Last Week In Reunion

7 August 2017   Le Port, Reunion
We hired a car for four days and ran some errands.  Cars are difficult to get at the moment because it’s the French school holidays, so we’re glad that we had the foresight to book the car four weeks ago.  We did a big food shop in the afternoon, buying provisions to last us for a couple of months until we get to South Africa.

8 August 2017   Le Port, Reunion
We were up at the crack of dawn and set off on a tourist trip with Karen and Graham from “Red Herring”.  Unfortunately the weather was terrible - we had low scudding clouds and rain as we headed towards the active volcano at the south end of the island.  The volcano erupted a couple of weeks ago, so we were hoping to walk around the outer rim of the volcano, but the weather got worse and worse as we ascended.

Old Lava Flow crossing a road

Despite the grotty weather, we persevered and drove up the winding road to the volcano.  The road turned into a muddy dirt track with large potholes causing us to reduce our speed to 5 miles per hour.  The rain was lashing, the clouds were swirling around us and after ten minutes of bouncing about, we decided to abandon and run away.  It was a pity because it’s supposed to be an impressive view.

As we drove down, we parked to visit the Volcano Museum, but everyone else was doing the same, so there was a huge queue stretching out of the entrance - run away!  We headed for the south coast, which is where the lava flows when there is a large eruption.  There are some impressive lava flows which have run down to the sea and destroyed the coastal road many times.  We stopped off at a couple of tourist spots and had a pleasant, short hike along the coast.  

Heading back north, we ran into terrible traffic around the city of St Pierre, which caused us to abandon our planned visit to a rum distillery - bummer.  Apparently, the chaos was caused by Cane Sugar workers blockading the roads protesting that the government won’t increase the subsidies that the industry receives.  France really needs someone like Margaret Thatcher…

We arrived back at the boat just before last light - a disappointing day and I was knackered after ten hours of driving.

9 August 2017   Le Port, Reunion
Back onto jobs today.  Our engine starter battery has been running flat, so I bought another one and fitted it.  I bought some engine oil and alternator belts from a car parts place called Garden Auto on the way to St Pauls - they have lots of filters as well.  Meanwhile Glenys walked into Le Port to the Wednesday market - says it was good and came back loaded with very healthy looking vegetables.

Stowing Provisions - mostly alcohol again

After lunch, I checked the pressures on the fridges because the drinks fridge has been gurgling.  Sure enough, the refrigerant pressure was down, so we must have a leak.  I recharged the fridge with refrigerant, which is the first time I’ve had to do anything for the last two years since I had the fridges fixed in New Zealand - another job on the list for South Africa.

With only a few days to go before we leave the marina, I started up the water-maker.   Thankfully, it ran okay for fifteen minutes, so hopefully changing the low pressure pump switch has worked.

Later in the afternoon, we headed off to the hyper market to do our final provisioning - we have enough canned food, rice, pasta and alcohol to last us for three months.

10 August 2017   Le Port, Reunion
The weather looks best to go on Sunday 13th, so I filled in the Customs departure form and sent it off to Jerome in the marina who has organised customs for clearance on Saturday morning with a departure at dawn on Sunday.  This will allow us to get duty free fuel on Saturday afternoon.     

It was our last day with a car, but the weather wasn’t looking good enough to do a long hike in the mountains, so we opted for a leisurely day trip to St Denis, which is the capital city of Reunion.  It’s a nice town with lots of impressive colonial buildings and has very relaxed atmosphere for a capital city.  Other than the architecture, there aren’t many tourist attractions and the only one that we wanted to visit was the Natural History Museum, which was closed for renovations - good planning to do it in the middle of the school holidays…

Old Colonial House in St Denis, Reunion

We had a nice, cheap Creole meal at a food stall on the sea front, where the wind was so strong that the occasional gust would blow the rice from our forks.   St Denis is on the north coast and subject to the full force of the south east trades - very different to the sheltered life in the Le Port Marina, where it was flat calm when we drove back.  After some more last minute provisioning,, we dropped the car off in the evening.

11 August 2017   Le Port, Reunion
With only two days to go before we leave for Madagascar, I dropped the dinghy into the water and checked the outboard, doing a bit of maintenance.  I then lashed the dinghy on deck ready to brave the 3 metre swell and 25 knot winds.

After doing a few more errands, I pulled our dive compressor out of the cockpit locker and gave it a service, changing the air filter and the oil.  This took most of the afternoon, mostly because it’s a pain to lift the compressor out of the locker and then replace it.

In evening, went out for a meal with “Hokulea” and “Jackster”.  Eric and Chantal are heading back to the Maldives and staying in the Indian Ocean for another year, so we might not see them again.

12 August 2017   Le Port, Reunion
The Customs officer turned up at 09:00 (as arranged) and ten minutes later, we were cleared out.  We motored around to the fuel dock and filled up with duty free diesel.  With nothing else to do, we had a lazy afternoon.  Glenys has developed a cold and feels a little fluey, so she went to bed in the afternoon.  I hope that she’s better tomorrow.

We had a quiet evening.  Glenys cooked enough to feed us for three nights at sea and we went to bed early.