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    • Day 34

      8 Fevrier Nosy Be

      February 8 in Madagascar ⋅ ☁️ 27 °C

      Après une belle navigation de 684 Mn, nous voici arrivés à Nosy Be.
      Nous avons réussi à descendre à terre à bord de la première chaloupe.
      Une belle journée d’excursion nous attend. Météo magnifique, grand soleil, mer d’huile, très très chaud
      À 08h30 nous sommes prêts à partir pour notre balade en bateau, direction Nosy Komba, une petite île de 32 km2 , un vrai paradis. Les locaux ont inventé la regligion Musulique un étonnant mélange d’islam et de catholicisme.
      La visite du village et des environs a été une très belle expérience. Les enfants étaient très heureux des petits cadeaux que nous avons apportés.
      Les lémuriens sont superbes et presque apprivoisés. Un endroit magnifique.
      Marielle a enfin trouvé son chapeau en radia…
      Puis direction Nosy Tanikely pour se baigner. Séance snorkelling au top avec de belles tortues, l’eau de mer doit faire 32deg, c’est très très chaud. La plage est magnifique.
      Repas sympa sur la plage où nous avons goûté du Zébu qui était dur comme de la semelle.
      Nous retournons à Hell-Ville pour un tour en tuk tuk qui nous mène au marché, où nous achetons de nouveau de la vanille.
      Sur le retour nous avons rencontré deux petites filles trop mignonnes à qui nous avons offert des jouets.
      Retour au bateau après 17h00 avec de merveilleux souvenirs de Nosy Be.
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    • Day 11

      Madagascar Canoes

      February 11, 2023 in Madagascar

      No sooner had our ship set anchor near Nosy Be, than a dozen or so dugout canoes paddled right up to us.

      One man sold fruit directly to passengers as they sat in their tender boats. Others sold handmade souvenirs.

      A few, however, seemed to be visiting our ship out of curiosity more than anything else.

      We also saw single sail boats. Having grown up with one, I have a soft spot for that type of water craft. It reminds me of many happy hours sailing with my dad.
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    • Day 91

      Nosy Be, Madagascar - 3 of 3

      April 15, 2023 in Madagascar ⋅ ☀️ 86 °F

      Our last stop was the Hotel Espadon in Nosy Be for local snacks and a chance to step into the Indian ocean at the beach … for the first time.

      Note: the videos here are of the lemurs discussed in prior post and Tuk Tuk traffic jam.Read more

    • Day 11

      Hellville Market

      February 11, 2023 in Madagascar

      According to Philippe, the difference between a town and a village in Madagascar is that a town has electricity and a village does not.

      We ended our tour of Nosy Be with a visit to the the town of Hellville.

      I noticed charcoal for sale in various places. Philippe says most people rely on it to cook food. “Our villages have no TV, of course, so that’s why we have so many children,” Philippe joked.

      “Before, every family in Madagascar wanted 14 children. That was the wish. But now, our government tells us that’s too many. So now we try to only have a few, maybe five or six. Not so many as before.”

      Philippe went on to explain that, “We have many problems here, but religion is not one of them.”

      Philippe told us that since the 18 tribes of Madagascar already have such a wide variety of different beliefs, “So no one cares if you have a different religion. People can worship what they like. We even have ‘Muslics’ here. These are people who observe Ramadan, celebrate Christmas, and whatever else they want.”

      As we contemplated his words, he added, “Everything’s ok here, you know? It’s Hakuna Matata, baby!”

      It was an entertaining ride to the Hellville Market. The spice section of the market smelled lovely. Larry and I bought some vanilla from the woman in the first photo.

      Madagascar is also known for its pepper corns. I love pepper, but wasn’t sure why they put them in old plastic water bottles.

      As I walked over to a basket of muddy crabs, I thought I saw a cat zip by out of my peripheral vision. I even felt a little whisper of air. According to Larry, however, it was a great big rat!
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    • Day 11

      Snake Dancers

      February 11, 2023 in Madagascar

      As we wandered through the beautiful grounds, we came upon a group of locals singing and dancing.

      As you can see, one guy had a snake around his neck. He kept quite a grip on the creature’s neck, which made me wonder if it was venomous. (Maybe it was just not in the mood to dance!)

      The dancers all wore shirts labeling them as staff, so I’m not sure if they were holding a snake simply to impress tourists, or if it held more significance than that.

      I would have liked to ask questions about the whole scene, but we’d lost our guide at this point, so I wasn’t able to do more than just observe.
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    • Day 11

      Balancing Acts

      February 11, 2023 in Madagascar

      It would never occur to me to go for a stroll with beach bag on my head, but here in Africa people carry many things this way!

      This trio of young men, for instance, looked like guys you might see anywhere as they checked their cell phones, talking and laughing… except for the bundles of fabric they casually carried on their heads.

      At one point, I noticed a woman gracefully carrying a box of bread on her head, as well as a baby in a sling on her back.

      As I admired her balance, another woman waved her over. The bread lady casually weaved through traffic, then knelt in front of her.

      After this customer chose a loaf and money changed hands, the bread lady rose to her feet and continued on her way!
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    • Day 125

      Nosy Be, Madagascar

      April 15, 2023 in Madagascar ⋅ ☀️ 84 °F

      New-to-us port #36.

      Madagascar = Lemurs. So, there was no doubt in my mind as to what we would be doing when Insignia finally brought us to Nosy Be.

      My initial plan was to do the boat trip that takes visitors to a lemur reserve in the jungle. Then I did a bit more research. It quickly became apparent that with heat and humidity added to the equation, the trek was out of the question for me. I’d melt before we ever got to the lemurs!

      So, we did the next best thing. Together with Sonia and Boris, we hired a couple of tuk-tuks that took us to Lemuria Land. This is a zoological park set on a plantation with ylang ylang trees and mangroves along the river … with several types of the 117 known lemur species roaming freely.

      It is possible to wander around Lemuria Land at your own pace, but we decided to accept the services of a tour guide — tip in addition to the park admission. It turned out to be a smart move as he was able to take us to the lemurs — and other critters, such as tortoises, crocodiles, and chameleons — without wandering aimlessly in the sweltering heat that felt like a sauna.

      In fact, it was so hot and humid that once we accomplished our goal of seeing lemurs, we skipped not just the ylang ylang distillery on the property, but also nixed plans to take the shuttle into town.

      Air conditioning never felt as good as it did today!

      P.S. Signage was in French, so researching the types of lemurs we saw is going to have to wait until I have better internet.
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    • Day 11

      Ylang Ylang Farm

      February 11, 2023 in Madagascar

      We visited a Ylang Ylang farm near Nosy Be, Madagascar. See that tree I’m standing under? It’s Ylang Ylang.

      And see how the trees are hunched over? They are pruned this way so that the blossoms can be picked without a ladder.

      Ylang Ylang blossoms are a lighter green than the leaves, nor do they look like a traditional flower blossom.

      At the entrance to the factory, they had a framed photo of Ghandhi with a wonderful quote, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

      Must confess that we were melting from the heat and humidity at the ylang ylang distillery.

      I much preferred our trek through the neighboring forest, where we saw bananas growing, and so many gorgeous plants.

      I smelled Ylang Ylang everywhere we went that day. It wasn’t until I undressed for a shower back on the ship that I realized I was the culprit; a little sprig of Ylang Ylang blossoms was snagged in my bra strap!
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    • Day 17

      Sunday Bloody Sunday

      August 28, 2022 in Madagascar ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

      Sono le 10 e mezza e ancora non trovo la forza di alzarmi dal letto. Viene a svegliarmi Alex che mi racconta di quando Santi è arrivato a svegliarlo nel corso della notte per chiedergli di lasciargli la stanza per mezz'ora. Nel frattempo, scopro che l'atto è stato consumato nel bagno dell'albergo e che Santi è stato prima cacciato e poi proprio BANNATO dal tornare al Les Boucaniers... È IL MIO EROE!
      Alle 16 abbiamo la barca per tornare al campo. Facciamo un po' più tardi perché non riusciamo a prelevare nonostante aver provato con 3 carte diverse in 2 banche. Sarà per un'altra volta. Fortunatamente ho ancora un po' di soldi da parte al campo.
      Con Alex rimediamo un po' di erba da Lara. Ci racconta che ha passato 5 proprietari diversi. Nei prossimi giorni la proveremo.
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    • Day 3

      Il trasferimento al campo

      August 14, 2022 in Madagascar ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

      Appuntamento h.9 in reception per recarci al porto dove con la barca saremmo salpati finalmente per Nosy Komba, l'isolotto dove è situato il nostro campo.
      Nonostante indossi due orologi, continuo a fare confusione con il fuso orario. Mi sveglio ben 2 ore prima della sveglia preventivata, ma mi accorgo dell'errore solo dentro la doccia, quella che sarebbe stata l'ultima con acqua calda per le prossime 4 settimane.
      Per le 9 mi presento finalmente all'appuntamento e qui conosco Riccardo, un altro romano di 22 anni, con cui condividerò anche il programma di Conservazione Marina. Sembra davvero simpatico ed infatti si instaura subito un buon rapporto. Abbiamo interessi comuni e la conversazione si protrae per molto tempo.
      Nel frattempo arriviamo in uno spot intermedio, perché ci comunicano che con la bassa marea non sarebbe stato possibile arrivare al campo. Nell'attesa visitiamo questa splendida spiaggia dove i bambini corrono, giocano e raccolgono granchi e conchiglie.
      Facciamo un giro e ci accorgiamo di quanto sia diverso questo mondo. Ci sono bancarelle con teste di pesce mozzate vendute sopra fogli di carta scritti a penna e contornati da mosche. Forse li usano per pescare (?).
      Dopo qualche ora finalmente possiamo muoverci e arriviamo al nostro campo, una serie di capanne in mezzo alla foresta e direttamente a picco sul mare. Sembra un film. Il passaggio è UNICO.

      Ci assegnano le camere. La mia si affaccia verso nord (ahimè) ma ha una vista spettacolare sul mare. Sarò anche con Sam, il ragazzo inglese che era con noi questa mattina. Un po' timido. Vediamo se evolverà.
      Monto la zanzariera e disfo lo zaino. Ho appuntamento con Riccardo per una piccola sessione di snorkeling di fronte la spiaggia del campo.
      Qui conosciamo il resto dei ragazzi che sono appena tornati da un weekend a Nosy Iranja (entusiasmo allo stato puro nei loro occhi, sicuramente la visiterò).
      La giornata termina con una veloce doccia (gelata) e una cena frugale alle 18 (riso, poca carne e un po' di verdure cotte), cui segue quella che diventerà il nostro appuntamento quotidiano con le attività del giorno successivo... LA BOARD!
      Sono stanco. Davvero stanco. Ma ciò non mi impedisce di fare un paio di foto con la GoPro alla volta stellata. SONO EUFORICO. NON C'È INQUINAMENTO LUMINOSO.
      Rimango perplesso quando mi rendo conto che le mie qualità di orientamento notturno, non sarebbero servite nell'emisfero Australe. Bene, ho qualcosa di nuovo da studiare!
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