Day 260, Year 5 Nosy Sakatia to Tani Keli to Nosy Kisamani
Date: Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Weather: No More Rain; All Sunshine
Latitude: 13 degrees 34.820 minutes S
Longitude: 048 degrees 05.112 minutes E
Location: Nosy Kisamani, NW Madagascar

The trek south has begun. We left Nosy Sakatia early this morning and picked up a mooring ball off Tani Keli at 9:30 am. Just this year Tani Keli has become an official national park and marine reserve, and as soon as you arrive someone comes out in an official national park boat to give you directions on where you can anchor or pick up a mooring ball. We arrived just before Constance, so we picked up the only mooring ball available for bigger boats. I would never spend the night on that mooring, but it was great for today’s use. We hopped in the water and swam over to the designated snorkeling area. Mark and I had on our 3 mil dive skins which protected us from the little stingy things in the water and kept us warm. Ed and Lynne only have thin Lycra suits and they had to get out before us as they were very chilly. But we all enjoyed the very clear water and the fish. We saw all the same varieties that we had seen at Nosy Sakatia, just more of them, plus a few new fish. The wrasse and coris which are always colorful fish, were really a highlight at Tani Keli. They were larger than we have seen before and therefore easier to photograph, so we got a few good photos of species that we have been trying to capture for months. We saw a huge grouper and a scary looking giant moray and then we saw a nursery full of baby butterfly fish and loads of anemones and different types of anemonefish. So snorkeling was a success and then we returned to Windbird to clean off the prop and the waterline. While we were cleaning we saw that the three Remoras that attached themselves to our keel in Nosy Sakatia have stayed with us. Remoras are commonly called shark suckers and they attach themselves to sharks and other large fish, sometimes whales, and in this case, to a sailboat. They’ll eat any good garbage thrown overboard and can’t hurt anything, so we don’t mind having the hitchhikers. After two hours in the water, we got out to eat and then headed to shore to take a short hike to the lighthouse at the top of the island and to see the fruit bats, lemurs, and birds that live on the tiny island. The lemurs were Brown Lemurs, different from the Black Lemurs on Nosy Komba, we were excited about seeing a different species. They charge 10,000 Ariary which is the equivalent of $5 US per person to enjoy the Tani Keli experience, but it was worth it. We will probably stop there again when we return from our trip south.

We motored three hours into the afternoon sea breeze coming from the west as we headed southwest to Nosy Kisamani. This is a little island just off the mainland. We actually decided to anchor in a bay off the mainland across from Kisamani, but we will explore that island by dinghy tomorrow. We are anchored off a part of the mainland that juts out to the west before heading south again, and we might spend a few of days in this area exploring other islands before heading to Russian Bay which is at the end of the westward jutting piece of mainland. Once there, we will probably spend a week or so before moving further south.

100713 Day 260a Tani Keli, Madagascar–Underwater Tani Keli
100713 Day 260b Tani Keli, Madagascar–Tani Keli Land Explore