Days in Isle de la Réunion, France

Position Direction Degrees Minutes
Latitude South 20 56.340
Longitude East 055 17.027

Image of the Day:

IMG_0315

Dominique: dancing with the garbage we collected on the decent from Cayenne

Highlights:

We have been in La Réunion for a week and will be here for a few more days.  We have really been making the most of it!

Our days in port have been working on the boat and trying, still unsuccessfully to recalibrate the autopilot.  Le Port is a good place for boats, less for people as it is about a mile from the town and the neighborhood is a bit dicey at night.  Dominique and I rented a car…

 

Dominique, Bianca and I had a couple days off last week where we drove around the island and spend two nights at “Le Victoria” a very nice hotel in Grands Bois (Saint Pierre) in the South West.  We had fun driving around the island.

The Schworer family had gone up to Cilaos for these 2 days off and on the first night in Grands Bois, I drove up to Cilaos to meet Dario a little before midnight so that we could climb the highest peak on the island: Le Ption des Neiges (3070 Meters) which was a vertical ascent of over 1700 meters, something I didn’t really understand until about 2am… 

Note to self: when a Swiss mountain guide invites you on a short walk in the mountains, beware…  Dario and I climbed non-stop from 12:15 to 4:30 when we reached the summit.  It was beautiful!  We had hiked up in the light of the full moon to the highest point of the island above the Cirque de Cilaos crater.  The view was stunning and we were all alone.  Needless to say at the top it was close to freezing and even though my make-shift poncho (made from a shower curtain and duct-tape) cut the wind, it was not enough to stay for long, so before the sun rose we made our way back down, crossing close to 50 climbers eagerly making their way up for sunrise.  We were happy to have left and enjoyed the sunrise alone during our decent.

Dario and I arrived back at their Gite in Cilaos at 8am and had a nice breakfast with Sabine and the children and then I made my way back down to Grands Bois to join Dominique and Bianca for a second breakfast and then a fantastic lunch at Francois 1er followed by a drive up to the active volcano in the south – while I slept in the back of the car – Sadly it was raining quite hard at the top of the crater, so there was no view.  We continued to drive across the island and up through St. Andre looking for a new place to stay only to find no hotels and nothing available up in the mountains, given  a mountain running event that was taking place from Thursday night through Sunday: “La Diagonale des Fous”. Giving up our search around 7pm we called the Victoria and begged for a room and then drove back across the island where we slept… 

On the next day we drove south this time through a fresh lava flow (1976) and a church, Notre Dame des Laves which had been surrounded by lava, though not destroyed during an eruption of the southern volcano in the town of Sainte Rose. Our trip took us finally up to the lovely capital town of St. Denis and an amazing fish dinner at: Le D.C.P. (some of the freshest and best fish I’ve ever had!) Finally we returned to the boat that night and spend the next day varnishing and  and sealing hatches, all hoping for the weather window to open, but not yet (thankfully).

The next day the old Norwegian boat we were rafted to had a morning trip so we had to move and once again tried to calibrate the autopilot.  Still no joy.  That afternoon Dominique and I took off for St. Denis to the Austral Hotel and a 2nd dinner at Le D.C.P.

The Schworer’s and Bianca were heading up to Cayenne – a village of 8 families, no cars up in Le Cirque de Mafate – another crater in the north-west of the island.  Sunday the 16th is Dario’s birthday and he wanted to be in the mountains.  Dominique and I had chosen not to go, though secretly had arranged with Sabine that we’d come up on Sunday with a chocolate cake for Dario and surprise them all for dinner. 

At 11am we met Monsieur Legros in the town of Riviere des Galets after having an amazing fresh fruit salad of pineapple and mangos with hot pepper and salt from the church fair.  He drove us in his 4×4 up to the trailhead (about 45 minutes) and then we hiked up to the village of Cayenne (about 2 1/2 hours).  We met a nice dog along the way and were intrigued by the difficulties of having to carry a cake up into the mountains that we could not strap to our backs!

What a stunning place! 

Jeff our host at the camping – he  supplies the tents, with mattresses, as well as breakfast and Creole dinner, was a real treat and as you can see from the photos below, has perhaps the best view from his kitchen that we’ve ever seen…

Dominique and I split off from the family this morning and hiked back down the mountain on a different trail picking up garbage (plastics primarily) along the way – lots of it!  M. Legros was there at the meeting place and off we went back to St. Denis and back to the Austral Hotel where we’ve been lounging and snacking for the last few hours – ready for an early night.

Reflections:

We all wanted to sail, yet have seen more beauty and discovered more interesting people and places here – why fight it?  We’ll leave when we leave….