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9/8/2012 - 6:19

Surf in Reunion

Surfing at marina´s backyard
Surfing at marina´s backyard


One of the biggest fears of every surfer that spend a lot of time in the ocean is to face a shark. From this encounter, for sure the surfer won´t have good memories. He will be very lucky to get alive at all.

In general the ocean is a safe playground but there are places that offer a bigger risk than the others and unfortunately Reunion Island is one of these places. Come to Reunion can be a real dream for the surfer because of its formation and location in the Indian Ocean, a truly waves blessed place. But the dream can become a nightmare because of the growing number of sharks and attacks to surfers.

We´ve meet a group of Swedish surfers when we were in Maldives. During one of our chats we´ve told them that we were going to Reunion and they warned us about the growing number of shark attacks over there. From that moment on we started to get more worried about the situation. We already knew about it because we have a surf guide book on the boat and one of the bad points that they describe about Reunion is exactly the shark attacks. But we´ve been already in Australia that has the same shark problem and we got through without a big deal.

From Maldives we went to Mauritius, another great surf destination. The problem here wasn´t the sharks but a group of local surfers that claim the best surf spots for them and don´t allow foreigners to surf. Well I´m not wasting my time with this idiots anyway. With the proximity between Mauritius and Reunion, only 130 miles, we started to get more and more information about the surf and again the shark attack stories started to haunt us.

We did a research at the internet and found out that in 2011 they had 6 shark attacks in Reunion and 4 of those were fatal. Comparing the numbers of shark attacks between Reunion and Australia we got really worried because Australia has a much wider coast and many more surfers in the water than Reunion but still the numbers of shark attack are close by.

Even with all this numbers about shark attacks we were kind of easy going because in the end of the day the odds of you getting beaten by a shark are not that big at all. But all this tranquility went down the drain the day before we left Mauritius. We received the news of another fatal shark attack in Reunion!

When we got in Reunion the immigration officers came to the boat to grant the visas. As soon as they saw our surfboards they warned us about the shark factor. The first 2 days were quite wind, onshore wind, which made almost impossible to surf. On the third day the wind almost stopped and became offshore. I went to check the wave in front of the marina that we are staying and saw one guy out. I didn´t even think twice. Grabbed my surfboard and joined him. I could see that he was stoked to see me paddling out. From this day on I was surfing almost every day in this break in front of the marina. But for security reasons I never surf alone.

When you talk about surf in Reunion the main topic will always be St. Leu, by far the best wave in the island. Last Wednesday when the boys went for their trekking on the mountains I decide to jump on the bus with them and go to St. Leu. It was just to check it out I didn´t took my surfboard with me. I could see all the potential of the place and decided to get back next time to surf. But it needed to be with a good swell because to get there with a surfboard on the bus is a real mission.

The surf forecast was showing a pulse on the swell for Sunday and it could be the day to explore St. Leu. I woke up Sunday morning and checked the conditions in front of the marina. It wasn´t that good. I got undecided if I should go or not. Bruno was keen to go with me but his legs were still sore from the trekking. I also heard from a friend that the locals in St. Leu can be a bit tough and it was weekend so should be more people in the water. Also there are less busses running on Sunday which makes the journey even harder. So I decided not to go but I was the whole day thinking if I had made the wright choice.

On Monday morning, Jim our neighbor here in the marina dropped a bomb in our heads. He told us that the day before a surfer got attacked by a shark in St. Leu! Even that wasn´t a fatal attack the guy had extensive injures. He lost part of one leg and one hand. I got shocked because I almost went there to surf and it could happen to me. Even with all the bad news I was back in the water in the afternoon. A couple of surfers invited me for a session in the break in front of the marina. As the waves were good and I wasn´t going to be alone in the water I decided to go for it. I was the first one to paddle out and I have to confess that I was a bit scared to be there alone even for a few minutes. But as soon as the other ones joined me I relaxed and had a good session.

They say that the wave in front of the marina is safe never had an attack here before. But you can´t really relay on it because the last 2 attacks were in Trois-Bassin and St. Leu and it was the first time that an attack happened there. Most of the attacks have some similarities. They even happened in the end of the day, after 5 pm or after some strong rain fall that makes the water murk. As safety concern we never surf too early or in the end of the day. Also never stay in the water during or after rain and never surf alone.

In order to avoid further fatalities the local government prohibited the surf in the most dangerous breaks. We still allowed to surf in front of the marina. I kept on surfing but in the last days the wind became onshore, so no surf. We are getting ready to leave to Madagascar which seems a damn good idea right now. But if the surf gets better again and if there is more people out there I will go for it for sure. In the end surfing is what I love the most in this life.

I would rather die living the dream then live a long life in a nightmare!!!


Posted by Rasta

2/8/2012 - 10:46

Cirque Mafate

Our sailors trekkers send us the first update about thei journey. They put the tent at the top of cirque Mafate at 2030 meter above sea level. They said that the walk up there wasn´t easy but woth it because the views are breath taking. From there they will go to other spots.

Their position is S 21.06313 E 55.3827. If you are keen can go to google earth and see what they are up to.

Over here is all good with me and the boat. I´m stoked after a great day int the ofice, the surf was pumping today and I surfed a lot. 

Posted by Rasta

1/8/2012 - 9:50

Into the wild.

After a long planning, thinking a lot and almost give up, this morning Augusto, Gustavo and Bruno decided to go away from the ocean and the boat, even that is just for a few days, and get into a new adventure. Climb a few mountains and volcanoes around.

Following the tip of our friends Hugh and Harry, from the boat Little Coconut, that been here last year, the boys went for an adventure that should last around 4 days and that could take them at about 3000 meters above the sea level.

Leaving was an adventure itself. It was quite hard to decide what to take with them into the backpack. As it can get quite cold at night they had to take warm clothes also decided to carry some electronic equipment such as GPS and satellite phone for emergency reasons. So the backpacks were quite heavy, if they could feel it yet here imagine when they start doing the trekking and climbing the mountains.

We had to walk around 2 kilometers to get to the bus station were we would jump on the bus to Maido, the village were their trekking starts. Getting the bus ticket was a real mission once we can´t speak French and the locals can´t speak English. But in the end we got it right.

I went half way with them, my destination was another place, Saint Leu, the beach where we got the best wave in the country. Few reasons made me decide not to go with them. We just have one tent and it´s not confortable at all to sleep four persons on it, also I didn´t want to leave the boat alone in the marina it´s always good to have someone around. But the main reason is that I don´t feel like doing trekking, climbing mountains or walking on the bush, what I like is to be by the beach and surf, even in shark infested waters as here.

Well in the next few days the boys will be trekking, climbing and putting themselves in trouble but for sure they will have a lot of fun. They have the Satellite phone with then so any news I´ll put straight away on the website. And if you feel like, send them messages they will be happy and I´m sure that will help them to go through any difficulties that they find along the way. Before leaving Gustavo was already complaining about sore back, Augusto had a stomachache and Bruno almost called off but they pushed their way into the wild.

Posted by Rasta

24/7/2012 - 2:18

Time to go...

Reunion Island: Vulcanos, hikking, surf and sharks
Reunion Island: Vulcanos, hikking, surf and sharks

It is weird... Even when we really like a place and have that feeling of staying longer, when the time to leave comes the expectation of going to a new place starts to grow and it makes the goodbyes a little less hard.

We are now at the boat waiting for the immigration to come so that we can clear out and set sails to Reunion Island. The estimate crossing time is 24 hours. It is 130 miles from here to Reunión.

Soon more news…

Posted by Bruno Melatte Corino

19/7/2012 - 1:09

Life in Mauritius

We got to that point that we don't feel more like tourists here. We met a lot of nice people and we can say that we have already some good friends around here that we will keep for life.

We also met again some sailing boats that we haven't seen for a long time. One of them is Cat Mousses, a Canadian Catamaran with a couple and 4 kids. We first met them 3 years ago at the French Polinesia.

Sailors like gathering, so last Saturday we have a bbq with all the crusing boats that are anchored here in Black River Bay. The bbq was at the Fishing Club where we can use the facilities, wich is really nice.

We also were invited for a dinner at Ivan's place. He is an italian and he is refiting a guest house in Tamarin. He is a really good chef, the dinner was amazing, we could remenber last time we had such a good and, let's say fancy, food.

Our plans now are: Buy a lot of supplies, once we heard that Reunión is expensive, buy diesel, get the boat ready, farewell party e check out. To make it calmly we decided to leave on Monday. It will be a 24 hours passage from Mauritius to Reunion.

Posted by Augusto Schlieper

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