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    • Day 74

      Dolphins Always Smile

      September 22, 2023 in Mayotte ⋅ ⛅ 81 °F

      I sure like sea mammals.

      As we were approaching the southern tip of the island, Kimi and I were saying: this was a perfect sail, now we just need dolphins! And a few minutes later (might have been an hour, time does funny things while sailing) we saw some splishes off to starboard and happily welcomed our welcome committee.

      They danced along our bow for a little while, cavorting effortlessly, and watching us as much as we were watching them, I suspect.

      I hope to always feel this childlike sense of wonder upon seeing these marvelous animals.
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    • Day 124

      Mayotte, Comoros

      April 14, 2023 in Mayotte ⋅ ☀️ 86 °F

      New-to-us port #35.

      Comoros? What? Where?

      This little known “overseas department and region and single territorial collectivity” of France, lies in the Mozambique Channel … between southeastern Africa and northwestern Madagascar. It consists of the islands of Grand and Petite Terre and some tiny islets.

      We tendered to Mamoudzou on Grand Terre, and joining forces with Sonia & Boris and Younga & David, we hopped in a taxi to spend a couple of hours communing with nature at Plage Ngouja.

      Hopping in the taxi was easy. Once negotiations were completed. Getting to the beach? Not so much. A ride that should have taken us an hour took twice as long due to construction in the direction we were traveling. Once past it, we fairly flew down the narrow road … except for slowing down at speed bumps in the towns and villages. The reason we inched along for about an hour was actually a relief as it confirmed that the return to Mamoudzou would not be problematic.

      After a quick photo op at Plage Musical to see what is probably the largest baobab tree of our visit to Africa yet, we arrived at our destination and made our way through a resort built out of cargo containers to the beach.

      No sooner were we in sight of the sand that we spotted lemurs in the trees, on the fence, and on people! The lemurs weren’t aggressive, but where food was involved they weren’t shy about climbing all over you. Younga was the only one in our group brave enough to do feed them as we stood aside and photographed the critters.

      Then, it was time for the snorkelers to don their gear and head out in search of the coral, tropical fish, and turtles that reviews said were a highlight of Plage Ngouja. The rest of us — David and I — found shade under a tree … much welcome, I might add, when the sun deigned to come out.

      Unfortunately for the snorkelers — except for the one turtle Younga saw — there was nothing to see in the water, which was a little murky due to the silt carried down by the recent rains. We later learned that the turtles were in a lagoon on the far side of the beach. At least the Indian Ocean was warm and everyone seemed to enjoy their swim.

      As anticipated, the return drive was uneventful and took just under an hour. By 5:30p, we were on the tender back to Insignia for the 7:00p sailaway. For some reason, however, it was well after 9:00p when we felt the ship finally moving. A mechanical issue? A medical emergency? A delayed tour? We don’t know. Maybe we’ll get some intel tomorrow.
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    • Day 91

      Mayotto, French Comoros

      April 14, 2023 in Mayotte ⋅ ☀️ 86 °F

      That is what Google say about Mayotte:

      Mayotte is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and the coast of Mozambique. It’s a department and region of France, though traditional Mayotte culture is most closely related to that of the neighboring Comoros islands. The Mayotte archipelago is surrounded by a coral barrier reef, which shelters a lagoon and marine reserve that are popular diving destinations.

      When I saw coral barrier reef in above description, I needed to go snorkeling.
      We read that the best beach for it is about one hour away from tender boat.

      So, six of us hired a taxi to take us there, then we thought, three hours on the beach and one hour back. Unfortunately, it took us two hours to reach that beach, then it was a long walk to the beach, some time spent with lemurs. I brought a banana for them and as soon as I got banana out, they jumped on me, I dropped banana and 🏃‍♀️.

      We settle on the beach, put our snorkeling gear on and went to find fish and corals.
      The water was as warm as a bathtub, but….no fish and no corals. One of our friends saw a turtle.
      We were a little concerned about how long it would take us to get back, so we packed and got back in the car that was waiting for us. The trip back took us an hour, no traffic.

      Back on the ship, we took shower, changed and had a lovely dinner all six of us in the Main Dinning Room.
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    • Day 90

      Mayotte, French Comoros

      April 14, 2023 in Mayotte ⋅ ☀️ 86 °F

      Mayotte, is an overseas department and region and “single territorial collectivity “ of France. We will let you decide what the heck that means. Bottom line, we don’t rack up another country for our visit here since it’s part of France. That being said, we still got off the ship took a tender to the dock in the Bay of Mamoudzou on Grand-Terre, waited with many interesting locals (see photos) and took the ferry (.75 Euros roundtrip) to Peitte Terre with Tim and Krista.

      Off the southeast coast of Africa in the Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean, we were there. Mayotte is 144 sq miles with 310,000 people. So, what do they speak here? French is a second language after Shimaore, Kibushi sakalava, and Kibushi antalaotsi with most of the population being Muslim. Yes, communicating could be a little challenging. There are other islands of Comoros that are independent, but Mayotte is still French. Much of Mayotte is covered by dense tropical vegetation with a volcanic mountain range runs through the center of the island with protected natural reserves full of indigenous flora and fauna. There are sago palms, a vitally important tree whose dried fruit is a key ingredient in the traditional porridge and many endemic plants for medicines, cosmetics, and perfumes.

      We also spent some time in a restaurant (that was not open … realized after we didn’t see a server the entire time) and then time walking around part of town and in a large market next to the pier that had clothing, shoes and fresh produce and spices. Overall, a relaxing day without a tour and that was fine as we spent most of our time taking in the views and observing people.
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    • Day 72

      Karma (re)Joins the Crew

      September 20, 2023 in Mayotte ⋅ ☀️ 75 °F

      Olivier's dog, Karma, came back from the pet sitter last night.

      So now we are three aboard the Mabaï, and of course I am happy as any dog lover at having the extra canine energy around.

      Also notable- I went to the airport to pass immigration, easy peasy; got a delicious croissant & cafe; had a real, land-based shower; and enjoyed some time among the fine folks at ACHM - the yacht club /sailing school of Mayotte.Read more

    • Day 88


      October 6, 2023 in Mayotte ⋅ ☀️ 82 °F


      I'd never even heard of it three months ago.

      Now it feels like one more on a long list of places I'm gonna miss until I am here again.

      That's one of the hazards of travel.... We can't be everywhere, can we?Read more

    • Day 81

      Full Moon (and Karaoke)

      September 29, 2023 in Mayotte ⋅ 🌙 77 °F

      I didn't get any pics of the kids singing karaoke in French, but it was pretty cute.

      Mayotte Yacht Club, Friday night. Good times, pleasant memories.

      The pizza next door was delicious, the moonlit calm water dingy ride home was breathtakingly beautiful.Read more

    • Day 80


      September 28, 2023 in Mayotte ⋅ ⛅ 79 °F

      There's a really cool wrecked schooner in the moorings near the Mayotte Yacht Club.

      What was once a disaster for someone: sinking your schooner can't be fun....

      Is now a reef teeming with fish and growing corals. Beautiful.

      So sometimes things just take a little time to convert from "bad" to "good", that's life!

      Also, sailed some. Sailing is fun.
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    • Day 85

      Au Revoir, Cielo

      October 3, 2023 in Mayotte ⋅ ☀️ 82 °F

      I feel deep gratitude for how generously Kimi and Phil invited me into theor floating home.

      My stay aboard the Cielo was full of great conversation, beautiful coral and turtle spotting, dolphins, delcious food, a day long lark on the big(ger) island, some good sailing lessons, software instructions, lemurs, laughter, and encouragement to follow my heart and dreams.

      Farewell, friends!
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    • Day 85

      Couché de Soleil Entre Amis

      October 3, 2023 in Mayotte ⋅ ⛅ 82 °F

      The day was a wee bit stressful - at least what passes for stressful in my presently charmed existence.

      As Cielo headed off to South Africa I found myself at loose ends without much clear direction but with an abundance of surety that it would all work out.

      Over a coffee (delicous, delcious coffee) and some pastries (er mer gerd delicous apple filled thingy and pain au chocolat) Olivier invited me to join him in the afternoon for a beach stroll with some friends, and to talk about staying aboard Mabaï.

      So! much of my immediate problem (where to sleep) was resolved. My alternative was to test out my French skills and find an AirBnB... Which I did not relish doing for various reasons, not the least of which was the likely distance from the Yacht Club which has become a comfortable pseudohome. Et voilà!

      I still need to clarify my own next steps. Relying on the generosity of friends only goes so far. I'm leaning towards a flight to Madagascar and also looking into aome alternatives while keeping an open mind and saying "yes", which has worked remarkeably well to date.

      We went to the beach. It was a beautiful cloudy afternoon. Dogs cavorted. The sun put on a show. We strolled. I practiced French.

      After the sun dropped behind the verdant hills of Grande-Terre we headed back to the club for a delightful meal with three boats' crews. I borrowed a scooter to grab wine and some snacks to add to the potluck, and a fine time was had by all in French, English, and Spanish.

      An amusing lesson learned last night: vin (wine) and vingt (20) are pronounced exactly the same in French and neither sounds at all like how they are read-aloud in English.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Mayotte, Mayɔte, ሜይኦቴ, مايوت, Mayot, Востраў Маёта, Мейот, Mayoti, মায়োত্তে, মায়োটি, Majote, Mayotte nutome, Μαγιότ, Majoto, مایوت, Mayoot, Majot, મેયોટ, מאיוט, मैयट, マヨット島, მაიოტა, Майотт, ಮಯೊಟ್ಟೆ, 마요티, Maiotta, Departement Mayotte, Majotte, Mayotɛ, ມາຢອດ, Mayotte’as, Mayote, Majota, Mayôty, Мајоте, മയോട്ട്, मायोट्टे, मायोट्ट, Maiòta, ମାୟୋଟେ, Majotta, Майотта, Mäyôte, மயோத், మాయొట్టి, มายอต, Meioti, Майот, مایوٹ, Orílẹ́ède Mayote, 马约特, i-Mayotte

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