Piton de la Fournaise. “Peak of the Furnace” Elevation 2,632m
It was a last minute decision and last chance to climb Piton de la Fournaise on the last weekend I was on La Reunion. I went with Su and Marta. I had been a couple of weeks before but I didn’t get to climb up the volcano I just explored the surreal area at the base called the Caldera floor which was like being on the moon.
We traveled up to the gite near to the volcano on the Friday evening . It was dark by the time we arrived there. The gite was very basic. Our beds were in a shared dorm. It reminded me of a scene from Oliver Twist.
We woke on the Saturday morning early at around 5am and quickly showered. You had
to use a token for the shower to get hot water. It only lasted about 5 mins though so you had to be quick washing. We set out on the walk about 5.30am . We walked the many
steps down to the Caldera floor. As we reached there we were able to experience the
sunrise. Amazing scene in such an unreal surreal place.
The climb up the volcano took about four hours It was hard in the heat and with the sharp volcanic rock under foot. White paint marks were on the rocks on the ground, they were there to lead the way. The volcanic rock is so fragile that you can’t risk diverting off the marked path. The walk down was slightly quicker at three hours but the steps back up at the end were excruciating on our weak legs. So pleased we made the effort to climb le volcan. A truly amazing experience I’ll never forget.
Exhibition “Fusion” Ecole Superieure d’Art de la Reunion. February 9th-12th 2016
An exhibition put on by the Erasmus students at Ecole Superieure d’Art de la Reunion and myself a resident artist at the time on the Island. Combining paintings, photographs, installations and videos, The Fusion exhibition is a reflection of our stay in La Reunion, Our experiences, materials and ideas,
The theme is based on the word “Fusion” From looking into the meaning of the word ‘Fusion’ I have broken it down to the the word ‘Elements‘ and I have based my work on the four individual elements creating photo montages from the photographs I have taken while on the island and also experimenting attaching the images onto the canvas through different processes. The Idea to attach them onto the pieces of canvas was to use a material like cotton that is created from the four elements. When it came to how I would display the works I remembered an artist I was influenced by called Leon Radegonde that I came across exhibiting on the Seychelles Island of Praslin. I really liked his works where he appears to turn paper into leather, hide or parchment and hangs the pieces simply straight onto the wall.
During my process to fuse the images onto the canvas material I actually liked the effect the experiments were creating. Leaving slight bits of image or changing the image through the process. From a fine art perspective I decided to include these pieces in the exhibion along with some of the actual images I used in the photomontages. I would really like to work more with this process of altering an image through the use of different substances onto different materials to see what I can create.
We went to the Seychelles for a three week adventure over the Christmas period. Arrived on Mahe Island on the 17th December and stayed for a couple of days near the Capital Victoria at a place called Mountain View. Discovered a wonderful beach called Anse Royal on the south east coast. The election was on when we were there. The winners were The Peoples Party run by James Michel. Lots of celebrators in red were on the streets of Mahe in their vehicles.
On the 20th we caught the Coco Catamaran to Praslin Island where we would spend Christmas at Helaconia. A lovely spacious villa on the Cote D’O Beach at Anse Volbert on the North coast. It feels more relaxed here than Mahe. There are a few local restaurants we enjoyed visiting especially Les Laurier which does a wonderful buffet dinner with Barbecued fish and meats. We treated ourselves to a Christmas Eve meal here. The village has some small shops where we could buy some supplies for Christmas day. Even found a Christmas pudding to our delight. Christmas day was wonderful and different but we did miss our family and friends so far away. We hired some bikes and investigated the north coast as far as Anse Lazio. Such lovely beaches along the way. We encountered some very steep roads that we had to push our bikes along for a bit. We also did a boat trip during our stay to Felicite, Coco and Sisters Island and did some snorkelling which was amazing. I was out of my depth and as I am not a confident swimmer I wore a life jacket and held tightly to a life ring. It was amazing what I saw. Lots of amazing coloured fish.
We left Praslin on the 29th December by ferry to go to La Digue Island. Now this is the most relaxed place I have been to. No cars only shuttle vehicles on the roads ferrying people between the hotels and the port. We were ferried to La Digue Island Lodge right by the beach on the West coast at Anse La Réunion. Lovely looking thatched rooms. I almost though I was back in Suffolk. So bicycles are the mode of transport apart from the odd Ox cart. Quite dangerous on an evening as none of the bikes have lights. We managed to cycle right around the Island and on two occasions woke early to cycle to Grand Anse on the east coast. An amazing experience to watch the sunrise. Only local people were about that time of day which was nice. We saw lots of gorgeous sights on this Island including turtles swimming in their natural environment. The beaches on La Digue are jaw dropping and the water so aqua clear. This is my favourite of the three Islands we stayed on. They know how to party and welcome in the New Year. They put on a brilliant street party with Reggae and ska music. Dancing with fire and bike stunts. Such a memorable way to see in the New Year and they made us feel so welcome to be on the Island.
La Digue Island
We left La Digue on the 3rd January by ferry. The captain pointed out a dolphin swimming beside us. Magical moment. We went back to Praslin for 5 days and stayed back at Helaconia. We left Praslin on the 8th January on the smallest plane ever which made me feel quite sick with it skipping about in the sky and we headed back to Mahe where we got our flight to La Réunion.
Grand Anse and Baie de Manapany
Forêt domaniale du Grand Brûlé.
The forest covering the area is called State Forest Grand Brûlé. Crossed by the National Road 2. The Grand Brûlé is the part of the coast formed by the Piton de la Fournaise, the last active volcano of Reunion. This region bordered by the Indian Ocean occupies as such the eastern quarter of the Foqué enclosure. The Fouqué enclosure is the latest of calderas formed by the Piton de la Fournaise and the southeast of the town of Sainte-Rose and the northeast of Saint-Philippe. Located downstream of the Great slopes, it is bounded by the wall of Bois Blanc in the north and those of the Tremlet south. After each eruption, the region was colonized by a large number of plants.
Les Anse De Cascade
A small bay located in the municipality of Sainte-Rose, on the east coast. The cove Cascade houses, as its name indicates, several waterfalls and a vast coconut grove.
Church notre dame des laves – Piton Sainte-Rose
During the 1977 Piton de la Fournaise eruption, lava destroyed much of the village and even surrounded the church, but didn’t do any damage to it. The church was renamed Our Lady of the Lavas, and it’s interesting to see where the lava stopped – mere feet from the church walls.
Pont des Anglais suspension bridge
Between Ste-Anne and Ste-Rose is the graceful Pont des Anglais suspension bridge over the Rivière de l’Est, now bypassed by the main highway but open to pedestrians. It was claimed to be the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time of its construction in the late 19th century
Spent the weekend in Cilaos with some friends from the Uni in Réunion. We drove up the steep climb on the Saturday morning and then spent the night in a Gite at La Cabane Du Raideur in Cilaos. Amazing views around us and a lovely hot tub to enjoy. http://www.lacabaneduraideur.com/
We visited a couple of Ravines and a Cascade called “The Fridge” aptly named as the water was freezing cold to swim in.
It’s the time of year to make some Christmas cards to send home. I used some bits I had in the apartment plus I collected some driftwood and shells on the beach to create this Christmas tree.