Rosita Harbour

17th November 2015. Rosita Harbour, South Georgia.

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(Map of journey . . . . . . . . . (15. Rosita Harbour)).

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Fur seal, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

The weather looks fine enough here but it must have been a grey dawn again because we didn’t venture out until after breakfast.  There was a cordon of male fur seals on the edge of the beach, protecting their individual territories so some of the expedition leaders defended a corridor with zodiac paddles to allow us to disembark past the seals.

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Fur seal, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

After that, the seals were much more thinly spread.

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Fur seal, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Looking back at the beach, there are quite a few seals and a few humans amongst them.

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Fur seal, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Rather than hang around on the beach and photograph seals, I decided to go for a walk…

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Fur seal, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

… up  into the snowy distance.  There are a few people ahead of me at the left though you may need to click for a larger image to see them.

 

Fur seal, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

But I also had another objective.  I was fascinated by the prospect of photographing the forests of South Georgia.  You might think that it’s effectively part of Antarctica, there would just be rocks and snow but there is vegetation as well.  And in some places the forests may reach a centimetre high or more.  No actual trees, mind you.

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Fur seal, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

I found the textures on this rock and the living and dead lichen on it particularly fascinating.

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Fur seal, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Perhaps you need to click on an image and see it larger to appreciate, but there is a lot of variety in texture and colours in these images.

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Fur seal, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

All of them are focus bracketed.  Macro shots have an extremely shallow depth of field so I have combined many exposures taken at different points of focus to give a better sense of how we would see it.

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Fur seal, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

The grasses out of focus in the background give it away but it this a mighty mountain range or some rocks sitting in moss?

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Fur seal, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

I was climbing to a ridge and I later saw from some other people’s images that there was a spectacular view there over other bays.  But I didn’t get there.  I had spent too much time on the macro shots, it can be very slow walking through heavy snow, and I had to get back to the beach by a specified time, so I got to the point where I just had to turn back.  This was probably taken at that point.

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Fur seal, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

I wasn’t quite as far out of time as I had feared.  I felt relieved when I saw there were still people just ahead of me. If you click on this image, you can see that the two people in the middle left are well before the beach and that on the beach there are numerous seals and at least one person and a zodiac to the right.

 

Fur seal, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

These were taken later, from the ship.

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Fur seal, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

We were heading back again to Salisbury Plain, for an afternoon landing, the last of the trip.

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Sakalava Weavers and Dancing Sifakas at Berenty

26th October 2015. Berenty, Madagascar.

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife

Sakalava weavers and their hanging nests (there is only one bird visible but there are others inside the nests).

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife

White man’s burden?  Ringtailed lemur sitting on wooden sculpture.

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife

Plants from the desert garden near the cabins.

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlifet .

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife

… and also, a chameleon….

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife

More dancing sifakas, this one coming straight towards me.

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife .

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Berenty, Chameleons, Landscape, Macro, Madagascar, Nature, Photography, Ringtailed Lemur, Sakalava weavers, Spiny Forest, Travel, Verraux's Sifaka, Wildlife

… and finally, one on a roof.

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Reunion Monochromes

10th to 13th October 2015. Reunion.
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The images that follow are monochrome conversions of colour images that appeared in the four previous posts covering my recent visit to Reunion.  The images are in chronological order.  Click on a link below an image for the post containing the colour version of that image and other contextual and historical information.  If there is no link with the image, look for the last link in the preceding images.  Similarly, if there is no label the previous one applies.

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness

Cilaos.

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness

Grand Galet.

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness

South Coast.

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness

Vieux Port.

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness

Piton Sainte Rose.

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness

Sentier Botanique de Bras Cabot.

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness

Hell-bourg from La Fenêtre.

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness

Salazie from La Fenêtre.

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness

Beldevere de Bois Court.

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness

Saint-Leu.

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness

Le Maido.

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness

Salazie.

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness

Hell-bourg.

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Cilaos, Forêt de Bébour, Grand Galet, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, Travel, Vieux port, Wilderness .

Trivia note:  There is now nearly 9,000 images on this blog and we have just passed 250,000 words.

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Salazie

13th October 2015. Reunion.

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness

This is the Cirque de Mafate from the viewpoint at Le Maido.  Originally, I had the idea of getting there at dawn but after the wonderful dinner and socialising the night before this was never likely.  So I arrived in mid-morning.  As I walked in from the carpark, someone told me I’d better hurry.  The cloud was moving in.  This is probably the village of La Nouvelle.

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness

This is my route for the day.  From my accomodation above the west coast, I went first to the viewpoint at Le Maido and next visited the Natural History Museum in the capital St Denis.  Form there I went to Hellbourg in the Cirque de Salazie, stopping for some roadside waterfalls on the way and thence to my accomodation for the night at Grand Ilet.  As always in Reunion, there were any number of wonderful places to walk to for someone with more time.  The next morning I drove out to the airport.

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness

Looking down, probably on Grand Place.

The Cirque de Mafate was first settled by runaway slaves from 1730.  Even today there are no roads and no vehicles.  The only way to get there is to walk in, though there are various places to stay.

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness

As I was warned, I did not have much time here.  There are seven images showing various views from the time I arrived to the time when there was nothing to see and there is only twenty-five minutes between them.

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness

Some people who live in the Cirque de Mafate may be as close as twelve kilometres from the capital, yet have never left the Cirque and never seen a car.

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness

Probably Les Trois Salazes on the horizon and the village of Marla below.

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness

In come the clouds.

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness

Nothing left to see (of the view anyway).

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness

Le Maido is about twelve kilometres from the coast but it is 1500 metres up.  Consequently there are many panoramic views on the way down.

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness

In St Denis I visited the Musée d’Histoire Naturelle and encountered another dodo, originally from Mauritius and commonly thought to be extinct.  This is the Plaster of Paris sub-species (we are in France after all) and probably not as rare as the brass subspecies we saw in Mauritius.  It wasn’t moving much while I was there and there’s one of its skeletons on the right.  That wasn’t moving much either.  Behind it on the wall are depictions of the Rodrigues Island Solitaire, another large flightless bird that became extinct after the arrival of Europeans.  Rodrigues is a small island east of Mauritius.  The solitaire was about the size of a swan and like the dodo, the Solitaire was descended from pigeons.

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness

There was also an aye-aye here.  A rare nocturnal lemur from Madagascar, it is most notable from its one elongated finger that it uses to fish grubs out of holes it makes in the wood of trees.  It finds its food using tapping and echolocation.  Traditionally, it is an object of superstition and fear amongst the Malagasy.

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness

Moving on from St Denis, this is Cascade du Voile de la Mariée (Bridal Veil Waterfall), just before Hell-Bourg.

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness

This image and the next three are also from the side of the road, just before Hell-Bourg.

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness

The remaining images are at or near the charming village of Hell-bourg in the Cirque de Salazie.

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness

Hell-Bourg was awarded the title of “Most Beautiful Vilage in France” in 2000.  (Reunion is part of France).

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness

You could buy a holiday cottage or a place to live here.  This one probably avoids the real estate cliché of “best house on the street”.

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Hell-bourg, Landscape, Le Maido, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, Travel, Wilderness .

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Forêt de Bébour

12th October 2015. Reunion.

Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness

Early in the morning I drove north and then went for a walk of a kilometre or two in Sentier Botanique de Bras Cabot, a nature reserve in the Forêt de Bébour.  Other, more extensive walks were available for someone with more time.

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness

This was my journey for the day.  I started at Bras de Calumets and drove to La Fenêtre via Sentier Botanique de Bras Cabot, ending up at my accommodation for the night above the west coast.  There is another La Fenêtre overlooking Cirque de Cilaos rather than Cirque de Salazie but I ran out of time to visit the second one.

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness

Most of the images in this post are from my walk through the wild nature reserve at Sentier Botanique de Bras Cabot.

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness

Many of these images involve multiple exposures through a macro lens combined through photo stacking.

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness

Without a path or a compass and map, it might be easy to get lost here.

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness

Moving on from Sentier Botanique de Bras Cabot, we are now at La Fenêtre, overlooking the Cirque de Salazie.

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness

The town is Hellbourg that I visited the next day and that you will see in the next post.

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness .

Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness

Back near the route to the West Coast, this is Belvedere de Bois Court.  That waterfall wouldn’t look so small if you were beside it.

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness

A similar but wider view.  The village on the other side is accessible only on foor; there are no roads over there.  It is also the starting point for some longer walks.

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness

There were also a couple of azaleas on the path to the lookout.

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness

This was my room for the night at Caz Oceane.  I don’t often mention the places I stay at but this was special in more ways than one.

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness

A spectacular view of the sunset unfolded from the balcony at the front of the house.

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness .

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Architecture, Forêt de Bébour, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Wilderness

 

We had a wonderful dinner with eight or ten people around a long people.  A very varied conversation and surprisingly for very French Reunion, the common language was English.  There was a couple there that I had briefly met four days earlier in Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Gardens in Mauritius.

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Reunion – South Coast

11th October 2015. Reunion.

Architecture, Grand Galet, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Vieux port, Waterfall

From Cilaos, I headed down the south coast in a counter-clockwise direction and after a while I came to this delightful series of cascades at Grand Galet.

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Architecture, Grand Galet, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Vieux port, Waterfall

I had had an offer from a Frenchman where I was staying in Mauritius to stay with him at his house in Grand Galet and originally intended to travel my route for the day clockwise and end up at Grand Galet.  I had cancelled my intended accommodation for the night, when I checked my email before departing and discovered he had met up with a woman at the airport and would not be there.  Just as well I had a web connection.  So I sent another email cancelling my cancellation.  I hadn’t received a response from either email so I took off.  As it turned out, I don’t think either of them were received.

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Architecture, Grand Galet, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Vieux port, Waterfall

This image and the next are at the village near the cascades where I had been expecting to stay.

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Architecture, Grand Galet, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Vieux port, Waterfall .

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Architecture, Grand Galet, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Vieux port, Waterfall

This is a point along the south coast where the road went beside the sea and where I stopped, probably near Saint-Phillipe.  On other journeys I had points of interest defined on routes I had created on my car GPS.  This time the download had not worked and I did not check it before I left.  Consequently, I drove past most of the places I had intended to visit and stopped at a few random ones instead.

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Architecture, Grand Galet, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Vieux port, Waterfall

I saw a sign on a minor road showing a turnoff to Le Vieux Port or the Old Port.  That sounded interesting so I went to check it out.  I managed to park at the end of the road – with some difficulty because there were many cars and not many spaces.  Then it was on foot.  This is a flowering plant on the way.

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Architecture, Grand Galet, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Vieux port, Waterfall

I vaguely remember reading somewhere that the port was used in the seventeenth century for a while before moving somewhere else.  It’s hard to imagine why there was ever any kind of a port here because it’s so rugged and exposed and with no easy route inland to anywhere.  Perhaps there was once a jetty here and maybe the water is deep offshore so ships could get close inshore in favourable conditions.

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Architecture, Grand Galet, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Vieux port, Waterfall .

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Architecture, Grand Galet, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Vieux port, Waterfall

Fishing was a popular activity here.

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Architecture, Grand Galet, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Vieux port, Waterfall .

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Architecture, Grand Galet, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Vieux port, Waterfall .

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Architecture, Grand Galet, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Vieux port, Waterfall .

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Architecture, Grand Galet, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Vieux port, Waterfall

A little further on, this is the church Notre Dame des Laves (Our Lady of the Lava) at Piton Sainte Rose.  In 1977 in one of the many eruptions of Piton De La Fornaise, Reunion’s active volcano, a stream of lava crossed the road, stopped right at the front of the church, diverted into two streams on either side, then reunited behind the church and continued on to the coast.  Clearly a miracle.

The volcano was actually erupting while I was there but all I saw was a huge plume of smoke.  There was no point checking it out further because parking anywhere near was closed off.  I didn’t have the time to walk in and anyway, there was probably little point.

One thing I didn’t manage to see while I was there were little red shrines to St Expédit which are or perhaps were fairly common.  This saint is said to be particularly effective at placing curses on people, for which he then expects payment, hence the shrines.  The story goes that in the nineteenth century, Church officials in Reunion were anxious for some kind of holy relics to impress the credulous.  Eventually, a box of bones arrived with no label but the word Expédit (or express delivery).  The recipients concluded that these must be the remains of St Expédit.  This saint also has a different life as a Roman soldier in the Americas.  In 1905, Pope Pius X demanded that Expédit be struck of the list of martyrs and all images of him be destroyed.  No attention was paid to this in Reunion.

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Architecture, Grand Galet, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Piton Sainte Rose, Reunion, seascape, Travel, Vieux port, Waterfall

The final image is at the back of a restaurant in Saint Benoit.  I went there at the invitation of someone who worked there who I sat next to on the plane.  He was leaving by the time I turned up but one of his co-workers gave me a drink and showed me around.

As well as not having routes on my GPS, I didn’t have any power for it from the car (because the car didn’t have a cigarette lighter) and I was having to use it off battery and powered off my laptop.  I was very close to running out of power from both sources when I found my accomodation for the night.  Then I was confronted by a locked gate and it took a while to attract any attention.  Then they told me they were closed and I would have to go away.  I pointed out I had a confirmed booking and had paid a deposit so after a while they relented and at least I had a bed for the night.

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Skaftafell

Day 67. 4th September. Skaftafell to Laufskalavarda, South Iceland.

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This is ice and in fact a glacier – Skaftafellsjökull.  As is the way with glaciers, it can pick up all sorts of debris and thus not look clean.  They also may not be level places to walk on.

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Much of this post is at Skaftafell, but towards the end there are images from the plains below the glaciers.

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Skaftafellsjökull again.

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Glacier, Iceland, Landscape, Laufskalavarda, Macro, Nature, Photography, Skaftafell, Skaftafellsjökull, Travel, Wilderness6

This looks to me like a woman in a skirt with her knees up and only her legs visible above the water.  She must be cold.

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Glacier meltwater.

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Glacier, Iceland, Landscape, Laufskalavarda, Macro, Nature, Photography, Skaftafell, Skaftafellsjökull, Travel, Wildernessn

This is a rock ptarmigon, wandering around at my feet.  It would have been better to get down to ground level but I was carrying a pack at the time and by the time I got down he would have been gone.

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Glacier, Iceland, Landscape, Laufskalavarda, Macro, Nature, Photography, Skaftafell, Skaftafellsjökull, Travel, Wilderness

While it is an area on glaciers and grand landscapes, some of the things that caught my attention were the miniature landscapes on the ground.

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Glacier, Iceland, Landscape, Laufskalavarda, Macro, Nature, Photography, Skaftafell, Skaftafellsjökull, Travel, Wilderness .

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Glacier, Iceland, Landscape, Laufskalavarda, Macro, Nature, Photography, Skaftafell, Skaftafellsjökull, Travel, Wilderness .

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Glacier, Iceland, Landscape, Laufskalavarda, Macro, Nature, Photography, Skaftafell, Skaftafellsjökull, Travel, Wilderness .

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Glacier, Iceland, Landscape, Laufskalavarda, Macro, Nature, Photography, Skaftafell, Skaftafellsjökull, Travel, Wilderness .

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Glacier, Iceland, Landscape, Laufskalavarda, Macro, Nature, Photography, Skaftafell, Skaftafellsjökull, Travel, Wilderness

This is Skeiðarárjökull, much larger than Skaftafellsjökull, particularly known for its massive glacier outburst floods.

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This and following images are from the side of the road, travelling west from Skaftafell.

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Glacier, Iceland, Landscape, Laufskalavarda, Macro, Nature, Photography, Skaftafell, Skaftafellsjökull, Travel, Wilderness .

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Grass and moss on lava.

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Glacier, Iceland, Landscape, Laufskalavarda, Macro, Nature, Photography, Skaftafell, Skaftafellsjökull, Travel, Wilderness8

We are now at Laufskálavarða, as shown on the map.  This is on Mýrdalssandur, a vast plain below Mýrdalsjökull, Iceland’s fourth largest glacier.  Underneath Mýrdalsjökull is Katla, Iceland’s most active volcano, which makes for some interesting geological events.  It has had more than twenty eruptions since 894 and may be due to go up soonish.  If it erupts it is likely to be much larger than the Eyjafjallajökull eruption of 2010.  That volcano is very close and all three known eruptions have been followed by eruptions of Katla.

According to tradition, there was a large farm on or near this site that was destroyed in the 894 eruption.  A natural lava cairn was then named Laufskálavarða, or Laufskála cairn, in memory of the farm.  Since perhaps that time, there has been a tradition that travellers should leave a rock on a cairn or make a cairn.  This is said to bring good luck for the journey.  Hence all the cairns.