Sunday, 25 October 2015

Last Port - Mahajunga, Madagascar

Mahajunga is our final port of call or provisioning, before we head down the coast for South Africa. Like Helleville, its a bustling old time port, the old town filled with decaying French buildings and the new town growing up in a "1960's concrete modern" sort of way around the old port.

Here again we were captivated by the maritime culture, dominated by sailing vessels of all kinds.

Schooners, outrigger sailing canoes, dhows, just about anything that floated had a rig and sails of some kind.

Of course the sails were not hi-tech and they often had large pieces missing, but the boats still traveled well and the crews were always happy to see us.

That sailing bond works wonders, even when we don't speak the language.

The waterfront was a dynamic place, a blur of old and new, goods being loaded and unloaded on the backs of smiling young men, running along rickety wooden planks carrying everything from live chickens to crates of Coca Cola.

We provisioned here for our crossing to South Africa, a 1400 nautical mile voyage that crosses the Mozambique Channel and takes us south, eventually to Cape Town.  Majunga has fabulous markets, and we were able to stock up with everything we needed - fresh fruits, vegetables, local pork sausages and diesel to top off our fuel tanks.

To our surprise we also found a fabulous restaurant and brasserie, serving world class cruising with a local twist.  At La Rotonde, the Malagasy chef is a certified artist and we'll remember his plates fondly as we cross the ocean for the next few weeks.

Bartering For Fruit At The Market
The primary service locations for visiting sailboats (supermarkets, fuel stations, port captain etc) are relatively simple to find, however we marked them up on the Google map below.  Just click on the map to explore Mahajunga.

From here we will coastal hop south for another two days, then head west across the Mozambique Channel when we have a good weather forecast.  Our blog posts will be less frequent without internet access, but you can track our voyage on the live map at the top of the page, which updates hourly.