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reunion island

Paragliding Over Reunion Island (With Video)

Sorry for the delay in my final #GoToReunion blog post. I can’t believe my Reunion Island trip was two months ago. (Where has the time gone?!) I was delayed because it took me a while to figure out how to cobble together my shaky video footage from our Reunion paragliding adventure. Well, actually I never did figure it out. My lovely and talented friend Fiver came to the rescue and figured it out for me. Before I show you the video, a few words about paragliding. I had never been paragliding before and didn’t really know what it was about. Perhaps there was a time when doing something like this would have made me nervous. But over the last couple of years I’ve bungeed off bridges and swung from stadiums and done all kinds of ridiculous things. I’m pretty much up for anything these days. Basically, paragliding is attaching yourself to a sail-like parachute, running off the edge of a big hill, swooping around in the air for a while, then landing. Paragliding solo obviously requires a lot of training, but pretty much anyone can paraglide in tandem with an instructor with no training whatsoever. That is what I did. Apparently Reunion Island is […]

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Golden Hour on Reunion Island

Reunion Island, or Île de la Réunion, is a tiny French Island in the Indian Ocean. Reunion is best known as a hiking and adventure destination and I’ve already written a couple of posts about those adventures (see here and here). Reunion’s adventures are great; the mountains and volcanoes are breathtaking (sorry for the cliché but the volcano literally stopped my breathing) and completely unusual. However, Reunion’s beaches are not to be discounted either. On the west side of the island, around the village of Saint Gilles, a huge coral reef creates a “lagoon”, where the water is relatively calm and free of sharks. The beaches are clean and natural, scattered with coral and volcanic rock, and they serve as community gathering places during the day and especially in the evening. The people of Reunion make great use of their beaches — strolling, swimming, playing, talking, walking dogs, and just…being. I think this photo says it all. See the tide out in the distance? That’s where the coral reef is. The lagoon is inside it. I spent the first three days of my Reunion trip in Saint Gilles, and was lucky enough to enjoy the beach for a couple of hours each day. I […]

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I Climbed Some Mountains on Reunion Island

Maybe this is an overstatement. Theoretically I was hiking, not mountain-climbing. But the pictures speak for themselves. This is Dee, balancing herself at the top of one of many mountains that we climbed up and then down again. When I first received the invitation to participate in the #GoToReunion campaign, I wasn’t sure I could go. I had just booked my trip to the U.S. (where I am now), and it overlapped with the Reunion trip by several days. Then I reread the Reunion invitation and saw that the itinerary included a multi-day hiking trek through the island’s cirques (calderas/extinct volcanoes), walking to villages accessible only on foot and sleeping in traditional gîtes (guesthouses). This wasn’t an opportunity to pass up. I changed my U.S. plane ticket. After four days of helicoptering, paragliding (post to come), sunbathing, and other relatively un-exhausting activities on Reunion, we embarked on our hiking journey. We had a long drive from the beach town of Saint Gilles up to the hike starting point in Salazie, and enjoyed some amazing sights along the way. The Cascade Blanche, an 800-meter (2624-foot) waterfall.  A beautiful church in Salazie. Quick note about the mountain roads in Reunion: This island has the windiest roads I’ve ever experienced. If you […]

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That Day When I Flew Over an Erupting Volcano

I’ve just returned from a weeklong trip to Reunion Island with six other blogger/writer/photographers, as part of a camapign called #GoToReunion. We experienced so many amazing things during those seven days; by the end of the week I was already struggling to remember what we’d done at the beginning. Yesterday I began the long, slow process of sifting through my pictures from Reunion, trying to wrangle them into some kind of order so I can edit them and put them into my blog. I started with our first major activity — a 40-minute helicopter tour of the island with Helilagon. As I scrolled through the pictures, the memory of that experience returned, and my jaw slowly dropped. If not for these photos I might have convinced myself that the Reunion helicopter ride was a dream. It was that surreal. I haven’t yet sifted beyond my photos of the helicopter ride. I need to blog about it before the memory fades. Did I actually fly over a lava-spewing volcano on a tiny island in the middle of the Indian Ocean? Well yes, it appears I did. I’ve been lucky enough to ride in a few helicopters in recent years (see here and here), even as recently as last month during the […]

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