Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September 22, 2009 - Nosy Mitsio, Madagascar

On our way from Nosy Antolo to Nosy Mitsio (in Malagasy 'Nosy' means 'island'), we attempted to stop at Nosy Lava for a swim, but when I went to deploy the anchor, we discovered that the windlass had stopped working. This is pretty much par for the course. Lately we've been breaking something or discovering something failing just about every day. Our time at Antolo (when we weren't stalking whales) was spent repairing the dodger, main sail, watermaker, and shower drain pump, in addition to all the work that goes into cleaning up the boat after a rough passage. We've spent way too much time working on the boat lately. Between that and the tough passages that the Indian Ocean has dealt us, morale is at an all time low on board.

But there is good news. We were so enamored with Madagascar at the end of our first day here that we called up Suzy (Sten's mom) and said "you should come." And she said "okay." After the watermaker shat a brick the next day, we were thrilled to learn that she was booking tickets. Between bringing us parts and making us see this lifestyle through the eyes of someone who doesn't get to do it 365 days a year, her visit will be just what we need to get us pumped up for the run to South Africa next month.

We figured that with the windlass out of commission, if we were going to put the anchor down it should be someplace we could stay a while, so we gave up on anchoring at Lava, which wasn't really protected, and moved on down the track to Mitsio, which is renowned for its protected anchorage. As soon as we were anchored, Sten got to work on the windlass. A little while later, we were thrilled to see another yacht approach the anchorage (we've been on our own way too much lately) and were even more excited when we realized that we had spent time with the folks on board in Chagos. We made plans to get together for cocktails and a little much needed socialization.

Just like the bay we stayed in up north, the shores of Mitsio are dotted with tiny, basic villages. The villagers travel between the villages, fish and trade with the yachts in their outrigger canoes. When the afternoon seabreeze set up they outfitted their outriggers with sails to assist them in plying the waters of the bay. Their sails seemed to glow in the low light of the late afternoon. Throughout the afternoon, we kept turning to each other questioning the clock; and then we realized that we hadn't been this far from the equator since we left Australia fourteen months ago.

While in Mitsio we traded old snorkeling fins, medicine, containers, shirts and rope for spiny lobsters and mangoes. We're clearly not making out on these trades, but rather we look at it as a way to distribute the spare stuff we have on board to people who need it so much more than we do. And now I have more green mangoes on board than I know what to do with. If anyone has a good mango salad or mango slaw recipe, I'd love to see it.

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