Day 237, Year 5 Father’s Day River Trip
Date: Sunday, June 20, 2010
Weather: Mostly Sunny AM, Overcast PM; Winds SE 18-22 Knots
Location: Ampanasia Bay, NW Madagascar

Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers we know. Ed and Lynne graciously let us use their SAT phone to call our son-in-law Jed and son Justin to wish them a happy day. We got through to Jed, but not to Justin. So Justin, if you are reading this, we hope you had a wonderful day. Heather and Jed were getting ready to take off on a bicycle ride with Jonah and Sam, so we caught them just in time. Sam talked to Granddad and told him he missed him and Jonah waved at the phone, so Mark is a happy father/grandfather. My present to Mark was to hang individual tiny photos of Heather, Jed, Justin, and Jo on the wall by his side of the bed. Now every morning when he gets up, the first thing he will see is photos of his kids. His other present was a reprieve from work for a trip up the river. At first the river was about 100 feet wide, but by the time we got as far as we could go, it was less than 10 feet wide. We saw birds–a bee eater, a black egret, and a fish hawk-and we really enjoyed the quiet without incessant winds blowing. We saw zebu (Madagascar cows) along the way and lots of jumping fish. When we got as far as we could go, we got out and explored. We were surprised to find coconut palms, lots of zebu and a man tending the cows. We were even more surprised to find fenced stockades for the cows, and a fenced off garden area where banana trees and tall grasses grew. By the time we left, there were three men tending the cattle along with a little white dog. We got waves from the men, but no one approached us. We saw more young baobab trees, some in bloom, and lots of jumping fish. There was one little bird that looks like an iridescent bright blue flash that kept crossing our path, but it was impossible to photograph. All in all it was just a nice quiet reprieve from being on the boat for so many days. Later in the day, Mark, Ed, and I went to shore to burn garbage and explore a bit more. I ran into a flock of Sicklebilled Vangas, a black and white bird with a long curved bill. I also found another flowering baobab. The baobabs we are seeing here have white flowers with a yellow center and sometimes a red tinge to the edges of the white flowers. So it was a good day of exploration.

Ed and Lynne came over for dinner and we finally celebrated our arrival here with a little champagne. Ed hopes to get up at 5:30 in the morning and try to raise a headsail before the winds start blowing, so we will get up and be there to help. We will then pull up anchor and head south, maybe 20 miles to an island or maybe 50 miles to another bay. It will all depend on how the sail raising goes and what the winds are like. But one way or another, we should be leaving Ampanasia Bay tomorrow.

100620 Day 237 Ampanasia Bay, Madagascar–Father's Day River Trip