance away.

    Devil's Island may be an unusual port of call, but this old French penal colony is fascinating and was well-depicted in the Steve McQueen movie, "Papillon". Everyone on our South American cruise on the Seven Seas Mariner looked forward to our visit, and we were not disappointed. The day was very rainy, but that didn't stop many of us from taking the tender ashore to explore Isle Royale and get a close look at Devil's Island. Its look and history is as horrid as depicted in the movies.

    Cruise ship passengers and other tourists are not allowed to visit Devil's Island, which is one of the three Salvation Islands, also known...MORE as Iles du Salut, of French Guiana off the coast of South America. The three Salvation Islands are named Devil's Island, St. Joseph Island, and Isle Royale, and are located about 10 miles from the mainland of South America.

    Cruise ships sailing between the Caribbean and the Amazon River or between the Caribbean and Rio de Janeiro often stopover at the Salvation Islands so that their guests can learn about the history of the island group and see Devil's Island a short distance away.

    It was a rainy morning when the Seven Seas Mariner anchored at Isle Royale in the Salvation Isles (Iles du Salut) off the coast of French Guiana. Devil's Island is just a short distance away.

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    Isle Royale Hotel near Devil's Island

    Isle Royale Hotel - Auberge des Îles du Salut - Devil's Island
    ••• Isle Royale Hotel - Auberge des Îles du Salut Isle Royale Hotel - Auberge des Îles du Salut - Devil's Island. Devil's Island (c) Linda Garrison

    Isle Royale is one of the three Salvation Islands, the most famous of which is Devil's Island.

    Auberge des Îles du Salut is the Isle Royale Hotel.

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    Barracks Building near Devils Island

    Isle Royale Barracks Building
    ••• Isle Royale Barracks Building. Devil's Island (c) Linda Garrison

    One of the barracks buildings on Isle Royale near Devil's Island.

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    Devils Island - South America Cruise Ship Port of Call

    Devil's Island in South America
    ••• View of Devils Island from Isle Royale Devil's Island in South America. Devil's Island (c) Linda Garrison

    A look at Devil's Island from Isle Royale. The two Salvation Islands had different types of prisoners and were connected with a basket on a pulley system.

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    Isle Royale in the Salvation Islands Off the Coast of South America

    View of Devil's Island from Isle Royale
    ••• View of Devil's Island from Isle Royale. Devil's Island (c) Linda Garrison

    The Salvation Islands are picturesque tropical islands today, but they were devoid of these lovely palm trees when the islands were used for prisoners.

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    Isle Royale - South America Cruise Ship Port of Call

    Isle Royale - South America Cruise Ship Port of Call
    ••• Isle Royale - South America Cruise Ship Port of Call. Devil's Island Picture (c) Linda Garrison
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    Warden's Pool - Devils Island - South America Cruise Ship Port of Call

    Warden's Pool on Devil's Island
    ••• Warden's Pool on Devil's Island. Devil's Island (c) Linda Garrison

    The waters surrounding the Devil's Island French penal colony are filled with sharks. The prison warden had the inmates dig this "swimming pool" near the shore so that his family could swim safely.

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    Isle Royale Swimming Pool and Devil's Island

    Isle Royale Swimming Pool and Devil's Island
    ••• Isle Royale Swimming Pool and Devil's Island. Devil's Island Picture (c) Linda Garrison
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  • 09 of 24

    Isle Royale Water Reservoir - Devil's Island Port of Call

    Isle Royale Water Reservoir - Devil's Island Port of Call
    ••• Isle Royale Water Reservoir - Devil's Island Port of Call. Devil's Island Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    This fresh water reservoir was dug by the prisoners using teaspoons. Yes, this large pool was dug one small spoonful at a time.

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    Iguanas on Devil Island

    Iguanas on Devil Island
    ••• Iguanas on Devil Island. Devil's Island Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    For iguana lovers - here's another good iguana photo.

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  • 11 of 24

    Devils Island Prison Cell

    Devils Island Prison Cell
    ••• Devils Island Prison Cell. Devil's Island Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    In the 100+ years the Salvation Isles were used as a French penal colony, about 80,000 prisoners were sent to the islands. Only 30,000 lived to tell about it.

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    Devil's Island Prison Cell

    Devil's Island Prison Cell
    ••• Devil's Island Prison Cell. Devil's Island Picture (c) Linda Garrison
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    Devil's Island Prisoner Restraints

    Devil's Island Prisoner Restraints
    ••• Devil's Island Prisoner Restraints. Devil's Island Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    Even the hospital had restraints to lock the prisoners down at night. This picture was particularly sobering for me.

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    Devils Island Hospital and Jail House

    Devil's Island Hospital and Jail House
    ••• Devil's Island Hospital and Jail House. Devil's Island Picture (c) Linda Garrison
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    Devils Island - Prisoners' Toilets

    Devils Island - Prisoners' Toilets
    ••• Devils Island - Prisoners' Toilets. Devil's Island Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    These toilets certainly don't compare well with the bathrooms on the Seven Seas Mariner! We were happy to go back to the luxury of our cruise ship afterwards.

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    Devils Island Jail House

    Devil's Island Jail House
    ••• Devil's Island Jail House. Devil's Island Picture (c) Linda Garrison
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    Hotel Cottages on Isle Royale Near Devil's Island

    Hotel Cottages on Isle Royale Near Devil's Island
    ••• Hotel Cottages on Isle Royale Near Devil's Island. Devil's Island Picture (c) Linda Garrison
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    Church on Isle Royale near Devils Island

    Church on Isle Royale near Devils Island
    ••• Church on Isle Royale near Devils Island. Devil's Island Picture (c) Linda Garrison
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    Devil's Island Agouti

    Devil's Island Agouti
    ••• Devil's Island Agouti. Devil's Island Picture (c) Linda Garrison
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    Devil's Island - South America Cruise Ship Port of Call

    Devil's Island - South America Cruise Ship Port of Call
    ••• Devil's Island - South America Cruise Ship Port of Call. Devil's Island Picture (c) Linda Garrison
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    Devil's Island Agouti

    Devil's Island Agouti
    ••• Devil's Island Agouti. Devil's Island Picture (c) Linda Garrison
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    St. Joseph's Island in the Salvation Islands

    St. Joseph's Island in the Salvation Islands
    ••• St. Joseph's Island in the Salvation Islands. Devil's Island Picture (c) Linda Garrison
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    Rainy Day on Devil's Island

    Rainy Day on Devils Island
    ••• Rainy Day on Devils Island. Devil's Island Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    It was a very rainy day when the Seven Seas Mariner visited Devil's Island. We all had to use our blue and white ship's umbrellas.

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    Seven Seas Mariner Off the Coast of Devils Island

    Regent Seven Seas Mariner at Devil's Island
    ••• Regent Seven Seas Mariner at Devil's Island. Devil's Island (c) Linda Garrison

    Seven Seas Mariner Off the Coast of Devils Island