Day 346, Year 5 Village Visit
Date: Thursday, October 7, 2010
Weather: Mostly Sunny, Winds 15 Knots-When There is Wind
Location: Baly Bay, NW Madagascar

In between the sponge stage and the punch down stage of baking bread, we took off in the dinghy to visit a village that Pieter and Carla on Odulphus discovered yesterday. They said they women needed clothing, so I picked through my threadbare wardrobe and came up with some things to take. Mark did the same. So with a backpack full of clothes and a plastic bag of empty glass jars, off we went. It is new moon and it was low tide and we were going into a shallow mangrove area with lots of sandbanks, so we had to go slowly. Once there we saw the village was much larger than we expected. And it was different from any village we have visited in Madagascar. It looked a bit like a stick fort with every hut surrounded by pole fence. I think that was to keep the goats out of the huts. It must be easier to fence the goats out than to fence them in. This village looked like an African kraal (fortified village) and the huge baobab that greeted us on the beach was definitely an African baobab. It was the biggest in terms of circumference that we have seen, but it was very short compared to its girth. We landed the dinghy and went to the area where we saw many young men and children gathered under the shade trees. We started pulling things out of my backpack to give away and young women came running from who knows where to partake. There were squeals of delight as they doled out the clothing deciding who should get what. We also took some school journals and colored pencils for the children and a few t-shirts and shorts of Mark’s for the men. An elderly gentleman approached us and motioned for us to follow him to see more baobab trees. These villagers speak no French except Bon Jour and we speak no Malagasi, but as in other parts of the world, we somehow communicate.

We returned from our village explore and Mark changed the oil, changed the Raycor fuel filter, and changed all the water filters. That part was easy, but the other half of his day was spent trying to get online with Buoy Weather to renew our subscription so we can get their weather reports for our Mozambique Channel crossing. That was not so easy and did not work. When we try to call all we get is an answering service that says they will call us back. I don’t think so. And they have not yet answered our emails. So we might have to continue on without Buoy Weather. And that brings up the point that we will not be continuing on tomorrow as planned. The weather reports we are getting from the South Africa nets match with what we are seeing here. There is no wind during the early morning to mid-morning hours and then when the winds do come they are from the WNW-the direction in which we need to go from here. And then they turn to the SW which is the direction we want to go once we are around Madagascar’s western cape. We met with Odulphus and Constance on Constance tonight and talked about our options. We decided to hang here one more day, watch the weather, and meet on Windbird tomorrow night to make a decision about moving on. Tomorrow we might go deeper into this huge bay to a larger village that is noted on the charts. That will be tomorrow’s explore.

Day 347, Year 5 Stuck in Baly Bay
Day 345, Year 5 Winds Backing, Anchor Dragging