Day 351, Year 5 Arrival in the Barren Islands
Date: Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Weather: Some Clouds Early, Then Clear, Winds 0 to WNW 12-14
Latitude: 18 29.570 S
Longitude: 43 48.445 E
Location: Nosy Androtara, Barren Islands, W Madagascar

Passage Statistics:
233 miles in 2 days 7.25 hours (55 hours 15 minutes)
Sailing Hours-22 hrs 05 minutes
Motor Sailing Hours-33 hours 10 minutes
Average Speed- 4.2 Knots

Motor, motor, motor was the way it was for the last twenty hours of the passage. We turned the engine just after dinner last night and didn’t turn it off until we anchored this afternoon around 2 pm. The winds did finally come up in the last two hours of the passage but they were light and directly behind us so we just motored on. Constance was about ten miles behind us and they were able to sail the last hour or so, but then when they tried to start their motor to come into the anchorage, it wouldn’t start. Ed thinks the solenoid in the starter just got too hot from too many hours of motoring and that once everything cools down, it will start again. Let’s hope his theory is correct. Pieter and Carla on Odulphus certainly made the right decision to come down the coast and anchor at night when there is no wind. They will get here in a couple of days and then we will regroup and get ready for the passage across the Mozambique Channel. In the meantime, we will enjoy the Barren Islands. This is a group of six islands. None of the islands is very big. They are just patches of sand with scrub and sometimes casuarinas. All are surrounded by coral and the snorkeling is reported to be good. So as soon as we got here, we launched the dinghy, drove it toward the coral bank that slopes up to the shore, and then jumped in the water and drifted with the current over the coral garden. It wasn’t spectacular but the water was crystal clear and very warm. There was certainly a lot of coral but it was not particularly colorful, mostly staghorn. We saw no large fish, but a nice array of smaller fish. And the water felt wonderful. The water temperature here is 85 degrees F so we didn’t even wear our dive skins. Tomorrow we will go out to the reef at low tide and try snorkeling there. There is a fisherman’s camp here which we can’t see from this side of the island, but at low tide we could see the men walking the reef and there are at least two small pirogues that kept sailing in and out. Maybe we will make it to shore tomorrow to check out the camp. Other than temporary fishing camps, however, all of the islands are uninhabited. On Thursday we will probably move to another anchorage where we will be close enough to dinghy to Nosy Lava. This island doesn’t have a good anchorage but is reported to have a “treasure trove of rare and beautiful shells.” We’ll certainly have to check that out.