Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Sun 4 Nov 2012 20:07
It is a short hop (less than 24 hours) from Mauritius to Reunion, but the waves were quite nasty and this led to seasickness and sail damage on many boats. We had our share of seasickness on Anastasia and the wave motion caused the clew ring to be ripped off the mainsail, meaning we had to sail reefed for half the trip. Also the autohelm started randomly disconnecting with a message about rudder position loss and one of the winches jammed up with all the salt they have absorbed on our travels. We had a few repairs to sort out on arrival in Reunion.
Reunion is technically just another region of France which means there are good connections to Europe and a lot of facilities for tourists on the island (although, surprisingly, the worst internet support I have experienced in our travels). The good news was that, with no import/export rigmaroles to contend with, I could get the new autohelm part shipped from Belgium in just five days. The downside to Reunion being France was that Anastasia is French registered so we could not get duty free fuel, whereas the non-French boats could.
We hired a car to be able to visit more places, although in the end we did not have time to do any long trips and the car was mostly used for visits to the supermarket and restaurants.
Reunion has an active volcano which we saw both from the ground, on a bus tour arranged by the ARC, and from the air in a helicopter tour of the island. The helicopter tour really brought home the roughness of the terrain of this young island. There are villages scattered about the three caldera that are only accessible on foot or by helicopter.
October 31 brought Halloween and, with several American boats on World ARC, this obviously had to be celebrated with a fancy dress party. There were some impressive costumes on show, with some people actually planning far enough ahead to have new crew members bring outfits from home. The Anastasia crew contributed Batman, Tooth Fairy, Hit Girl, Strawberry Man and Zombie.
There were strong winds in the port for the last two days which prevented us from installing the repaired mainsail. Instead we spent a whole day servicing all the winches. Finally, on the afternoon of the last day, the wind abated and we spent the evening installing the mainsail (which takes a couple of hours on Anastasia). The autohelm part also arrived that afternoon which meant that fitting it was a job for the morning of our departure. We got it done but we were the last boat to cast off, just ten minutes before the start of the leg. Daniel provided some comic relief for the locals as he was a bit slow getting on the boat after releasing the last line and had to do a long jump from the quay.