Day 259, Year 5 More Rain, More Snorkeling
Date: Monday, July 12, 2010
Weather: Rain Overnight, Partly Sunny Day
Location: Nosy Sakatia, NW Madagascar

As predicted by John Sheppard’s cook, we got heavy rain just around mid-night and it rained for a good two hours. The local lore tells us that if you are going to get rain in the dry season, it will be on the four days of the new moon. Well, that is what is happening. John thinks we will have even more rain tonight, so we shall see. Unfortunately, the rain catcher we made in Chagos doesn’t work very well, so we are not able to take advantage of the unexpected tears from heaven. Ed and Lynne, on the other hand, have a good rain catcher and they were able to collect about ten gallons of water last night. We are just relying on our water maker.

It was still mostly overcast at 9 am this morning, but it was slack tide so we decided to snorkel, sun or no sun. We wear our dive skins which are about 3 mils to protect us from the sun and from anything that stings, but today we were glad we had them on to keep us warm. Eighty degree water with little or no sun feels quite cool. We took the dinghy over to the headland by Sakatia Towers and did our snorkeling there today. We were amazed by the amount and variety of soft corals, even more anemones than we saw yesterday, and anemonefish that are definitely at the large end of their growth expectancy. Mark focused on getting video of the beautifully swaying soft corals and anemones today, but he captured a few good shots of the small fish. We didn’t see turtles or large fish, but we did see our first parrotfish in Madagascar. Tomorrow morning we pull up anchor at 6:30 am to head out to Tani Keli which is only nine miles from here. We will have current against us at that time of day, but we want to get there to snorkel before the turn of the tide and the arrival of hordes of tourists around 11 am. Tani Keli is a marine reserve and is said to have the clearest water and most abundant fish on the west coast of Madagascar. We hope the reports are correct. After snorkeling and possibly doing a walk on land, we will up anchor and head another twelve miles south to a more protected bay for the night. The holding is not good at Tani Keli, so we don’t want to chance staying there. Our goal for tomorrow night is Nosy Kisamani. So our venture south is about to begin.

Late this afternoon, Mark and I went in to Sakatia Towers to peruse some of John’s books on Madgascar and Africa. As always, John had so much information to share with us. He is just good company, but we cannot express how grateful we are to him for being so helpful. We are going to miss our forays up to the Towers, but we will be back here in a month and can once again enjoy talking with John. He told us this afternoon that if we would sit on his deck for an entire day, we would see about twenty-six different species of birds. So that is on our list for the return trip. We stayed late enough this afternoon to witness the circling of the bee eaters (birds) as they returned to the mangroves for the night. We were able to watch this event up-close and personal from the jetty where we tie our dinghy when visiting the Towers. This is a wild and unspoiled land and we appreciate it more and more every day.

Mark has written a “Captain’s Ramblings” on dinghies. It is being posted today and follows this log.

100712 Day 259a Nosy Sakatia, Madagascar–Underwater Sakatia Headland
100712 Day 259b Nosy Sakatia, Madagascar–Dinner at Sakatia Lodge