The lack of vegetation on the island is mainly due to the introduced colonies of rabbits, goats and mice. Still, the island is home of 33 different endemic species of plants.
In 1996 the refered mammals started to be eliminated from the island and the Nature Reserve hopes the restoring of the original vegetation.
This island is well known to be the home of a very small colony of monk seals, which was the main reason that it became a Nature Reserve. Today the number is around 20. The guards told me they sometimes appear near this cave (not far from the guard's house) which is only accessible by rubber boat. I never was lucky enough to see any!!!
The roughness of the island, mainly due to the sea and winds, and the lack of fresh water were the factors that contributed for it's desertification. Yet it the colonization was tried, however unsuccessful.
Today only the Nature Reserve guards live there.
The only way to get to the island is by boat. If you have your own boat, make sure the PNM (Nature Reserve) administration will let you go to land.
There's also some boats in Funchal (called maritimo-turisticas) that organize tours around Madeira Island and to Desertas, however I don't any further information about it.
These kind of "avalanche" happens sometimes on this island, so we have to be prepared to it and stay safe.
Favorite thing: With volcanic formation, the island is dominated by red and yellow ashes. It has a long coastal stripe, very rocky, formed by very inclined scarps, almost vertical which makes difficult the access to some parts of the island.