Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Nosy Hara Marine Park

It is a sad fact that setting up and managing National Parks is still a challenge in Madagascar.  With the help of the WWF, and other sponsors, the Nosy Hara area has been declared a Marine Protected Area.  However that doesn't (yet) stop local boats like the one above from fishing the reef every few weeks.

We traded with these guys for a beautiful big crayfish they had speared, unfortunately before we understood that this was a park area.

That crayfish cost us some small lengths of spectra line plus a second hand wetsuit that I could no longer "accommodate" (ie climb into).  This boat carried a crew of two plus six free divers, who worked over the reef and shoreline with spear guns.

Our friends on the vessel Pakia Tea, both biologists, said the reef itself was in pristine condition, but that every fish big enough to spear was already taken.

The Park Rangers came out to us later that day in a small inflatable dinghy and we gladly paid our fees to stay in the area, though we didn't mention the crayfish.

Unfortunately the rangers are only in attendance some of the time, so many sailboats and visitors passed through the area without paying park fees.  Of course the fishing boats were also able to operate as well.....

Our stop at Nosy Hara was not all crayfish and sail repairs - we climbed the short trail to the viewpoint on top of the precipice, and recovered from our boisterous passage into the area. 

From here we travel about 100 nautical miles south to the tourist meca of Nosy Be and it's main town, Hellville.  The weather is becoming warmer, and we need to keep moving south before the cyclone season starts up here.

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