Day 353, Year 5 Nosy Androtara to Nosy Andrano
Date: Thursday, October 14, 2010
Weather: Clear Day, Winds W 5 in am, 16 in pm
Latitude: 18 33.079 S
Longitude: 43 54.183 E
Location: Nosy Andrano, Barren Islands, W Madagascar

We did move today, but only seven miles. But before moving, we spent the entire morning continuing to study the various weather reports. What a tedious job and we don’t know any more than we did this morning. We played out scenarios leaving today, tomorrow morning, and Saturday morning, and none of the three options really worked because of some strong W and SW winds coming in a couple of days out in the Mozambique Channel. Soooooo, this job continues. Another complication is that we don’t seem to have good radio reception here. We have not been able to get a clear report from either South African net since arriving here. We don’t know if we are in a skip zone (simply a dead spot where the transmissions skip over) or if weather conditions have just made for bad propagation. Mark is receiving new BUOY WEATHER reports right now via email and we will take another look at those. All we have decided is not to leave today. Who knows about tomorrow? We did talk to Odulphus and they plan to arrive here tomorrow. Maybe getting the heads of three captains together will be better than two. Ed and Lynne did decide to not to leave today, but they are still holding out hope for tomorrow morning. This whole process of looking for a weather window could drive a person crazy. It has made this feel like the longest day of the year.

We left Nosy Androtara and sailed the seven miles to Nosy Andrano around noon. We just put up the headsail and had a delightful slow sail across. I had hoped to dinghy over to another island, Nosy Lava, to walk the beach at low tide, but it is about three miles and very windy so it would be a bouncy, wet dinghy ride. We have decided to go over early in the morning when there is no wind. Low tide is at 9 am so we will leave here just after the 8 am net. Even if we are going to leave tomorrow morning, we’ll have time to do this first. When we got to Nosy Andrano were a bit surprised to find two very new looking dhows at anchor right where we had hoped to put the hook down. Constance and Samancande also sailed over, so this tiny little island now has five boats at anchor. Roland explained the people on this island are brought out here from the mainland to dig sand out of the middle of the island and then carry the 60 kilo (120 pound) bags down to the beach to be loaded on the boats. The sand is used for construction but there is so much sand along the mainland coast, I can’t figure out why they have to take it from this tiny island. Maybe it has some special properties. Evidently the local workers are brought out here for three months, taken back to the mainland for one week off, and then back out again. Roland says the pay is very low and the working conditions are not the best so he calls it Slave Island. He and Judine came by Windbird on their way to shore this afternoon. Roland asked if we had any old men’s clothing that we could send in for the men. Well, all of the men’s clothing on this boat is old, but when its all you’ve got you can’t afford to give too much away. But we managed to find a couple of pair of well-worn shorts and a couple of shirts that Mark hasn’t worn in five years. I figure that makes them ‘donatable.’ Then when Roland came back he was looking for an antibiotic for a one-year old that has a huge abscess on the side of her face and for eye drops for a man who can’t open his eye. After a search that has our aft bathroom and bed looking like a cyclone hit, I did find an antibiotic that can be given to a baby and some cleansing eye drops. When Roland and Judine came over to get the things they brought with them what looked like the whole Malagash fleet. There were four pirogues full of men and young boys. The man with the swollen eye was in one canoe and Judine gave him directions for the eye drops. The father of the baby with the abscess was also in that pirogue and Judine gave him specific directions for giving the antibiotic along with water and crackers I was giving him for the baby. Evidently these people have almost no drinking water. I just hope that what we were able to give helps the baby.