Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Reunion Day 4

Hi everyone,
We've been very busy touring La Reunion since arriving.  The island is a spectacular place.  You know the mountains are tall when GRIB files show a lee extending for 100nm+ downwind of the island!  Reunion, being part of metropolitan France, is also clearly part of a "first world" nation.  That said, there is a definite African feel to the place with (as examples) many Creole women traditionally dressed, African trees and colourful lizards and birds.

On Sunday we spent all day on the excellent Car Jaune bus network with the crew of Happy Bird.  We bussed around the entire island - except for the SE coast.  From Le Port we took busses around the north and east coasts via St Denis and St Benoit.  Spectacular views into the hills.

Car Jaune bus at St Denis station
From St Benoit we took the bus across the island to St Pierre on the south coast.  Very spectacular.  Lots of hairpin bends which were interesting in a full sized bus.  In St Pierre we spent several hours exploring the marina and having lunch.

Mountainous Interior
From St Pierre we bussed up the west coast home to Le Port via St Paul.  The west coast has lots of beaches and was busy.  

St Pierre Marina with the town beyond
On Monday we were cleared in by customs.  The two officers didn't come aboard, they simply examined the single page arrival form, stamped it and stamped our passports.  Our quickest clearance ever!  We moved Zen Again into a pen and spent the afternoon doing a few boat jobs.  We also reconfigured Y Not's HF radio so they too can use DSC routine calling.

Yesterday we took the bus to St Denis and spent the day exploring the town.  It has an array of impressive residences with nice parks.  We visited the Natural History Museum which was quite good, especially the shark and lemur exhibits.  We found a shop selling Breton goods and bought a couple of bottles of cider - very nice!

View through Parc de L'Etat to Natural History Museum
Interior of Natural History Museum
Dodo (left) and Solitaire (right)
One nice building
Hotel de Ville
This morning we're "staying home" so we can use the free WiFi at the marina office and do a few more boat jobs.  We looked into getting local SIM cards for our phones but they and pre-paid data are expensive.  We'll get by the with WiFi.

We plan to spend another week or so here.  Over the next few days we hope to do some walks which are accessible by bus.  We also want to visit the volcano museum and possibly the periphery of the volcano itself.  Next week we plan to use a hire car for a couple of days to get to some walks up in the hills.  Some of the cruisers are taking helicopter trips which they say are amazing.  We did a similar flight in Hawaii some years ago so have decided to preserve our funds for African adventures.

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