Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cyclone Felleng

Well, folks, this is probably going to be my last post from RĂ©union Island.  In three days I will be embarking on an adventure in Madagascar, where I probably won't be able to post at all.  So, this will be it for a couple of weeks.

At the beginning of February there was another cyclone that came through the Island.  It had originally been classified as a category four.  It passed the Seychelles and created messes there, swept by the tip of Madagascar, and ended up making waves in Mozambique.  By the time it got to the channel between Mada and RĂ©union, it had been downgraded to a severe tropical storm.  However, it wreaked as much havoc as Dumile had done the previous month.  I live in Terre Sainte, a neighbourhood of St. Pierre that can be accessed by a bridge, the freeway, and a road cut through the bottom of a ravine.  After Felleng came through, the road at the bottom of the ravine became a muddy waterfall mess, and I walked around it and photographed it from every angle that I could.  It must be a pretty rare occurrence, because the locals showed up in droves to check it out.  One of them let me photograph her in front of the waterfall, not believing that I didn't work for a news station. These are some of my favorite photographs from my time here.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tour des Cirques: Mafate take two

I mentioned in my last post about a hike that Amanda, Helena, and I took through Mafate.  Since I took so many images, I decided to do a second post about that hike specifically.  Our hiking experience was beyond epic.  Amanda, Helena, and I have all lived in the same town in Montana for quite awhile, but Amanda and I hadn't met Helena until we came down here.  The three of us formed a bond while in Mafate, constantly saying things like, "Bozeman takes Mafate."  Our first day took us to Ilet des Orangers, an eleven mile hike from Sans Souci.  The walk is fairly easy, flat most of the way with climbs only at the beginning and end.  We had a nice evening of reading and passed out fairly early to prepare for the next day.  We were told that the hike from Orangers to Marla, our next destination, was going to be difficult and would take four and a half hours.  After five hours of intense up and down hiking, we discovered that perhaps the time frame was bit off.  Then it started raining.  The hike after the rain started was a bit sketchy in areas.  The last climb was literally up a rain waterfall.  We arrived in Marla dripping wet, slightly chilled, and ready for sleep after hiking for seven and a half hours.  Our host gladly offered us a lemon herbal tea, and we all snuggled in our bunks, excited to be dry and warm for the first time in hours.  The next morning we were treated to a phenomenal breakfast of banana pancakes, homemade grain bread, homemade jams, and some of the best coffee I have had on the island.  Thus fortified, we continued up to the Col du Taibit, the mountain pass.  Once I had made it to the top, I was lagging a bit behind the others, I couldn't stop smiling.  We had literally hiked from one end of the cirque to the other, we had hiked from Mafate into Cilaos, and I had just completed the longest hike I had ever done in my life.  It was a beautiful feeling.  


End of day one 

Gite owner in Orangers
Marla view from just above Ilet des Orangers

Marla from the hike to Col du Taibit

Eating ostrich billtong on the hike

Cilaos, our final destination

Falling asleep in the bus at the end