Indian Ocean Cruise 2010 - Ile St-Marie, Madagascar

Madagascar is 600km east of the African mainland. It is the 4th largest island in the world and over 1500km in length.

Malagasy culture reflects a blend of Southeast Asian, Arab, African and European influences. It gained independence from France in 1960 and since then there has been a struggle for control among Malagasy groups.

Madagascar's long isolation from the neighboring continents has resulted in a unique mix of plants and animals, many found nowhere else in the world. The most famous are probably the lemurs.

We visited 2 places, a tiny island off the Ile St-Marie and then, after a day at sea, we docked at the new port of Fort Dauphin.

The ship stopped near Ile St-Marie and the lifeboat was lowered to collect some of the crew who would be taking us ashore later in the day.




We anchored to the West of the islands. On the left is the southern tip of lle St-Marie. The tiny island on the right is Ile Aux Nattes which is only 3km in diameter. On the far side of the islands is a reef so the waters around the island are very sheltered. We were taken ashore in rubber zodiacs.

There are no roads on the island, just footpaths. There are beautiful beaches and shallow seas for swimming. I did some snorkeling off this beach and saw quite a few fish,

The weather was very changeable. From sunny skies it changed to dark clouds, we then had a couple of downpours and then sunshine again.

After getting soaked in a downpour we decided to find somewhere for a drink and ended up in this small bar. We didn't have any local currency and the owner didn't have change for US dollars or rand so the guy on the left bought us a drink. He used to have a restaurant in the French Pyrenees but has now retired to live here.

We spent an hour or so there chatting in French. The 2 police officers were also invited for a drink by the French guy.


The ship at anchor off the island.

At sea, on board the MSC SInfonia.



Ile St-Marie, Madagascar.

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar.

Maputo, Mozambique.


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