Le Port is not really a bad spot, it just isn’t located in a very pretty place or near conveniences. The marina is fine, but because we have such a large beam, it is impractical to enter through their narrow entrance. Instead, we had to park on a wharf in the waterway leading to the marina. The boatyard sits next to the wharf, so you can hear lots of boatyard noise, and get exposed to painting and sanding. We moved further down after the first few days to be further away from that activity.
In the photo above, you can see Tahina on the wharf, and the white building with the sail-like architecture is the marina office. They are only open 8:30 to 3 PM (French hours). But, the managers we have worked with have been quite nice and willing to be helpful. Their English is a little weak, but far better than our French.
Hiring a car is very necessary though. You can see the marina office close by, but to get there involved a walk of over a km – you had to walk all the way around the marina. And, the nearest stores are about 2 km, and the better ones are more like 4 km away.
There is a nice volcanic sand beach on the other side of a large break wall (about 4 or 5 meters tall and 15 meters wide) shielding the port area from rough seas if they happen.
We haven’t seen any rats, and there are lots of mild-mannered, and mostly quiet, dogs and a few cats in the area (which probably explains lack of rats). There is a popular little diner, a nice little lunch-time restaurant, and several small marine stores – a sail maker, chandleries, marine electronics, dive shops, mechaniecs, etc. Parts are in short supply locally, but they can order from France and have things within 5 days they say. Euro prices for everything though. You can reportedly get diesel fuel duty free on departure.
I’ll summarize by saying that although the parking is limited, the visit to the island is worth the trip. Amazing beautiful place, modern conveniences available, fantastic road system, and very French. The biggest caveat really is the higher costs. Oh, and one other thing: volcanic ash can fall from the active volcano on the south end of the island. We regularly get a not-very-fine layer of ash over the boat which we have to rinse off every few days. Make sure to keep your sails covered well and your hatches should not be wide open.
Below is a map of our location there: