Wednesday, October 07, 2009

October 5, 2009 - Nosy Komba, Madagascar

I love having guests. Not only do they tote heavy boat parts half way around the world to us, they help us out with our chores on board. Just now Sten's mother, Susan, is sitting in the cockpit, sanding the flaking paint out of a dorade. Before she took up her sandpaper, she put pen to paper and wrote a blog entry. Without further ado, it is my pleasure to present our first ever guest blog entry . . . .

Flying over half way around the world with love and excitement in my heart and heavy boat parts instead of clothes in my suitcase, I arrive at Nosy Be, Madagascar. How sweet it is to see these two beloved adventurers, standing on the other side of the airport fence trying to get a glimpse of me as I cross the tarmac. On the way to the boat, we drive through aromatic hillsides covered with contorted ylang-ylang trees. We stop at the market in Hellville, picturesque with its lovely women and produce, vanilla, ylang-ylang essence, and baskets. We gather last minute provisions and head to Nosy Sakatia where Mata'irea is anchored in a lovely, quiet anchorage.

Then we play Boat Christmas as copies of Time, People, and Yachting World burst out of the zipper strained suitcases. The magazines are followed by underwear, books (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, foremost), walnuts, maple syrup, and lots of boat parts. Lastly, out comes "the bomb," a motor for the watermaker which looks quite like its nickname and which I victoriously brought safely here to help provide fresh water for the remaining 8 months of the voyage back to Newport.

Quiet sleeping is a precious experience on a boat and we have just that for my first night on board. The following morning we venture out of our calm anchorage. We stop to enjoy a lunch of bread salad and snorkeling at Tani Kely. While we are off snorkeling in the crystal clear water, Mata'irea announces her desire to get going by dragging her anchor right off the shallow sand shelf on which we had left her. Sten notices her drifting into deeper water, and soon we were all back on board, sailing south, our destination, Nosy Mamoko, a small village with a few thatched huts at the shore.

Many blog readers know of Sten and Danika's cooking prowess. So far steamed crabs and then crab sushi rolls, papaya salad, cold thai beef salad, french toast, and grilled fresh fish have satisfied my palette and intrigued my taste buds.

Sten carves up a Bohar, a gift from s/v Ballyhoo

Madagascar by sea is a visual delight. There are varied land forms, including mountains, hills, rock islands, and white sand beaches, and few villages. Amazing cloud formations scuttle across the sky. Picturesque dhows ply the waters, most of them dug out canoes carrying fishermen. And the water! The Indian Ocean is a myriad of indescribable hues of turquoise.

On land we see lovely smiling people speaking French, their darling children, and colorful clothing and handicrafts. Lemurs sit on our shoulders eating bananas with their beautiful, delicate hands. We take a break from the midday heat to enjoy a long, leisurely lunch at a local restaurant. As we wait for the food to arrive, we make plans to head north tomorrow, to explore an even less developed part of this pristine, unspoiled country.

Is there anything cuter than a baby lemur?

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