Reunion is a little island in the middle of the South Indian Ocean and is a small French Overseas Department. And a nice stop on the way to South Africa. It has a large resident sailing community with the best yachting facilities of any island in the Indian Ocean. Hopefully this means we can get the repairs and parts we need. The Watt & Sea is a French product so maybe they will have the bracket we need.
We were berthed along the wall on the left side of the little
basin just inside the entrance. It was a long way from
everything and there was nothing near us. Not great!
|We are nearing the top of the mountain to see the volcano.|
Like the others, this is a volcanic island. The interior is lush and mountainous and there are large craters called “cirques” with sheer walls that are some 6,562 feet deep! There is an active volcano, Piton de la Fournaise, in the southeast region. It has recently altered the landscape with black lava. It seems a volcano blows whenever we are near one, so let’s hope this one doesn’t know we are in the region!
|Piton de la Fournaise, which means The Furnace.|
The culture and ethnicity is as diverse as the environment. They call themselves The Rainbow Island with its multiracial population is around 850,000. The people are a real melting pot of racial and religious backgrounds. Interracial or interreligious marriages are very common throughout the island.
|The voloncanic area looks like a moonscape.|
|One of the beautiful vistas on the way up the mountain.|
On our trip to the volcano, we passed through Saint-Paul, which was the capital at one time, and it is where the notorious French pirate La Buse, ne’ Olivier Le Vasseur is buried. People are still searching for the buried treasure he supposedly left and refused to tell where it was located. We stopped to view the Piton Maido, which means burned earth, and to see the view down the Mafate crater’s “valley of death” named for escaping slaves.
We passed through Saint-Gilles-les-Bains known for its luxury resorts and villas. It is the vacation area for yachtsmen, game fishermen and surfers. La Reunion is not known for its beaches. They are black sand from the volcanic rock and are infamous for sharks! At Saint-Gilles, there is a sanctuary for sea turtles where over 25,000 turtles have been reared from eggs deposited on uninhabited islets offshore. For years and even now in some areas of the world, island people have eaten sea turtles and their eggs, which has let to their endangerment.
Working our way down with a number of hairpin turns, we
traveled across the volcanic fields to reach the cauldron,
Once we turned off the highway to wind our way up the volcano, the road became very narrow and full of hairpin curves. The bus and the cars could not pass each other on the curves. This took us through a forest that felt very much like being in the European Alps. Even the architecture looked alpine. The air was cooler and the clouds were closer.
The cauldron lies ahead here, but it is not a red hot
fire-type volcano like the others we have seen. It has been
quiet for a few months, but they expect it will go off soon.
|Here at the restaurant we felt like we were in the French Alps.|