The people in Madagascar are very poor but resourceful. They build their houses from materials gathered from the forest and their boats are totally made of natural materials. With a few exceptions the boats or dhows don’t have any engines and rely on the wind. Fortunately there are good winds here. In the early morning there’s the last of the night breeze blowing offshore and then most mornings a sea breeze strikes up towards the land at about 10am or 11am and goes on as late as 5pm or 6pm so the fishermen go out with one and come back with the other. Their sails are made of anything from rice bags sewn together to traditional heavy cotton sails with lots of varieties in between. Some have been fortunate to be given an old sail from a yacht and I say to those following us ‘don’t throw away any sails or sail material, bring it here’. Our friends on Adina gave away a sail and were given a live chicken in exchange! The Malagasy are very accomplished sailors and we often find they will try and race us when we’re sailing off shore and one of them very nearly beat us!
They use their dhows for fishing but also as transportation as the roads here are fairly basic or nonexistent.
This dhow is so heavily loaded the guy on the tiller can’t see where he’s going but relies on his fellow sailors to keep a look out. They were fairly close to shore where there was very little fetch because I could see it capsizing in any kind of sea.
Sunday 4th September we left Sakatia for Crater bay. There is a small ‘marina’ there that has quite a few charter boats on buoys. They offer a pontoon for your dinghy (but you need to lock it on) and the marina manager Rudi is Austrian and often able to help if you have a problem on board. We anchored outside the buoys at
048 13.151E with 14.9M under our keel.
Ashore there is a small bar built around some old engines that were probably in use here many years ago. It has cold beer with a limited selection of food and is a good yachtie meeting place. Note the bananas growing above the tables on the left hand side, now that’s fresh!
(For yachts following on behind us, this is the only place that had a theft this year but they were caught and punished and all was well after that. It’s important to lock up your boat and dinghy here but don’t be put off coming, it’s an interesting place.)
Monday morning we went in search of fresh supplies. It’s a 20 minute walk to the road along a dirt track. The houses were very primitive. Zebu carts were being used again.
This lady had set up a stall outside her house to sell some fresh produce. I try and buy one or two things from each person rather than everything from one. It spreads the wealth a bit.
This is their water supply.
Again their kitchens are outside.
We reached the town and found it quite busy. This is the main road.
Oddly enough one of the busiest shops was the Orange phone shop. Mobiles are becoming popular in the towns where there are phone masts but away from the towns they can’t afford such luxuries as a phone.
Next door was the butcher – unbelievable! The meat was covered in flies and we were told if you buy it early enough before the flies get on it , it’s ok! Err no, call me old fashioned but I would rather not share my meat with the flies. Not sure if it’s put in a fridge overnight because it looked fairly fresh but it wasn’t going to be good for our western stomachs.
A bit further down the road was a supermarket called the big bazaar which had reasonable supplies but across the road was the reason to come to crater bay…. a chandler.
It’s run by an Austrian guy called Roland Kofler his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org really helpful and speaks good English. It was surprisingly well stocked. Bill was able to buy some parts he’d been looking for.
After we’d had a look around, stocked up on provisions and had a nice lunch at the Catalan restaurant, we headed back to the boat again.
The thing that saddens me most about these remote countries is the children. These little chaps were playing in the dirt with a handmade toy and a broken one. They seemed happy enough but it breaks my heart. When I think of what the children have back home and how these children would really appreciate a tine bit of it. The odds aren’t good for them, 1 in 5 dies before the age of 5 but the ones we met seemed happy.
One of the few children we saw with shoes on.
As we walked back down the lane we could see the boats in the anchorage over the top of the buildings. On a closer look of the buildings we realised it was some kind of builders merchant. There were roof sections made of palm leaves, different sized logs for the frame work and sides of buildings made of split bamboo.
This poor man was struggling, the logs must have been very heavy.
It would have been interesting to know the prices they were charging for the materials, although the average income is US$5 a day. No minimum wage here.
These dhows were waiting for the tide to re-float them. They are very striking.
Back at the marina this is one of the puppies I wanted to take with me. So beautiful but full of fleas. He’s only this big because he’s feeding from his mother, she on the other hand was skin and bone. Difficult.
Tuesday we motored back to Hellville to see our friends on Norsa and Solstice arrive from Mayotte. We all went ashore so they could check in and then met up later for lunch at our favourite cafe called the Oasis. Built in a Parisian street cafe kind of style the food is very good but the best are the chocolate brownies with a nice cappuccino. Yum
The following day Tintin joined us from the islands and we had drinks on Camomile in the evening to celebrate. Rather a lot of drinks….
…. which resulted in Norman falling in the water! No photos available. Haha
Thursday we motored back to Crater bay for a few days so the others could visit the chandler.
Saturday we sailed back to Sakatia lodge for more delicious food.
A note about Sakatia lodge, it isn’t a restaurant it’s a dining room for guests, which we were welcome to join but the meal is a set meal. We were very lucky that night.
There were two plates this size for the six of us, wonderful food.
It was finished with homemade orange ice cream with an orange liqueur.
Now remember we aren’t on holiday!