Day 241, Year 5 Day Trip to Nosy Ankarea
Date: Thursday, June 24, 2010
Weather: Another Gorgeous Day, Winds 15 From Land, Then from Sea
Location: Maribe Bay, Nosy Mitsio, NW Madagascar

Bolatara! I really have no idea how to spell this, but it is the equivalent in Malagasy (pronounced MAL-a-gash) of ‘Bonjour’ in French. And it was a good day. Ed and Lynne came over in their dinghy at 7:30 am. We attached their dinghy to Windbird, pulled up the anchor, and motored Windbird the four miles out to little but high Nosy Ankarea. We arrived by 8:45 am, took Constance’s dinghy to shore, and walked the beach at low tide. It is always fun to see what kind of shells wash up in different places Here it seems that small cowries, cones, and nerites (little dome-shaped shells with ‘teeth’ at the opening on the underside). We also found some heavy shells that I can only describe as ‘bumpily.” My find of the day was a Textile Cone. My two front pockets were so heavy with rocks and shells that I was sure my pants were going to fall down before we completed our walk. But I made it just fine and am enjoying looking at my haul of smooth black rocks and shells from the beach. When we came to the bigger black rocks at the end of the beach, we had another delightful surprise. There were lots of small baobab trees in bloom and some VERY large baobabs as well. One of the big trees was about thirty feet in circumference and had a large hole in it so that you could see that it was hollow inside. After investigating the baobabs, large and small, we walked on a trail that led back in the general direction we had come from. We immediately saw that this end of the beach, in the forest just off the beach, was the location of a resort at some time in the past. We could see the foundation posts of beach huts and further back in the forest we found two buildings which at some time in the past had three bathrooms each-with running water for showers and a toilets. So the huts on the beach were probably built like the traditional huts here since there is no sign of them left except for the foundation posts and the bathhouses were constructed of brick, concrete, and tile and were quite modern and durable. There was a lovely Morning Glory Bush with delicate pink morning glory flowers, a Coral Hibiscus with a red, fringy flower with a long stamen hanging down several inches with stigmas at the end that looked like a little bottle brush. There were a couple of Frangipani trees in bloom with white flowers with yellow centers and the required Bougainvillea with dark red blossoms. There were mango trees, papaya trees, and banana trees. You could see that this resort was its own little paradise at some time. We kept following a path and then made our own path until we reached a boggy area. We saw a dead crab that gave us some idea of what the live critters who live here look like and we saw a beautiful butterfly, maybe a dragonfly, with clear wings that were tinged with a bright, bright red. There was an orange butterfly and a white one with red and black spots. So we chased butterflies for a bit and than took the path back out onto the beach. It was a lovely explore.

We fought the incoming tide to get the dinghy off the beach and went back to Windbird to have lunch and then motor back to Maribe Bay. We are at anchor not far from where we have been the past two nights, but in the morning we will up anchor again (weather permitting) and head around the south side of Nosy Mitsio to an island called Tsara Banjina. It is about twelve miles from here, so we should arrive early in the day. The water there is supposed to be crystal clear and the snorkeling very good. Our plan is to spend only one night there and head for Nosy Sakatia near Nosy Be on Saturday. We know there is internet there and we are trying to reach there in time to talk to Justin, Jo, and Ziggy before they head to England (on Monday) and to ‘talk’ to Jonah on his first birthday. If all this works out, we will then check-in on Monday in Hell-ville. Constance is not leaving with us tomorrow, but they hope to join us in Hell-ville for the check-in process. I hope the name of the town doesn’t indicate the type of check-in process we might have!

100624 Day 241 Nosy Mitsio, Madagascar–Day Trip to Nosy Ankarea