Our first island in the Indian Ocean is La Possession, Reunion. La Possession is located almost straight east of Madagascar (which is located straight east of Mozambique on the African coast) 500 miles. I’m writing this on March 7, 2010 and we visited La Possession on March 2, 2010 (that’s how far behind I am), so if you’re worried about pirates because you heard about the oil tanker taken off of Madagascar, don’t worry, we’re now far, far, away from that area, nearing Male, Maldives and our final destination, Mumbai (Bombay). With regard to pirates, Captain Olav advised us early that we were sailing far outside of the pirates "danger zone", but that even with that the ship was in constant contact with the international military services operating in the area (who could/would advise of any danger) and to be sure had placed security personal as lookouts all around the ship. With Captain "Olav" at the controls Susy and the women were sure we were safe (because a strong, handsome Captain can do no wrong).
Getting back to Reunion, it is a volcanic island formed 3 million years ago (believe it or not one of the youngest islands in the Indian Ocean), about the size of Rhode Island (a little smaller). It has two main volcanoes "Piton de la Fournaise", which is still active (erupted last in 1986), and "Piton des Neiges" which is the largest and forms the main part of the island. Piton des Neiges towers 10,000 feet above sea level, and measures 23,000 feet to its ocean floor base, making it one of the world’s tallest volcanoes. It is inactive, last erupting 20,000 years ago. Reunion is a French "departement" and all of the inhabitants (about 500,000) speak French while very little English is spoken. The island is all French to the point where they only take Euros (no dollars) and as I said very few people spoke English. We’ll get into the photos now, but I want to finish my description of the island by having you picture a volcanic island with high mountains, deep gorges, and spectacular natural wonders (so they said). We put into a port called "Le Port" (wouldn’t you know) which was about a 20 minute shuttle ride from "La Possession" the second largest town on the island. Saint Denis is the largest town on Reunion, located to the east of Le Port about 10 miles. Susy and I decided to just go into La Possession and look around, since getting to Saint Denis involved taking a taxi. The reason we didn’t want to take a taxi was that they are the most expensive in the world. A taxi one way (yes I said one way) to Saint Denis (10 miles) cost 45 Euros or about $80.00. We decided we could better use the money to do other things so we just took the short day in port to walk around La Possession and view the beautiful volcanoes from afar.
In the photo album above titled "La Possession, Reunion", the first photo shows a panoramic view of the island and you can just see Piton des Neiges off to the right in between those two highest hills. The second photo is a closer view of Neiges, again between the hills. The third photo is our La Possession port sign, and the fourth photo is a welcome sign to Reunion. The fifth photo is a housing development between the port and the town center, which has unique constructed roofs. Taking a shuttle from the ship to town, we were dropped off in front of a church (6th photo) and Susy was off to pray for us all. From the church we walked over to the main street (7th photo) and the eighth photo shows one of the side streets with its apartments and shops. The ninth photo is only a tree, but I thought you would like to see one of the gigantic trees that covered the island (along with tall palms). In the tenth photo you see Susy in front of one of the seaside mansions and the eleventh photo shows yours truly in front of an old anchor. The twelfth and final photo shows you another view of the hills and volcanoes as we returned to the ship and sailed off to our second Indian Ocean Island, Mauritius. Some say the interior of Reunion compares to Nepal or New Zealand, but like you we’ll never know except through pictures. We were ready to move on after our short stay.
I’m starting to catch up with my blogs, so look for Mauritius in a day or two and Male, Maldives (we visit tomorrow, March 8th) shortly thereafter.
Love you all,
Gary (alias Gugu)