Mayotte and the passage to Madagascar
Mayotte is part of the Comoros group and the island sits inside the biggest natural lagoon in the world. We had picked up a buoy at the yacht club at
The yacht club was very friendly and had helped us with our check in but the best thing was that they had not 1 but 4 front loading, 1200 rpm washing machines with HOT water. I was in heaven, if it wasn’t nailed down it was washed while we were there.
Sunday 14th August was a good day with us making an early start and walking around the Emerald crated on Petit Terre, the little island. We walked right round the ridge along the top and down to the beaches on the other side. I’ll just post some photos for you to enjoy.
A nice panoramic shot showing the ridge path on both sides.
Before we completed the circuit a path leads south towards the beach. This is the beach on the outside of the crater rim but we couldn’t get down to it.
The path continued towards two vent bubbles that have created two beaches. To get down to the beach it’s an almost vertical track and my knees I didn’t fancy it so we continued passed the beaches to the road and walked back to the beach.
The beaches were volcanic black sand mixed with some light sand giving it a grey colour but very hot to walk on. The northern beach was mostly hard rock formed from the flowing lava many thousands of years ago.
The southern beach was more sandy and had many turtle tracks up the beach where turtles lay their eggs at night.
The sea looked very inviting after our sweaty walk but we didn’t have our swimmers with us.
After walking back up to the car park we were lucky enough to get a taxi back to the dinghy jetty.
We spent part of our second week looking for an emergency dentist because I had toothache which was getting worse and worse. Fortunately by Thursday I was sorted with a temporary filling so on Friday we hired a car for the day to look around the island.
There were some nice views from some of the headlands.
The botanical gardens weren’t very good and sadly there was a lot of rubbish strew around the island as well as a lot of ‘dead’ cars but we did find some nice beaches.
Mayotte has some species of the Baobab trees growing next to some of the beaches.
The island is dominated by Mlima Benara the highest peak on Grande-Terra. It’s distinct shape is visible from almost any where on the island.
Our last stop was at a nice hotel that had tables on the beach for a mojito.
Monday 22nd I went to the dentist again to have the root removed and the tooth filled. I was very worried although I shouldn’t have been because all was OK. We went ahead and checked out Tuesday, after a last batch of washing and shopping, and left Mayotte first thing Wednesday morning. I can’t honestly recommend Mayotte, a week would have been long enough, although we found the people were friendly and I got my tooth sorted. The main reason for going there was to avoid the Seychelles to Madagascar run, which has a notorious reputation. Instead our trip from Mayotte to Madagascar was an easy one. We exited out of the Bandrelle pass on the south east corner of the reef at 08.00 with Tintin and Elonisa. There was a light wind so we were able to start off sailing.
By 15.30 the wind had dropped and we had to motor overnight. This amazing sunset was seen in the evening. We continued motoring the next day until about 14.30 when the sea breeze from Madagascar started up and the engine was turned off again. We sailed the last three hours. Although Elonisa had gone on ahead of us being a much bigger and faster boat Camomile arrived just 10 minutes after Tintin again. The journey of 188 miles took 36 hours making it an average of 5.2 kph.
Arriving late in the afternoon our landfall had been Nosy Sakatia, north west of Nosy Be. We had anchored at
In the morning we enjoyed seeing these wonderful pirogues using the last of the land breeze to sail out to their fishing ground and in the afternoon they use the sea breeze to sail back again. They are a magnificent sight but some of the sails are very worn out. Even the little canoes have a sail of sorts on to use the wind. These guys were also paddling hard. For those yachties following along behind us, if you get new sails for your Indian ocean trip don’t through your old sails away. Bring them here, they would make very good use of them.
The next morning Tintin headed into Hellville but we didn’t want to check in until Monday morning so we motored across the bay to Nosy Kisimany to meet up with Tom and Susie on Adina.
Beautiful approach. First impressions of Madagascar are good. One of the things that’s so striking is the lack of rubbish every where. That’s mainly because the plastic age hasn’t fully reached these parts yet – long may it continue.
This wonderful canoe followed us into the anchorage on the way to his village. Again using his sail – no noisy outboards or Thai long tails here; it’s so peaceful.
We anchored at
048 05.182E in 8 metres of water.
Within minutes of putting the anchor down these little chaps sailed over to us from the village. I just want to point out we’ve never been worried about these situations and have only ever encountered friendliness.
They rolled their sail up and laid it across the outrigger before producing a fish for sale that was so stiff I dread to think how old it was. We thanked them kindly but refused it. They were asking for fishing line which we gave them along with some lollipops and they went away happy. The older one couldn’t have been much more than 9 or 10 and his brother was probably about 7.
Adina arrived and we were invited over for a meal. It was a lovely evening. It enabled us to take some nice shots of Camomile in the evening light.
The following day in the afternoon Camomile and Adina sailed across to Hellville ready for our Monday morning check in but that’s for another blog. Adina took some really good shots of Camomile on the way.