La Reunion, like its counterparts Martinique and Guadeloupe in the WI’s, is part of France, a department. It’s not of course, it’s a tropical volcanic island thrown up in a remote part of the Indian Ocean. But its technical status means excellent supermarkets, good provisioning, rillette de porc, pate de campagne and rebluchon, marvellous for yachtsmen. It has European Union money thrown at it, for example a motorway no less is being constructed on piles over the sea, a gigantic engineering project to replace the current coast road which is plagued by rockslides. Regrettably, the thought of such expenditure in an ex-British colony like Mauritius is inconceivable. I’d like to say that the policemen are uniformed in kepis, like those in Martinique, but the only ones that we saw were dressed as if preparing for a commando raid, rather like bobbies in the UK today. The language is of course French, the native population are racially Indian, but there is a strong contingent of “metropolitan” French.
We had a day’s tour around the island and up to the top of the volcano, spectacular views, quite cold a the top and occasionally immersed in cloud. Simon and I drove to one of only a couple of beach resorts, hoping for a good swim. No chance, baignade interdite today because of sharks, we have a shark net but you must understand that we can’t deploy it every day. Reunion is apparently one of the worst places in the world for shark attacks, this because it has an abrupt volcanic shoreline without a fringing coral reef.
There is little cafe and restaurant culture, at least in the port, we struggled to find somewhere to dine, and even to drink, in the evenings. Luckily there is an excellent restaurant in the marina, although it is not open every day.
Charming, a nice place to be, but navigationally we have the big one hanging over us, let’s be getting on with it.