Sunday, 26 March 2017

Diving the Hai Siang

The Hai Siang is a 49-metre former Taiwanese fishing boat that was voluntarily sunk off the coast of Cap Homard (Reunion Island) in 1983. The name means 'wild pig' in Chinese. It lies on a sandy bottom at 55 metres deep and, if you are appropriately qualified, it makes for good diving as you can see from the photos below. We saw lots of snappers, unicorn fish, trumpetfish and clown triggerfish. Unlike the Antonio Lorenzo it rests upright.

Hai Siang looking at the bow 

Hai Siang mast

Hai Siang stern

school of snappers

me with snappers

deck, looking aft

on the seabed, off to starboard side.


looking down at the deck to the entrance to the holds

To finish with, a professional photo of the Hai Siang by Gaby Barathieu:

Monday, 20 March 2017

Flyboarding in Reunion

Ever heard of a Flyboard? A type of jetpack supplies propulsion to drive a 'board' through and above water to perform a sport known as flyboarding. It was invented in 2012 by a French water-craft rider, Franky Zapata. 

pre-activity briefing with Jean-Luc Gilquin

A Flyboard rider stands on a board connected by a long hose to a watercraft. Water is forced under pressure to a pair of boots with jet nozzles underneath which provide thrust for the rider to fly up to 15 m in the air.

The design allows the device to climb out of the water and be more or less stable in the air using underfoot propulsion and hand stabilisation. 

The Flyboard is buoyant for safety, which also allows the rider to rest in the water between rides. 

In Reunion the activity is run by Jean-Luc Gilquin at the Colosse Park in Saint André, where there's one of the island's few inland bodies of water suitable for this type of activity. (It can't be done over the sea due to the water sports ban currently in place in Reunion due to the shark situation).

you can see the hose clearly in this photo

In the photos you can see my husband, with the results after about 15-20 minutes of getting used to the device.

To find out more:

Sunday, 12 March 2017


Fronted by Gilbert Pounia, Ziskakan are one of Reunion's best known groups. They formed in 1979 and their style is maloya, to which they add modern techniques as well as some Indian instruments. They have toured abroad extensively: USA, UK, Belgium, IndiaMauritius, Seychelles, as well as mainland France.

Here they are yesterday playing one of their most famous songs: Bato Fou.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Diving the Antonio Lorenzo

I did my second dive on the Antonio Lorenzo yesterday; the first was in October 2013.

The Antonio Lorenzo is a 53-metre Chilean longliner which lies at a depth of 38 metres in the bay of Saint-Leu

On 1st September 1998 it was caught by a French patrol boat illegally fishing in French territorial waters 120 nautical miles from the Kerguelen islands in the southern Indian Ocean. Its holds contained 100 tonnes of Patagonian tooth fish. It was brought back to Reunion, where arrived on 14th September. On 16th December 1999 six holes were drilled into its hull, and it was sunk as an artificial reef at Pointe des Chateaux.

It lies on its port side, which explains why the mast sticks out a 45° angle. I'm afraid I'm not much good with technical language for vessel elements, so I can't label what different parts are called.

this almost looks like a coral reef but is part of the vessel
a last, somewhat ghostly, shot as we started ascending

me with my SMB during our 10-minute safety stop

See also

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Interview on

Last month I had an interview published on the website (formerly known as 

Entitled Reunion Island: Love at first sight I discuss my love for Reunion's lifestyle, natural landscapes, and its ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity.

So if you want to know (amongst other things) what brought me to Reunion Island, a useful tip for soon-to-be expatriates on the island, and how easy it is for an expat to live here, read the interview here!

Plaine des Sables

At Grand-Etang 

In Saint-Pierre town centre

See also:

Saturday, 28 January 2017

3 more podcasts about Reunion

I have 3 more podcasts about Reunion available (see here for more about the podcast concept):

The first one is Don't Be Leave, where I talk about how I reacted to Brexit.

(See also here for a video of me talking on the local TV channel, Antenne Réunion (in French) about the same subject.)

The second one is Lost In Paradise, in which I talk about the concept of paradise and exoticism.

The third one is Fifty Shades of Black, about a very memorable trip I made a few years ago to the  Piton de la Fournaise volcano during an eruption.



See also:

Podcasts about Reunion

Saturday, 24 September 2016

September 2016 volcano eruption

The Piton de la Fournaise eruption that took place from September 11th-18th was very image-friendly: weather was generally good, and it was visible from Piton de Partage or Pas de Bellecombe. So local photographers were able to shoot a wide range of photos and films, some of the best of which are below. (I took my own pictures when I visited on September 16th/17th, but they're not as good as these!)

© Gaby Barathieu

© Gaby Barathieu

© Gaby Barathieu

The night of September 16th coincided with a full moon.

© Luc Perrot

Reminiscent of Mordor ? © Luc Perrot

This satellite photo was taken on 11th September by the 
Landsat 8 (USGS/NASA Landsat) satellite

© Le Redac

Alain LeRedac also filmed this video:

Quand le soleil a rendez-vous avec le Piton de la Fournaise from @LeRedac from Reunion Island on Vimeo.

© Dronecopter Jonathan Payet

September 17th at 1:30am © Dronecopter Jonathan Payet

Jonathan Payet recently won 3rd Prize in the Nature & Wildlife Category of National Geographic's 2016 International Drone Photography Contest with this picture taken during the brief eruption that took place in May 2016.

© Dronecopter Jonathan Payet