Day 298, Year 5 South Side of Moramba Bay
Date: Friday, August 20, 2010
Weather: Sunny AM, Wind SE 10; Partly Sunny PM, Wind NE 15
Location: Moramba Bay, NW Madagascar

There was very little wind during the night and then as the sun rose above the horizon, the breeze started blowing from the land. It was a gentle ten knots and good enough for Ed and Lynne to feel they should pull up anchor and start their trip back to Nosy Be. They are doing an overnight which should get them back to Nosy Be by tomorrow evening.

We stayed on Windbird during the morning and at noon when the land breeze died down and just as the sea breeze from the northeast started blowing, we got in the dinghy and headed all the way across this wide bay to the south shore. We picked a point about two-thirds of the way from where we are to the point of land as far as we can see to the south and landed the dinghy on a beach there. The tide was still coming up and we didn’t want to stray too far from the dinghy until the tide was receding so we took off on a path leading away from the beach and promised not to walk too far before returning. The paths were obviously zebu paths and they led us to a barren area that looks like it must fill with water in the wet season and then on to tsingy cliffs. The path kept going and we wanted to go with it, but we returned to the beach to check on the dinghy. We surely wouldn’t want to lose it, and we weren’t sure we could count on the tide table being correct here. But actually it was right on. We now felt confident enough to leave the dinghy and go for a longer walk. The beach we were on was very long and the high tide line was a treasure trove of small cowrie shells and olive shells, all with different designs. Mark found one large cowrie that I love, so walking the long beach was a delight for me. At the end of the beach there was a limestone wall so we turned inland following the cliff. Immediately Mark turned around and whispered, “Maki.” The lemurs were leaping across the path in front of us and into the trees on the limestone cliff. We stopped and took photos and enjoyed their antics and then continued following the path. Actually it was more like a dirt road. We walked past a fenced area and through a wet area that brought us back out onto another beach. We walked and shelled this beach and went inland to the trail near the end of the beach. This time the trail took us uphill. We know there is a very fancy looking building on the end of the point, but as we continued to walk in that direction we could see that we were still only half-way there. We wanted to get there just to see what it is, but it was getting later in the afternoon so we turned around for the trek back to the dinghy. We saw numerous birds on the way back, more lemurs, but only one lone zebu calf. When we got back to the dinghy we could see that the sea breeze had kicked up a bit of surf. The ride back to Windbird was a little lumpy but it was dry.

We haven’t made a decision as to what we will do tomorrow-leave or stay. But unless the weather changes drastically, I think we will stay one more day. I don’t think I can leave here without visiting the momma and baby lemurs one more time and going back to the Giant Baobab beach to see the rowdy lemurs that leap through the trees there. So my vote is one more lemur hit tomorrow and then we will be on our way back north.

100820 Day 298 Moramba Bay, Madagascar–Explore #6