Day 333, Year 5 Two More Snorkeling Days
Date: Friday, September 24, 2010
Weather: Partly Cloudy and Humid
Location: Nosy Sakatia, NW Madagascar

Humid. How can it be humid in the dry season in Madagascar? I have no way of knowing that it is for sure, but after complaining about being hot all day when it is really not all that hot, I finally figured it out. The air has been so dry for so long that we’ve forgotten what it feels like when it is humid. It didn’t help that I was baking all afternoon again, but now we have lots of food in the fridge ready for the passage south.

We went snorkeling this morning with Ed and Lynne of Constance. We only have tomorrow and Sunday left, so we are cramming in every second of snorkeling that we can. The water clarity on the reef near the shore was not all that clear today, but it was clear enough to finally get photos of the Emperor and Semicircle Angelfishes. The Emperor is so beautiful with its vivid shades of blue, yellow, and white and the Semicircles we saw today were juveniles turning into an adult and it was just so special to see it. We are enjoying watching something called a Vermitid that is a type of mollusk. This creature lives in a tube-shaped shell that looks a bit like an empty toilet paper roll and it casts a mucous net to catch its food. Fascinating. We saw a new fish variety, something that always happens when we snorkel here, and then we went out in the channel in search of the magical spot we discovered last week. We found the huge pink Gorgonian fan coral, saw a gorgeous olive green reef stingray with vivid blue spots, a lionfish, and another Semicircle Angelfish all in one spot. And then I ran off with the camera trying to capture the beauty in a video when I saw the same strange fish that Mark saw last week. It has a big fat white head thickly dotted with black dots and slowly changes to a splotchy red body. And it literally just disappears as soon as you see it. Mark got a photo last week and then the fish vanished. I stopped the video mode on the camera today, pushed the photo button, and got a long-distance photo and then it vanished again. We showed Ed and Lynne the photos this afternoon and we are all going on a mission tomorrow to try and get a better look at this strange fish. The gorgeous gray Protoreaster linckii sea star with bright red designs and spikes is also in abundance out in the channel as are the bright orange Anthias females and the fushia-colored males and all of this together makes the channel a very special place to snorkel. We couldn’t identify the sea star last week but since then I have found it on the web and attached its scientific name. By the time we got out in the channel today the tide was flowing fast to the south, so tomorrow we will go out there first and hope for calmer conditions. When we snorkeled there on Monday of last week, Bruce, Nadine, and Tristen of Pioneer were out there. They are now home in South Africa, but Nadine, if you happen to be reading this log, just know that we’re enjoying the snorkeling for you and taking as many photos as we can to share with you when we see you in Cape Town. We’ll be out there again in the morning trying to catch the tides just right.

100924 Day 333 Nosy Sakatia, Madagascar–Underwater Sakatia S and Channel