Saturday, October 3, 2015

Nosy Be Madagascar Sep-Oct 2015

Hellville is the biggest town on Nosy Be.  Nosy Be is the biggest tourist island in Madagascar.   And this is the commercial port where everything comes ashore.  The small cargo ship that arrived during our time here anchored off and the cargo was dispatched onto smaller vessels that brought it ashore.  There was a crane on the wharf that could lift containers but we didn't see how the containers moved between the wharf and the ship.  We went on an island tour instead. 
A previous load that came over on a local boat from the mainland carried these slabs of foam for new bedding seen here.  And every size and type of plastic container/tub/bucket that is used on the island.  Cheap plastic that doesn't last long in this sun, but we did have to buy a new wash tub as ours cracked beyond use while we were here.  The crates are full of tomatoes and carrots, the bags possibly held cassava or potatoes; who knows.  You can see the guys with 50 kg bags of rice carrying them up the ramp on their heads or shoulders at the left.  They got 1000 Ariary per bag they offloaded from a boat.  That is less than 30 cents US.  But I saw guys running them up the ramp!  Very strong men.
 Ox carts are still a popular conveyance here.  They cost more than a tuk-tuk though  That building on the left is the Duty Free shopping area and is the fanciest building in town, just across the street from the supermarket.
 The 'blood moon' full moon that had the lunar eclipse the following morning.  This is just rising over the mountain and clouds in Hellville anchorage.
 Looking the other direction across the anchorage towards the wharf at sunset.
 Karen on her birthday.
 A local guy paddled out in his canoe to try to sell us fruit and get rope for his sail and/or t-shirts or fishing line.  He didn't want to trade--sell for money or give him stuff for free only.
 A big hollowed-out mango tree on the street by the police station.  Huge mango trees line the streets here and provide the only shade around.
 A local sailing 'dhow' bringing down its sail as it comes into the anchorage and wharf area.
 Down she comes!  These guys are pretty good at maneuvering these boats around.  When they run out of wind in the anchorage, they pull out long bamboo poles and pole themselves in or start their little outboards if they have them.  At low tide, they may have to pole through the mud.
 The guys load the 50 kg bags of rice onto the wharf and then lift them again to load them onto a truck to take away.  Seems like double the effort to me, but maybe they get paid twice for them....
 The pizza cook at Nandipo's, where we went for a birthday celebration in a group of fourteen yachties.  The pizzas were quite delicious.
 The bathroom at Nandipo's had old vinyl records on the walls for decoration.  And it had toilet paper!  That was unusual.  And soap to wash your hands with.  One of the better toilets I've seen here.

Our group enjoying Three Horses Beer while waiting for our meals.
 A collection of old rum bottles and spirit bottles on the wall at Nandipo's.
 The outside of Nandipo's.  Just in case you're looking for a good place to eat when you come to Hellville.
 The market in Hellsville had lots of nice ripe fruit.  We finally were in someplace during mango season!  Lots of bananas, too, and the lemurs love bananas.
 Lots of woven hats and baskets available here.  Even the shopping baskets at the stores are often woven baskets.
 Jason pretending to use a mortar and pestle in the market.  Tomatoes here are abundant and good.  Fresh mint and basil and sometimes coriander/cilantro.
 Our first stop on our day tour of Nosy Be was this village oif Marodoka, the original port town.  This was the location of the richest men in town and the ruin in the background was the house of the richest man, an Arab.
 Ficus roots now grow around the foundation of the abandoned house.
 Jason and Karen in front of a hole in the wall around the old mansion.
 Inside, the ficus roots are starting to take over the structure.  Cool looking, I think.  Reminds me of Angkor Wat in Cambodia.  The locals claim ghosts came to 'tease' the people who tried to live here and they all ran off.  Today, nobody will live here as it is considered haunted still.  It is 'fadi', or forbidden to spit in the mansion.
 The original port.  Back in the 1700's this was the dock out to the port.  It's low tide now.
 The boats sit on mud at low tide here.  It's a big tide because of the full moon, but we really pay attention to the depths when we anchor so we don't end up on the bottom.
 A big ficus tree that seems to have a hole in the center of it.  The colored wrap is a prayer symbol.
 An old door from a wealthy French inhabitant of the past.  The fancy scroll work indicates it belonged to a wealthy person.  It is now another ruin in the village.
 Our guide, Thomas, is on the right.  The guy in blue in the center is explaining about the history of the village and the mosques in French; then Thomas translates for us.  We were Thomas' second group tour, so he still didn't know all the guy had to tell us.
An ox cart rolls past the turquoise mosque we went in to see.  It was the oldest site for a mosque here.
 Inside the mosque, you see the floor covered in patchwork of old linoleum.   That's pretty typical.  Women aren't always allowed in to see the mosques.  All must remove shoes before entering.
 Women must stay behind the wooden walls when they come to worship in the mosque.  They are always separated from the men.
 The morning catch.  Kind of pathetic.
 A little kitten resting on its paw in a doorway of a home here.
 A typical Madagascar home.  Except this one has been moderized/upgraded with tin roof and door.  Usually, the roof is thatched pandanus leaves.  Floors are coconut palm slabs and the walls are bamboo and sticks.
 A young boy looks out his window of his home.
 The inside of the 'rapid mosque', for the slaves of the village.  The slaves were not allowed to mix and pray with the other Muslims, even after being freed.  A local tribe gave them the land to build the mosque, but then would have nothing more to do with them.  They prayed for quick solutions to immediate problems, hence the name 'rapid mosque'.  In thanks for the good resolution to their prayers, they often gave clocks to the mosque.  It is good to know when to pray towards Mecca.  This one had over a dozen clocks inside it.
 The local Muslim cemetery.  The well-to-do got fancy grave markers like these.  Normal, poor folks just get plain concrete slabs.
 A view of the harbor from the road as we went by.  That is YOLO ont he left with the orange buoy/dot on the transom.  The cargo ship stayed out there and offloaded its cargo from there.
 Local dhows sit on the mud at low tide.  The bags of cement and/or sand come in from the mainland for building purposes here.  We were told that the sand on Nosy Be is a protected resource because tourists come here for the beaches.  So they bring in sand from elsewhere.
 The ox carts wait along the shore for work to do.
 Just outside the front steps of the main market in Hellville.  See the man with chunks of Zebu beef for sale hanging off a stick he wears like a yolk.
 The "Sacred Tree", a giant ficus tree planted by the queen nearly 200 years ago.  It now covers 5000 square meters and is huge.
 Our guide at the Sacred Tree helped us all into traditional garb for the walk through the tree area.
 Karen in her traditional garb:  a wrap around tube of material tied front and center, with a matching shoulder fold laid over the shoulder loosely.
 The men got traditonal garb, too:  A sarong of material tied around the waist.  Jason's height gets him a smile every time.
 Some of our group in their finery.
 Waiting for the guide in the shade.  No shoes allowed in the Sacred Tree area.  One must enter and exit with the right foot first.
 Jason and Rene looking around under the giant ficus tree roots.
People drape the roots in red to pray for gold, and white to pray for silver.  The skulls of a zebu cow are considered offerings, too, as is honey. 
 Some makako lemurs live here and the guide called to them by name:  Kiki and Vanessa.  The black ones are  males, the brown one female.
 I carried a banana in to feed the lemurs and they came down for the goodies to greet us.
 This is Vanessa and she loved the bananas.  She has a 3-month old baby on her back, too,
 These lemurs are pretty used to folks here.
 They would reach as far as possible to get to a banana in someone else's hand.
 Here you can see the baby on the back.  Babies cling to the underside of the belly for the first month, then move to the back for the next two months before heading off on their own.
 That's me feeding Vanessa some banana.  They have lovely cool, soft hands.  And they were very gentle.
 Another shot of a male far away.
 Two males looking for the banana.  It's already gone.
 These were the only three lemurs we saw here, plus the baby.
 Ley from Crystal Blues had a spare banana and was the center of attention until it was gone.
 They are cute, those lemurs.  At last count, there are 102 species of lemurs in Madagascar.
 Our group photo in traditional garb at the Sacred Tree.
 In the little museum, they had some big shells.
 Ley in her new hat, wondering if we were to help ourselves to the cinnamon tea and vanilla rum.
These are ylang ylang flowers.  Nosy Be is known as the perfume island and has a distillery where these blossoms are made into essential oils to be used for perfumes, lotions, and such.  A very strong, sweet smell that is lovely!
The largest rum distillery has been left to go to ruin and they won't allow tourists inside it anymore, for safety reasons.  This island used to grow lots of sugar cane, but the government stopped the support for the sugar cane and folks stopped growing it.  The rum distillery is now broken down and the government has said it will once again encourage the growth of sugar cane, will revitalize the 'society' that supports an industry, and get the rum production going again.  Unfortunately, they will have to pretty much rebuild this plant from scratch as it is too far gone to be of much use and too little can be repaired at this stage of decay.
Mango trees are everywhere here.  This little girl has a can on the end of a bamboo pole and uses it to pick mangoes off the branches.  She picked and sold a bunch to our group.
An old locomotive from the sugar cane train that used to run here.  Now, even the track is no longer usable.
Jason on the locomotive.
Jason enjoying a beer at lunch in the beachside restaurant.
A roadside stand selling local made handicrafts when we stopped to view a crater lake.  The facial mask is actually a certain tribe's makeup.  Sakalava women wear the yellow paste on their faces as they go about their daily chores.  Some, like this lady, add fanciful flower designs to it.  It always looks cracked to me, but I think it also keeps the sun off their facial skin, keeping them lighter. All the jewelry here is made from seeds and shells.  Several folks bought carvings and ylang ylang oil.
Jason with some of the giant seed pods from which the big seeds come for some of the jewelry.
Looking down at one of the crater lakes.  Old calderas that are now filled with fresh water.  Some have crocodiles; others don't.
Ylang ylang tree with flowers. The yellower parts are the flowers.
A local dhow, this one unusual as it has discernable paint still on it, sails past YOLO at anchor in Crater Bay.
A little less paint on this one, but he has a pretty nice sail.
This one is all too common.  No paint and a ragged sail.  They go back and forth about 8 km to the mainland in these every day.  Morning winds blow from the east and afternoon winds from the west, so the journey is predictable.
The dhows come fully loaded with people and goods from the mainland.
This boat is pretty unusual in its shape and sails.  It was at anchor in Crater Bay when we came in.  Its bowsprit stuck out so far that we nearly clipped it coming in.

1 comment:

Chantal LEBET HALLER said...

Thank you to show us these beautiful pictures and to being able to follow you from Switzerland where we feel the winter arriving slowly, slowly
Kindest and warmest regards Enjoy the sailing to South Africa, fair wind

Chantal and Fredy