The Oyster World Rally fleet has recently arrived in Reunion, the last rendezvous before the inaugural Oyster World Rally reaches Africa. Reunion is a French territory located in the midst of the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, south west of Mauritius and 1200 miles from the African continent.
Reunion has a tropical climate, a stunning volcanic landscape and white sandy beaches fringed by coral reefs. The island is only 39 miles long but has over 800 miles of hiking routes with some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.
Debbie Johnson, manager of the Oyster World Rally commented, “The Oyster World Rally visits some incredible places but I have to say that Reunion is just spectacular. The landscape is very similar to New Zealand but as a French ‘department’, it is also very European, which reminds me of home. There is so much to do here especially hiking including, the Piton de la Fournaise volcano, which rises to 10,000 ft with dense forest on its slopes. The whole island has the feel of a real community and there is very little in the way of packaged tourism or large holiday resorts.”
Debbie also stated, “From Reunion we will be sailing to Richards Bay on the east coast of South Africa and are keeping a close eye on the weather for the crossing… Whilst the fleet are a little nervous about the next leg, there is also great excitement in reaching another continent and another milestone for the Oyster World Rally. We will be in South Africa for Christmas and a lot of the sailors will be meeting up with friends and family who are flying in for the celebrations. After Richards Bay it is only a short hop to our next supported stop in Durban and it will be strange for all of us to experience city-life again. The Oyster World Rally has not been near a large city since Panama, so it will be a real change of scene. Everyday occurrences in cities such as traffic jams and noise are something that most of us haven't experienced for a long time, and to some extent that is why we chose to make landfall into Richard's Bay. After months of island life, arriving in Durban or Cape Town, would have been a real shock to the system.”
Tim MacIntosh is the Captain of Chris and Denise Ballard's Oyster 655, Proteus. Tim has been looking after the yacht for the past two years, along with his fiancée Bryony Cowlin, and their good friend and Proteus' Engineer Oli Brett. Tim has recently explained that whilst the Oyster World Rally is the adventure of a lifetime, the team are professionals at work.
Tim said, “Myself, Bryony and Oli absolutely love taking care of Proteus and we have had an amazing time in some spectacular places. However, life on board a yacht means that you are in close quarters with others and sometimes when tired it is easy to get a bit snappy towards the other crew but I have been pleasantly surprised about how we have all managed to cope with each other. I think an important factor in our successful working relationship has been to get some time away from the yacht.
We have been in Reunion for a few days and it is a beautiful island. Proteus is in great shape and is behaving well so after a few days of hard work, we intend to take a few days off and enjoy the place. Tomorrow we are going for a helicopter ride - it has been highly recommended by others in the fleet and should be a great way to see the more inaccessible parts of the island. After tasting white water rafting in Fiji, we have heard that canyoning and white water rafting in Reunion is outstanding. Drifting down from the top of the mountains through dense forest is a really fun day out and a great way to see the island.”
For more information, visit www.oysteryachts.com.