La Réunion isn’t all about the volcano, but it did happen to be erupting while we were there. Réunion is an old piece of colonialism still hanging on in the modern world. Very much a small part of France. The new coast road between Le Port and Saint Denis is reported to be the most expensive road construction project in France. Because of rocks falling from the cliffs onto the road and killing people they’re moving the road offshore into the sea. In cyclone territory. Quite an expensive endeavor, but apparently the French are still spending a lot of money here.
For all that it is a piece of France, Réunion is a rugged and wild volcanic island. The population is ringed around the very edge of the island squeezed between the ocean and the mountains. There aren’t really any good anchorages, the two ports are really the only place to find protection from the waves. We stayed in Le Port where there are two marinas. But, in an effort to reduce surge in the marinas they have very narrow entrances. Like 30-feet narrow. And with a 27-foot wide boat….Well, you get the picture. As a result we ended up tied up to the wall (again – we don’t really like walls) in the outer part of the harbor. We had one bad day of surge and unfortunately the foot of the ladder on the wall caught a short piece of our toerail and tore it off the boat. Repairs will have to be made:(
As with Mauritius, we rented a car for several days and toured the island and partook of some of the many hikes (Réunion is actually known for its hiking, and you can get pretty close to that 10,000-foot elevation mark – despite being in the tropics it can get downright cold when you get up in the mountains).
Of course, we had to stop at this place for lunch. In the picturesque town of Hellbourg.