We seek for some warm sun as usual over the Christmas holidays. This time we choose Réunion, a little French island in the Indian ocean about 600 miles east of Madagascar.
Réunion is a volcanic island and there are three old craters and an additional very active volcano erupting several times a year. And another remarkable point: The East of the island where the active volcano is located is one of the most rain-laden places on earth.
The hotel is on the Western side of the island. There it is almost dry and sunny.
The journey is quite exhausting. First you go to Paris and then have a more than 11 hours domestic flight directly to Réunion.
Airport Paris Charles de Gaulle
A Boeing 777-300ER of Air Austral brings us to Réunion
Saint-Denise, capital city of Réunion
The Hotel Le Recife is located at the Western shore and it is warm and sunny most of the time.
Even when raining it is quite warm
Warning sign in the water
For the holidays there are exhaustive dinners with many courses
Cocktails to start New Year's Eve
There are nice animals around
The little one seems to have dropped from the nest to early
Even inspects our breakfast
I fly with a gyrocopter with Zen Altitude ULM in Saint Piere (Pierrefond). The gyrocopter is an ELA 07 Cougar. Quite exciting. I have not done it before. We fly along the coast line as a circle around the volcano does not work due to the weather conditions.
They get quite close to us
We fly in quite from the side
After the gyrocopter flight we go with the rental car into the mountains. I have selected two points where we have a view into the craters of the old volcanos.
Fenêtre des Makes allows for a view into the crater Cirque de Cilaos
Cap Noir allows for a view 3000 ft down into Cirque de Mafate
Cirque de Mafate is like Grand Canyon in green
We want to go to the active volcano Piton de la Fournaise. The volcano is located on the Eastern coast and it is quite rainy there. An in almost 9000 ft of elevation it will get cold too.
The first attempt fails. There is so much rain even at the coast that we do not dare to get into the mountains.
Second attempt. It is still heavily raining but not as much as the first time. But we will not see the volcano
Scenery like on planet Mars
Notre Dame des Laves is supposed to be a miracle as lava has found it way around it instead of destroying it.
New territory as result of the eruption in 1977 which did spare Notre Dame des Laves
Lava from the most recent eruption this year is still steaming.
Cars have Réunion on the license plate.
We fly with Helilagon. The weather prevents again a flight around the active volcano and we do a loop into Cirque de Mafate instead.
We fly with an Aérospatiale AS350 with four passenger seats.
Flight towards Saint-Paul
Close to edge of the crater and cloud base we go into the crater
On the flight back from Paris I have seen some stunning weather views.
Before sunrise the sun shines from below through the clouds
A reverse sunset. The sun dives into clouds above us while shining on clouds below us.
Map of locations visited