is, for those of you in Upover, at the foot of the bit of Downunder that looks a bit like Italy. It is about 140km long and, at the widest point, about 55km wide. Overall it is about 4,500km square and home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, some of it unique to the island.
The Senior Cat was once head of what was then a very large "area" school in the middle of the island which served the western end of the island. He was there in the mid-sixties and more than half a century on things have changed. The school is a third the size of what it once was. Farms have been consolidated. Tourism has become the main source of income for many of the residents.
We haven't been back but we occasionally see people who still live there. It isn't as isolated as it was when we were there but it isn't easy. The strip of water known as "Backstairs Passage" is known as one of the roughest stretches of water in the world. There are times when it is impossible to cross it. There is an airport - and that has improved. (When the Senior Cat went there the airport consisted of a short runway and a tin shed.)
And there are all the usual issues of whether there should be more tourists or fewer tourists and how they should be catered for in the modern world. In the mid-sixties that wasn't an issue. Only the hardiest and most intrepid tourists bothered to visit.
But all this pales into insignificance right now because the fires are threatening to wipe out some of the wildlife. Wildlife matters everywhere but, if the worst happens on the island it will have catastrophic international implications. The island is home to the last known genetically pure population of Ligurian bees. They have been nurtured there since the 1880s. The bees are used not just to produce honey but for the purposes of scientific research designed to save the world's bee population - and that has implications for the world's food supply.