I write from the port of La Possession on the island of Reunion. We arrived here early this morning, (we are 4 hours ahead of U.K. and 9 hours ahead of Eastern). I am spending the day on board as the main towns close to La Possession are 20 kms, or 13 miles away, too far for a blog photo jaunt; photos taken from the Amsterdam herself will have to suffice here.
While on the subject, I was quite naive as to the requirements of taking photos for this blog and just how long it takes to get them to these pages. I shoot in MBs and then have to size and convert them to KBs before I can get them to the post, a long-winded process.
Port Louis, on the island of Mauritius was another matter and Karen and I managed to spend a few hours ashore. The featured image at the top of this page is our approach to the island, taken from the Bridge.
Our passage from the Seychelles was a mix of lovely and latterly, windy weather. Our first day out was glorious sunshine, however, for the next 2 days, it became windy, with torrential downpours and rougher seas. The forecast for Mauritius was much the same, nevertheless as dawn broke, the sun was breaking through the clouds, although the island itself had thick and grey clouds hanging over the volcanic peaks. During the day, the clouds disappeared and a glorious day ensued.
It’s a busy port, which I last visited during my youth; now there was a container port, an LNG berth, (Liquid Natural Gas), some General cargo berths and the harbour was full of Korean fishing boats, ‘rafted’ together by the hundreds. Our berth was between 2 such ‘rafts’ and it was a squeeze to turn and thread between them to get to our dock.
Having negotiated the ‘gap’, we berth port-side alongside and the day begins. A group of dancers and musicians are on the pier to greet us. The pier is relatively new and a dedicated Cruise terminal; the intended infrastructure, shops and landscaping is yet to come, although many planted palm trees are evidence of progress.
My day started with an interview with the local TV station. I am told that a 5-minute segment was later shown on the island’s local news; fame at last! The interview involved details of the Amsterdam and our Grand World voyage. They filmed the interior of this lovely ship too.
Mid-morning, Karen and I, with friends Colin and Paris, set off up the west coast in search of an hotel which will accept ‘day’ visitors and allow them to use the facilities. On the way we passed acre upon acre of sugar cane, one of the main exports of the island.
Our first 2 attempts were fruitless, however at the 3rd we hit pay dirt; for 1,000 rupees each, (about $35), we could use the beach, pools and restaurants, (obviously not included). The Trou Aux Biches was a 5* facility and truly spectacular, beautiful beach, massive pools and cuisine to die for.
After 4 wonderful and relaxing hours, it was time to head back to the ship, my batteries recharged after 3 months of sailing. Before we made it back to the cruise terminal, our driver took us to an old fort, built by the French, on a hill that dominated the surrounding area. Once we had climbed the battlements, it was not difficult to see why they chose this site. Within cannon range of the (then) harbour, one had a view all around the coastal plain. Judging by the temperature on our visit, living there could not have been pleasant; it was blazingly hot and also, very humid.
We sailed a few minutes late, waiting for one of our tours to return. Ineke, one of my 2nd officers (and the only female), took the ship out; her first time handling the Amsterdam, she enjoyed herself immensely with minimum tutelage from moi….
Talking to guests that evening, they had thoroughly enjoyed the island, one which I hope we will visit again.
And so to this morning, after a ‘bumpy’ ride from Mauritius to here, Reunion. We only needed 10 kts to travel the 136 miles between the two and as a consequence we were prone to some large ‘bumps’ in the long, large swell. This is a relatively small harbour, far smaller than her neighbour. We ‘parked’ on a cargo berth, with hills of the island overlook us. Being volcanic, one can sense that here too, there are towering peaks hidden in the clouds.