As we left Mauritius for the day long passage to Reunion, everyone was relaxed and well rested after the stay in Mauritius. We thought the 24 hour sail to Reunion would seem like a walk in the park compared to the last passage of two weeks. How wrong we were. This minor 24 hour passage turned out to be one of the roughest passages of the trip. It was like being in a washing machine on the agitate cycle for 24 hours. The waves were so confused and the winds were so strong that the fleet was plagued by sea sickness, our boat included. Seven out of the 22 boats had ripped sails by the end of the trip, our boat included. The sail maker was so busy while we were in Reunion that he gave the entire fleet croissants the day we left for South Africa.
Two days after arriving in Reunion on October 28th, Mark and I celebrated our one year anniversary of leaving Wickford, RI. It is hard to believe that we have been gone one year. We continue to struggle with being so far away from family and friends despite being on the trip of a lifetime. We are starting to talk more about what happens when we get home, wherever that will be. We have decided to wrap up our trip after the end of the World Arc in April 2013. We will make our way back to Rhode Island with a few stops along the way possibly in the Bahamas, Florida, and along the east coast of the United States. We even have some other boats that are interested in joining us as we make our way back home. We are hoping to land back at Wickford Marina sometime over the summer, although in talking with Wickford Marina they don't have a slip for us just yet. Then it's off to find jobs, a home, etc. We may even continue to live on the boat for a while. Mark and I find it extremely difficult to even think about selling the boat. She has been so very good to us!
While in Reunion, we went on a trip to the Piton de la Fournaise volcano. This volcano gave birth to the island of Reunion over three million years ago and is still active with the last eruption in 2010. We passed several sugar cane factories along the way. Like in Mauritius, sugar cane is one of the main crops in Reunion. There are 30,000 acres of sugar cane fields with two large sugar cane factories. Each factory produces approximately 250,000 tons of sugar per year. The island is amazing for its topography. We went from the beach to the top of a large volcano in a one hour bus ride. The tops of the mountains occasionally have snow on them (last snow was in 2003 and 2006). The sites were amazing on our trip around the island.
We all celebrated Halloween while in Reunion. People dressed for the occasion with a local bar, Dodo Palme, having a party with a band. All were in good spirits and the costumes were quite creative. We have to give the first place award to Alan (s/v Bronwyn) who dressed like Christian (s/v Beatoo). The resemblance was striking.
We leave Reunion for a 9 - 10 day sail to Richard's Bay, South Africa. We cannot believe that we are almost there. The trip is potentially one of the hardest of the rally. We are once again grateful to Shadow and Britt who have done a fantastic job as crew on our boat. Britt has been cooking up a bunch of meals and freezing them. Shadow has become the fixer on the boat. She took apart a flashlight that was broken and got it working again. She even fixed our battery operated chai latte milk frother. Not as important as the flashlight but nighttime chai lattes on passage have become a huge morale booster.