I am situated in the Indian ocean, one step away from Mauritius and three from Madagascar. I am 63 km long and about three million years old. Oh, how my past troubled me. Inside, I constantly feel the pulse of an angry volcano. I was discovered by the Portuguese but in the end, the French adopted me. Now, I am France, in the middle of the Indian ocean. Volcanic eruptions shook me many times, one great epidemic ruled over me. I don’t even want to mention sharks whose hobbies are attacking surfers and swimmers. However today, dear reader, I am telling you a story of what makes me so interesting. No, it’s not Bourbon Vanilla, everybody knows that she smells nice and that she made me popular centuries ago. And no it’s not the rum what makes me fascinating. Let me introduce myself more clearly, my name is Reunion Island – AN ISLAND OF A REAL ADVENTURE . Today, I’ll talk about sharks and my pet volcano Piton de la Furnez.
Between the years 2011 and 2015, 17 shark attacks were recorded of which 7 were fatal. As a result, in 2013 they banned swimming, surfing and body boarding on half of the coast around the island. Then they stated that a certain number of bull and tiger sharks will be murdered for the sake of research, that said, be careful and follow the instructions put up on the beaches.
In 2015, there was one specific yet shocking event that left many in tears. Namely a 13-year-old boy named Elio, an amazing surfer by the way, tragically died when a shark attacked him in front of his friends. Many people think that banned fishing is the reason of the great number of sharks around the island increased to staggering proportions.
This type of unfortunate events caused sadness among surfers because this sport runs in veins of many people who live on this island. For more information on this subject go to SURFER. Allegedly, in the past 6 years, 15% of all shark attacks in the world were recorded on this island, but worry not, the most popular beaches all have safety nets and the beaches are usually shallow lagoons monitored up closely.
Don’t let this shark story scare you, the beaches on the island are a true rarity and should absolutely be visited. Some of them, thanks to the volcanic eruption, were transformed into beautiful rocky viewpoints of the ocean. Even the sand on some beaches is specific because it has a certain olive- green color. I want to single out one beach in particular called Hermitage. As a result of erosion of the soil, this beach looks like a set of a horror movie, complete with spooky trees whose roots stick out from the ground. Yikes!
Now, I would like to tell you something about one restless nature, my volcano. Piton de la Fournaise or Peak of the Furnace (2631 meters above sea level) is a volcano located on my left side. It is currently one of the most active volcanoes on Earth. They call it the sister of the Himalayas volcano in the Pacific Ocean which is more than 530 000 years old and has a caldera, on the highest part of it that’s 8 km wide. A caldera is a morphologic volcano shape that resembles a crater but is much larger. It occurs when the volcanic cone urges after an explosive volcanic eruption.
The lava eruptions on this island are usually space limited inside the caldera, but there are also a lot of cases where the eruptions occur outside of the caldera. On several occasions, for example, highway N2, was “flooded” with lava and when that happens you have to wait a couple of months for it to be renewed. Namely one month after an eruption lava can still be hot so when rainy days come, you can even then see the vapor.
In 1977, the eruptions were so intense that they requested total evacuation of the village Piton-Sainte-Rose. On that occasion, after the lava flow covered the highway it directed its way to a near church and then a miracle happened, the lava flowed to the front door of the church and stopped right then and there. The church was, sooner than later, restored and was also given a brand new name- “Notre-Dame des Laves“ meaning -“Our lady of the Lavas”.
I highly recommend you visit the LAVA MUSEUM , not only is it fascinating but you can hear more detailed information about the volcano. When you come to visit me, don’t worry so much because the volcano activity is constantly being monitored and in case of great danger, you will indeed be informed on time. There are specialized helicopters trained for evacuation purposes. To see how the volcano looks up front or how lava flows turned to magma look like on Reunion island click the link REUNION ATTENTION…VOLCANO ERUPTION. There is a detailed description of that journey from the eyes of one tourist. You will definitely comprehend something which resembles an interplanetary experience.
When talking about VEGETATION, it rises as soon as the lava chills and after 300 years, on the location where there used to be hot boiling lava, sprout beautiful tropical forests with heavenly verts.
Both nature and the island are a true wonder.
Greetings from Reunion, an island where the excitement never stops!