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Cruise Day Thirty Seven - Pointe Des Galets, Reunion

Sunday, 14 February 2016

View 2016 Indian Ocean on greynomadm's travel map.

The island's mountains blocked the sunrise which limited my photo opportunities. Decided to stay up on Deck 15 to take some images of the port as we entered. The size and extent of the infrastructure is surprisingly extensive. While we were still at least a mile off shore a woman with a high end DSLR came up to shoot some images with the camera flash on. I suspect the camera was set to full automatic and she had no idea of the futility of the flash over that distance. Seems a shame to see such equipment in incompetent hands.

Unlike the Maldives and Seychelles this island has massive steep-sided hills dominated by the Piton des Neige a 10,000 foot high volcano as a result the visible development is on the shoreline and the lower slopes. The wharf is remarkably clear of clutter and looks to be well maintained. There are no passenger facilities ashore and with an expected temperature in the thirties it is to be hoped there are no long lines as waiting will be in the full sun.

There are lots of red hearts decorating the Horizon Court and the dining rooms. Our cabin steward Romulo has fashioned some small hearts for each of our cabin doors. A small, over the top touch. We have nothing to do until our shore excursion at 12:45. Sat in the International Café and eavesdropped on some loudly voiced criticisms from independent travellers regarding the availability and outrageous costs of taxis. They'd been ashore and were back on the ship looking for ship sponsored transport only to find it was fully booked. To add to the general frustration it being a Sunday and locals are advising them that shops are not likely to be open. Thankfully Jenny had booked a tour and we're not effected.

A quick early lunch and we get our gear sorted for the tour. When we assembled on the wharf for our tour the rain clouds had moved in. We boarded the coach and headed Eastward along the coast of the island passing through La Possession and while driving through the capital St Denis the rain came down as only tropical storms can do. Further along the coast we turned inland to one of the three craters that make up the centre of the island.

Along a road that twisted and turned and appeared far too narrow we wound our way along the edge of a gorge to arrive at Salazie where we stopped for an all too brief comfort stop. The remnants of once opulent mansions lined the narrow streets and although the rain had eased there were only limited photo opportunities. Back on the coach and we drove back out of the crater to the coast.

Our next stop was the vanilla plantation in the town of St André where we were greeted by the head of the family run operation. Under a makeshift shelter she explained the history and life cycle of the vanilla bean. All the flowers need to be manually pollinated by the "Match Maker" a lady trained to perform the job that an insect performs in native Mexico. The life of the flower is very short and she has to complete as many as she can before noon by which time the flower is passed its prime. It takes two years from pollination to final packaging as the beans grow, ripens, are picked, dried and processed.

There ware a number of vanilla products for sale and a complementary punch to try. Made on coconut milk with rum, vanilla and a little sugar, it lived up to its name, it packed a punch. Most of us felt no pain as we boarded the coach and returned to the ship after a quick detour through St Denis. Being Sunday, all the shops were closed and shuttered, the place resembled a ghost town. Many of the buildings had shutters over the windows and doors as protection from the cyclones that visit the island from time to time.

Back on board we changed for dinner and afterwards took a seat in the theatre to listen to an encore performance by Toni Stevens and Jenifer Gray. Don't know how we missed Jenifer's first show but we're sorry we did. She looks great and belts out a song as well as anyone we've seen on ships. Great performance.

Managed to capture a shot of some immature vanilla beans, if you have time you can view it by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 09:32 Archived in Reunion Comments (0)

Cruise Day Thirty Six - 23rd Day @ Sea

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Overnight the ship has changed course slightly and is now sailing NorthEast. This places the sunrise off the starboard bow. The swell continues to rock the ship but the sick bags have been removed. The sunrise started quite ordinary and then developed briefly into a spectacular showing. Breakfast with Jenny is likely to be the feature event of the day. There isn't much in the Patter that appeals.

Some paperwork needs our attention, we have an appointment to meet with the authorities in Mauritius when we arrive there on Monday. Looks like another full passport check complete with Arrival and Departure documents. Tomorrow is Reunion Island, amazing to find this outpost of France in the middle of just about nowhere.

Attended the talk by Lyn Hurry in the Theatre and after a quick lunch returned there to listen to David Knight. His seminar dealt with Hypnotism for Health and the power of the mind to address all manner of ailments. I didn't receive all the instructions for self hypnosis, I think I nodded off. David is also billed for tonight's Entertainment as the Comedy Showtime in the Vista Lounge.

We've seen the movie showing in the Theatre and decided to watch a movie on the TV in the cabin. The Draft features Kevin Costner and was a clever portrayal of the wheeling and dealing that goes on behind the scenes in the annual NFL drafts. It would have been more meaningful if we'd had a better understanding of American Football. It was interesting enough to keep me awake and that's an endorsement.

Enjoyable dinner tonight finally received some laundry back, just as well as I was almost out of undies. Went to the Vista Lounge to see what David Knight's comedy show was all about. I don't know what made me think his show would be any better than others we've seen. His wasn't. Perhaps I'm sceptical but all I see is some pathetic individuals making a fool of themselves.

We have an afternoon tour on Reunion Island tomorrow. Be interesting to see how this differs from other tropical islands in remote places. I hope this is not becoming totally boring but I've selected another sunrise image, if you have time you can view it by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 09:19 Archived in Reunion Comments (0)

Cruise Day Thirty Five - 22nd Day @ Sea

Friday, 12 February 2016

This morning was similar to yesterday, the ship is sailing at 18 knots on an East NorthEasterly course, there's a SouthWesterly breeze resulting in very little wind across the deck. There were more clouds this morning which combined with the sun to provide some interesting images. There were few people about but one of the regular walkers stopped for a chat.

Returned to the cabin and had a quick look at the images, I should find one I can use. Off to breakfast and decided to sit out on the open deck for a change. I have difficulty getting comfortable on the deck lounges but lasted a while before heading to the Vista Lounge. The Executive Chef and Maitre d'Hotel provided an entertaining culinary demonstration. We've seen these in the past and some have been brilliant, today's rated about 6 out of 10.

From 11:00 to 13:00 there was an impromptu Exotic Fruit Station on Deck 12. I managed to snap some shots of the display before it was devoured by the hungry hordes. Jenny collected a substantial plate of fruits we had not previously seen aboard. The Horizon Court featured some Mexican dishes for lunch, many of them quite different to any I've tried before.

The Movie of the Day was "No Country for Old Men" a bizarre story line with many twists and turns which left many corpses along the way and left the end up in the air. Bit like a long winded joke without a punch line. The worst part of it was that five minutes into it, I realised I'd seen it before. Didn't make much more sense the second time around.

Formal night tonight so need some extra time to get dressed. The small buttons and gold studs on the dress shirt are not getting any easier. My whiskers are starting to look a bit unruly but there isn't anything I can do about them. I'll be well overdue by the time we get home.

Lobster tails and monkfish on the menu tonight, Réne, our junior waiter offered me a double helping - how could I refuse ?? Tonight's show is in the Vista Lounge. Toni Stevens led us through many of the old pub singalongs all the way back to the 40s. Not exactly riveting entertainment but much better than last night's idiot.

Clocks go forward another hour tonight and the sunrise is a little later - by the clock. This morning provided some different sunrise images I've selected one, if you have time you can view it by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 10:26 Archived in Reunion Comments (0)

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