A reunion on la Réunion
Well it sounds good and we did have a reunion of sorts, spending plenty of time with the other ARC yachties eating fabulous bread and croissants, drinking vin blanc, eating (again) at superb restaurants in the capital Fort Denis, and exploring the famous cirques and pitons.
A helicopter ride around the cirques and volcanos was an absolute highlight. What more can I say - it’s the one place I think you forget the cost and just do it. The highlight of the helicopter journey is decidedly the Trou de Fer. The helicopter whooshes up over a mountain and then dives down ,entering through a narrow pass into a gorge about 300 meters deep between two cirques. The bottom is a flowing river, the sides are green clad rock walls and then the helicopter spirals up and around and around the most stunning waterfall - the Trou de Fer waterfall. It is beyond any doubt absolutely worth it!
Although, I also particularly loved Piton de la Fournaise (and the surrounding area), a 2,632m volcano that is one of the most active in the world, and, Hell-Bourg, within the Cirque de Salize, with its mountain vistas, forest walks, and stunning waterfalls, and not to forget (yes, again) the excellent food! The other highlight was the crazy winding road to Cilaos that I thought would never end. Cilaos is a spa town in the central Cirque de Cilaos, a forested, rugged caldera towered over by the Piton des Neiges, the island’s highest peak. It is wonderous to stand in the cirques and slowly take a 360 turn showing just how small you are and just how beautiful it is to be surrounded by a circle of mountains.
Speaking of roads; we also drove alongside the new, nearly 8 mile, multi billion dollar stretch of highway currently being built out over the water. Impressive, and France's most expensive road no less!
Others went paragliding and canyoning and horse riding which made me think that this is a place very like my homeland NZ; it’s all about the outdoors and making the most of that. The only shame of it is that there have been so many shark attacks over recent years that it is only safe to swim in one area inside the reef (at Plage de l'Hermitage). Mind you, the coral and snorkelling was pretty good and it wasn’t far from the marina so no real complaints there either!