Day 277, Year 5 Tsingy, Tsingy, Tsingy
Date: Friday, July 30, 2010
Weather: Yet Another Perfectly Beautiful Day with Late Afternoon Clouds
Location: Ankarana Special Reserve, N Madagascar

Today was Day Three in Ankarana and it is summed up with walking, walking, walking, tsingy, tsingy, tsingy, lemurs, lemurs, lemurs, with another cave experience thrown in for good measure. Today was our lucky day. We saw three different kinds of lemurs-the Northern Sportive Lemur, the Crowned Lemur, and the Sanford’s Lemur. And we saw them in many places so we were ecstatic. Lemurs in the wild are not acclimated to people like the ones on Nosy Komba. The two experiences are totally different. It was wonderful to have them jumping on us on Nosy Komba, but it is a true thrill to spot them in the wild. The tiny Northern Sportive Lemurs peeking their little heads out of holes in trees and looking at us with those BIG eyes was just too cute. The walking distance was triple today what it had been on previous days and we saw enough tsingy for a lifetime. It was a gloriously beautiful day and our feet surely feel the pain of so much walking. As they say, “No pain, no gain.” We have seen so much and enjoyed every minute, but tomorrow morning at an obnoxiously early hour, we must walk out to the main road to catch our taxi brousse back to Ankify and then our boat back to Nosy Be and on to Nosy Sakatia.

Goulam has been a fantastic guide. At every point, he has gauged just how much more we could physically take without being miserable. Walking with him is like walking with an encyclopedia of knowledge of plants and animals. I find it unbelievable that he can look at almost any plant, tree, or animal here and immediately give you Latin name for it. When we returned today, he loaned me three books to look at: 1) Birds of the Indian Ocean by Ian Sinclair and Olivier Langrand, 2) A Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar by Frank Glaw and Miguel Vences, and 3) Plantes de Madagascar Atlas by Lucile Allorge (written in French but Latin names remain the same). As I looked through the books, I realized that Goulam’s spelling of the Latin names of all of the plants and animals that he has written in my journal while on the trail were right on. He truly is amazing. I didn’t carry a journal with me on the day that we arrived, but I quickly learned that there was no way that I could keep up with Goulam without having him write things down for me. Both Mark and I feel richer knowledge-wise and richer as an individuals for having spent three days with Goulam. What Madagascar treasures he and Ankarana are.

I am writing this log under one of the covered picnic table areas just outside Goulam’s main office and kitchen, as well as the place where he sleeps. At 6 pm the generator goes on and a TV in front of the main office is switched on. Many people from the nearby village come here to watch what I would call Madagascar MTV in the evenings. Each of the guest huts has one light that can be turned on during the 6 to 10 pm hours, and there is one plug-in for charging camera batteries, cell phones, and for us, computers. I doubt many people bring their computers here, but I’m glad I did. Dinner will be served at 7:30 pm and tonight we will once again eat with our new friends from Austria. Then we will head to bed in order to get up at 4:45 am. We doubt that the taxi brousse will really get here that early, but we dare not take the chance of missing it.

100730 Day 277a Ankarana NP, Madgascar–Ankarana Day 3
100730 Day 277b Anakarana NP, Madagascar–Goulam's Lodge