Day 292, Year 5 Not Where We Meant To Be
Date: Saturday, August 14, 2010
Weather: Beautiful Day; Wind 10-12 Knots SE then W
Latitude: 14 32.599 S
Longitude: 047 37.195 E
Location: Nosy Lava, NW Madagascar

We had hoped to be anchored at Nosy Saba tonight, but after a mid-day stop there we decided that it was just too chancy to spend the night. It is a beautiful anchorage and we will return, but we’ll plan to spend the night in a close-by anchorage on the mainland and go to Nosy Saba for the day only. That is unless the winds are more favorable than they were today. We moved on but not before jumping in the water for a quick snorkel. The anchorage was just beautiful due to the colors in the water-sparkling turquoise, milky turquoise, emerald, sky blue–there was every color of blue you can imagine. The beach looked inviting and we tried to swim ashore, but there was coral between us and shore and we were afraid of being slammed down on top of it due to the low, low tide. So we gave up and returned to Windbird. Ed and Lynne had decided not to stop and to go on to Nosy Lava. So we followed. Our stop of an hour at Nosy Saba was just the right amount of time to let the wind switch from onshore to offshore which gave us a great sail to within a mile of the anchorage on Nosy Lava.

As we have moved south, the islands and mainland have gotten much drier looking. There are spots of green, but the predominant colors are shades of harvest gold and burnt orange. And we are starting to see interesting rock formations. The anchorage here at Nosy Lava is calm and reflects these changes to a drier area. It is striking the way the desert can be striking, but not beautiful like palm-fringed white sand beach islands. In 1993 this was the location of Madagascar’s maximum security prison. One night some of the inmates escaped, swam out to a boat anchored here, killed the occupants and tried to escape in the boat. Since then, cruisers have not stopped here. The prison had such a terrible reputation that a few years ago, they simply shut it down. We have heard from other cruisers who stopped here this year that three of the inmates were left behind and still live on the island, but they are friendly and will even give you a tour of the old prison. We’ll not push our luck that far, but we did go ashore for a walk and to burn garbage. We did this just below the high tide line so this evening’s high tide will wash away the ashes.

Early in the morning we will head for Moramba Bay. It seems to be everyone’s favorite Madagascar anchorage, so we want to spend time there enjoying the beauty. One of the draws of Moramba Bay is that the Coquerel Safika lemurs live there. These lemurs are white with maroon thigh, arm, and cheek patches and leap through the trees and on land in huge bounds. They are not acclimated to humans, so they won’t be jumping on our shoulders, but just a glimpse of them in the wild will make me a happy cruiser.

100814 Day 292 Nosy Lava, Madagascar–Nosy Saba and Nosy Lava