Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Au Revoir Madagascar & Thanks For All The Fish

Our parting gift from the rich waters of Madagascar was this spectacular Wahoo, the first of this species Ley has ever caught. Neil soaked his gills with Barcardi Rum and he was quickly cut into two large boneless fillets, providing eight meals for us.

We were both quite sad to leave Madagascar. It is a unique country, with a rich culture of sailing, enchanting lemurs, baobab trees, smiling faces and stunning landscapes. For the sailor the north west coast offers fantastic cruising with a land breeze in the morning, clocking around to a sea breeze every afternoon. Flat water sailing at its best. There are so many scenic anchorages, each generally with a small village or two. Our last few anchorages along the west coast of Madagascar, from Russian Bay down to Mahajunga, simply emphasised the beauty of this country. We needed more time there ....

As we approached our final anchorage in Boina Bay, we were followed by a fast sailing lateen rigged pirogue, laden with people and cargo. We had great wind and plenty of water, and Crystal Blues was a good 15 feet longer than the pirogue. Still they powered after us up the channel, shouting, laughing and waving as they slowly reeled us in and then sailed right past us to windward, their 8 knots eclipsing our 7.5 knots. The joy of sailing strikes again !

After anchoring we decided to give away the last of our trading items to a young man fishing from a dugout canoe just offshore from us. Not sure if he caught any fish, but with our goodies and those from the yacht Ceilydh, he paddled home with a very different bounty from the sea. Incidentally, Boina Bay was one of the nicest anchorages on the coast - great shelter, clean water, beautiful environment.

We departed Boina Bay in loose company with three sailing catamarans (Yolo, Ceilydh and Papillon), all bound for Richard's Bay in South Africa via the Mozambique Channel, notorious for it's strong currents and even stronger winds. Our Iridium Go! satellite modem allowed frequent updates to weather forecast GRIB files, and OSCAR ocean current files, and we hoped to work our way across this complex piece of ocean relatively quickly. We had a full moon to light our way all night, but a limited weather window eventually forced us to to seek shelter on the Mozambique coast after six days at sea.

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