Charlie's Bird

living the dream with Charlie and Thandi and chirping all the way back to the nest.

Madagascar part 1

…so that you can be prepared for it, there will be 3 parts to this tale…

So, on the 18th of September we departed from a very chilly ORT in Jhb for Nosy Be airport. A 3 and a ha;f hour flight, which was very comfortable. As we neared Madagascar, and started to see the land below us, with all it’s little islands was so exciting. The airport is in the north of the island, so we got to really have a good look at Nosy be. And what an exciting taste of what was to come it was. Incredible!

We landed, temperatures were about 32°C (after departing in 7°C!) survived a taxi drive to the coast and then a quick trip on the water taxi and we boarded MakiCat – our home for the next 6 nights.  After an introduction to the crew (Stefan, Noël and Frederick) and a briefing on the rules of life on the boat, it was costumes on for a refreshing swim! and then it was time to watch the sun set..

.img_1868 img_1884

Watching the sun rise was a special treat after a windy and noisy first night on the yacht. Given weather conditions, our captain elected to head south, and so off we went – heading for Lemur Island – a protectorate with various species living on the island. A walk through the tropical forest saw us meeting many lemurs, much to Thandi’s delight! Snorkelling followed and then it was back onto the boat for lunch. After lunch we headed further south and eventually put our anchor down in Russian Bay. A fascinating spot, in terms of history. During WW2 the Russians had a base in Madagascar, preparing for the African invasion they intended to mount. In Europe, the war ended and peace reigned again – however the news took rather a lot longer to filter down to this little spot, so for many months after the end of the war, the Russians were still ‘fighting’ their war. Many of them never made it home, and their graves are in the area of this bay. Incredible.


Day 3 saw us heading to Nosy Iranja – a spectacle unlike anything I’d seen outside of a travel journal – 2 islands connected by a 1.2km white sandbank – wow!!! As we drew closer to the islands it got more and more exciting to watch the horizon with its white stripe. It was stunning! We were dropped off on the beach – snorkelled and swam and enjoyed some time on the beach. It’s one of the main breeding grounds for the turtles, so there were plenty of them in the waters – so graceful, flying through the water. After a spectacular day, it was a trip across some quite wind swept sea into a wide river mouth on the mainland. We anchored in the peaceful waters of Baramahamay Bay. The locals came to visit us in their canoes and we bought some of the delicious honey they collect from the bees in the region.

img_1935 my sailor girl!

img_1943img_6452 the approach

img_6431 img_6450 on the sand bank

Day 4 and after another spectacular sunrise we sailed north again to a marine reserve – Nosy Tanikely. I can only say wow! A well preserved coral reef, teeming with fish and the occasional turtle too, absolutely stunning. The boys managed to score a little dive with Stefan the skipper – they had an unique experience diving down past the drop off. Us girls spent some time chilling in the sun, then it was back to the boat for lunch again, and then an trip south to beat the wind and an anchorage again in Russian Bay.

img_6456sunrise in the bayimg_2039img_2042 Nosy Tanikely – Go pro footage to follow…

Day 5 and we headed North again – the crew dropped us off on a stretch of beach 13km long – white sand, droopy palm trees, no people! Incredible! We loved the warm water and spent lots of time swimming and then slowly roasting in the sun… Bliss. Frederick, our cook, then arrived with a picnic lunch for us – a delicious prawn curry, served on those beautiful white sands… After lunch, we started heading north again, and eventually docked in the small harbour off Ampangorinana, the main village on Nosy Komba – one of the bigger islands between Nosy Be and mainland. We stopped in at the village – a walk around and a beer in the local pub – the best part was watching the cantankerous french owner yell at the local children who made it a game to try to come up the 3 steps into the bar! Our girls were fascinated by them! A slightly noisier night than we were used to was spent in the harbour.

img_1988 the beach they take photos off for the travel magazines!

img_1991our yacht!img_2047enjoying a cool drink at the beach barimg_2051the harbour


Day 6 and we headed to a nearby island and were taken on a guided tour of the rain forest – we got to see chameleons in the wild, several more lemurs and with great excitement, a boa constrictor. Flip, those things, despite being non-venomous, are a bit scary looking! the walk also introduced me to the tenacity of the Malagascy mosquito. Yoh, munched alive! Those buggers scoffed at the peaceful sleep and tabard – could almost imagine them using it as eau de cologne or deo! Nevertheless, an amazing walk and experience. We then had a chance to explore little private island, Nosy Varona, a small bungalow, a beach with a small reef, and a boat, that’s all it was. Stunning to spend some time there, watching the world pass us by. we then looked for anchorage, and when the wind proved to be too strong for our original plan, we anchored off the village on Nosy Komba again, another trip to the beach bar, this time with a gin and tonic and more giggles with the local children.

img_2061the teeny chameleon! img_2062can you spot the tree lizard? img_2066the boa constrictor img_2069Nosy Varona – €1000/day!

A big rain storm hit us that night, much to the relief of the locals, since it helped douse an inaccessible fire on the island that was starting to threaten homes and lives. Our girls had even helped with a rain dance!

And so it was that our time on MakiCat had drawn to a close, and it was time for the crew to drop us off at Tsara Komba lodge, our next home…



1 Comment»

  halberts2014 wrote @

Aw man, way to make a person jealous. Sounds brilliant

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