Reunion Island has been described as "Canyoning Paradise". Situated in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar, Reunion is located above a hotspot in the earths crust resulting in the Island having a number of active volcanoes.
The island itself is relatively small at only 65km long by 45km wide, however the highest point on the island stands at over 3000m. Its location in the Indian Ocean means Reunion is frequently hit by tropical cyclones which have resulted in the island holding the world record for rainfall in a 24 hour period (1,869.9 millimetres in 1952) and in a 72 hour period (3,929 millimetres in 2007).
These extreme weather conditions coupled with the dramatic elevation change have resulted in Reunion Island becoming the perfect canyoning region.
Reunion Island contains more than 60 of the most technical, most challenging and most impressive canyons in the world with a combined total descent over 5000m! The canyons also contain some of the highest waterfalls in the world at approximately 270m high.
For example, Trou de Fer is possibly the most impressive canyon in the world and certainly not for the inexperienced. The canyon is reached by a 2/3 hour hike. The canyon itself is a recommended 2 day trip, involving a bivi located at the base of a 270m waterfall underneath a large boulder. Being a 2 day trip, not only are large amounts of technical equipment required for the descent (over 400m of rope) but each canyoner must also carry overnight food and bivouac equipment.
An Irish expedition to Reunion Island has been a hot topic for the past number of years. However, the travel distance and technicality of the canyons have meant that it was only this year that arrangements were made. A small group of the most experienced Irish canyoners shall be heading to Reunion Island for a 3 week expedition to take on the canyons of Reunion Island.
The expedition will take place from the 25th June to the 16th July 2011. It was agreed that a longer time commitment was required to allow the expedition to grow accustomed to the Reunion canyon style with shorter trips prior to descending the longer more technical routes. In addition the 3 week expedition provides greater trip choice depending on weather. June and July in Reunion can have rain showers which may cause some canyons to be temporarily impassible.
The Irish Expedition to Reunion 2011 shall provide the Irish canyoning community with invaluable knowledge of Reunion as a canyoning destination. It will also provide technical experience which can not be achieved within the canyoning regions of Europe.