Daniel Born has a 'YMCA'-style adventure with a canyoning trip on Réunion island
The small Indian-Ocean island of Réunion, 200km from Mauritius, boasts hundreds of streams that have carved out the volcanic rock, which emerged from the ocean some 3-million years ago. In one of nature's greatest battles between rock and water, earth and the constant erosion of the land, the forces shaping the terrain have created an adventurer's dream playground of crevices and valleys waiting to be explored.
Canyoning is described as a mix of hiking, abseiling, rock climbing and swimming and the island of Réunion has no less than 70 dedicated canyoning trails dotted around the landscape.
In typical French style, our guide screeched the car to a stop next to the road of 400 corners outside the town of Cilaos, in one of three volcanic calderas on the island. Staring out the window at the sheer cliffs towering over the surroundings below, he pointed out our destination, the Fleur Jaune canyon.
Donning 1cm-thick, rubber wetsuits, rash vests, helmets and an additional layer of what looked like a construction worker's overalls, we began our hike to the canyon below. The going was difficult due to the weight of the clothing and an extremely small wetsuit. As we arrived at the first "introductory" jump into the water, our 1.65m guide, Nicolas Cyprien, said that once we jumped there was only one way out - the bottom of the canyon.
"I'm stuck!" I shouted after jumping into the first pool. The skin-tight overalls had shrunk in the ice-cold water to hold my arms stiffly against my body, causing me to bob up and down helplessly in the pool. The solution to my predicament became apparent when Cyprien arrived to rescue me, drowning in his oversized overalls.
With the dilemma sorted out, the adventure could begin. Read more..
Written by Daniel Borne