Multihulls World’s stopovers: Reunion: the intensely varied island!

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Off Madagascar, not far from the African continent, bathed by the waters of the Indian Ocean - positioning Reunion (the archipelago it forms along with Mauritius) geographically already sounds poetic, like an invitation to travel. Not as easily accessible as its West Indian sisters, less well-known than Polynesia, this French island is nevertheless worth a detour, even better if it is on your route! Red Sea? Gulf of Aden? Between piracy and conflicts, the round the world route via the trade winds passes via the discovery of this island. Having skirted the North of Australia, you leave Darwin. No stopover deserves to be the last and the next ones have enchanting names: Indonesia, Maldives, Seychelles. But no further. Because this route, which takes you still further north-west is like a mythical siren. When you come to descend towards the exit door formed by the Cape of Good Hope, the further west you are, the tighter the angle will be with the south-east trade winds, which blow all the year round in this part of the southern hemisphere. You’re not a fan of diving, for which the Maldives are a paradise? You can therefore opt for the most direct route, which passes via Christmas Island, then the Australian Cocos Keeling Islands, from which you can head directly for Mauritius, to the east-north-east of Reunion. Together with Rodrigues to the east, the three islands form the archipelago called the Mascareignes, after the name of the Portuguese explorer who landed there in the 15th century.

Stopover la Réunion

The lagoon can be calm and wonderful...

Reunion is an island that sailors loved and feared in the past. They feared it because the weather conditions and the profile of the coasts were not the most hospitable, and the hurricane season was sometimes extra long. However, as the south-easterly winds are of an unfailing constancy, the west or leeward coast is a safe bet for shelter, even though the number of refuges is limited. It is bordered by coral reefs, which form as many lagoons, (home to a remarkable biodiversity), and provide natural protection from the sea’s onslaughts. Three main anchorages can be recommended. First of all St Paul, called ‘la baie du meilleur ancrage’ (the bay of the best anchorage), and above all a historic anchorage, where the first French landed in the 17th century. Its black sand beach is a geological marker of the island. Heated by the sun, it will burn the most sensitive feet. Second possibility, St Gilles, a resort which also offers a harbor, but is not suited to round the world sailors. Finally, you can anchor in front of the port of St Leu. A long white sand beach, the lagoon, an attractive fishing port, and...the swell, which makes this a world famous surf spot. Only to be used in very settled weather, with trade winds which are neither too strong nor have too much south in their direction. In the latter case, and even in the case of a hurricane, two modern harbours will welcome you in complete safety: the port ...

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