It’s been a few days since my last update and much has been going on!
I’ll start with a somber subject: the plague.
Here we see medical professionals testing all comers to the Nosy Be Island, in the Hell-ville Port, for fever with no contact thermometers, and any signs of illness. Madagascar has seen a rise in the plague, particularly the pneumonic plague, in the past few months. The pneumonic plague is spread by droplets in the air from coughing or sneezing by an infected individual.
The people here are still very friendly and upbeat. Our Air Madagascar agent, pictured below, wanted to join us on our cruising adventures…with proper headgear too!!!
Here is Casa Mofo, a tea room, pastry bakery and restaurant in the center of Hell-ville…yummy!
We acquired fresh bread and other items of delight for provisions. And here is a familiar sight! “Get up, stand up…” Bob Marley is known everywhere…
Hell-ville is a working port, so the sight of dhows is commonplace. Dhows are lateen-rigged ships with one or two masts. These local sailors fish the waters, provide transportation or entertainment, relying on wind or human power. Most dhows do not have engines at all.
We are taking precautions while on land, reprovisioning, and will be spending most of our time off shore.
Often local entrepreneurs paddle out to our boat to sell or trade local produce....mangos and limes for a used t-shirt....and today...a bucket of live lobsters for 20,000 Aryari, less than US$7.00. The lobsters were delicious, simmered in garlic cream and butt sauce, served or Bruggul.
Later that evening, we joined some Swedish friends for rum, marshmallows and a bonfire on the beach!
We have had a dry run on fishing lately, so this catch was particularly sweet.
My life-long friend, Nachman, pictured here estimates this yellow fin tuna at 30 kilos (approximately 66 lbs). Sashimi for breakfast anyone?! Her size required eviction of some beer from the fridge in favor of tuna steaks…an easy decision!
She made it quickly to the table! We followed our good fortune with a wonderful dinner with new friends from Germany on the beautifully handcrafted Ui, sailboat. The Ui was constructed of steel in a warehouse in Leipzig Germany by a first time builder over the course of 7 years. Impeccable attention to detail by a fellow jeweler. The family has been cruising now for 6 years.
On to Russian Bay, a gorgeous bay located southwest of Nosy Be Island, off the northwest shores of the main island of Madagascar. It is said to have gotten its name because a Russian warship used to base here, sailing out to pirate passing freighters before it ran out of fuel.
A research vessel, the Spirit of Malala, anchored near us. The Spirit of Malala is used to transport volunteers working with MRCI, Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute, to remote islands and villages as part of its Island Outreach program. Volunteers spend 10 days moving to these islands and villages involved in a range of initiatives, including teaching, small construction projects and scientific research.
Most of the islands and communities visited have very basic and limited resources. The Outreach program’s aim is to assist with education, resources and basic first aid. Volunteers visit schools and distribute essential school supplies along with providing impromptu English lessons. They also assist in forest and marine programs. Amazing!
We ventured to Nosy Komba again and enjoyed the friendly lemurs, nice people and eclectic music at a new favorite spot, Malala Bar. A great place to end the day with some sundowners.
With that great end to a great day, I will sign off! Check back again soon for more Madagascar adventures!
Capt Ben Blood
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