Monday, January 16th, 2006
Yesterday in the Picton Castle was one of those perfect days, on sea or on land. Except, of course, we weren’t on land. Nothing much going on except what you wanted to have going on. Joe opened Chibbley’s Café—very exciting. We had a enormous breakfast and then a late lunch and then our Sunday at sea Marlinspike. The weather was gorgeous, good temperature and sunny. A great day for reading on the hatch and generally not doing much just sailing along on blue seas. Can’t be bad and it wasn’t.
Then as the sun was going down and it went from startlingly bright sunshine to—Wait! Is that Reunion? It had been visible for probably hours, about 45–50 miles away and towering right up into the clouds. The sunshine had been so bright and the clouds so low that we hadn’t really noticed it, but then it was just there. Two towering peaks on either side of the island and high! We could see it from a very, very, very long way off. And no wonder. The highest peak rises nearly 11,500 feet from sea level!
This morning we took in all sail and slowed ourselves down until we could contact the authorities at a more civilized time. Waking up and coming up on deck to see a massive soaring island to our port side is always exciting, but one we haven’t been to before is even more exciting!
Reunion is a large Island. It has over 645,000 people and every outdoor sport you can think of—canyoning, paragliding, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, and my particular favorite, people watching while sitting on a nice, white, sandy beach with maybe some red wine, a baguette, and some cheese!
Before coming in, we first clean the ship so we look even more pretty. Bruce has become the Brasso King, making all the brass work sparkly. All the living spaces get a good tidy and we make ourselves presentable. Then we negotiate our way into the port, tie ourselves up, and wait until the authorities come down and clear us in. But first the Captain is lucky enough to have to squeeze us into a narrow little gap that acts as a throughway into the inner harbour where we will dock. With Danie at the engine controls going slowly slowly, and Lynsey in the skiff with some line handlers to drop lines on the dock and sometimes pushing the bow around with boat, the Captain maneuvers his way past the narrow entrance into the inner harbor, then spins us around and backs us around into the little space for us. Sounds easy, and the Captain always makes it look easy, too; but methinks it may not be that easy. I can barely parallel park a car let alone back a Barque!
When all is done, then we will break into shore watches, and those off watch will depart quickly to internet cafés, laundromats, ATMs, hotels, restaurants and any roadside stand that sells cool drinks! We’ll let you know how much fun we’re having in a couple of days!