We have finally reached Madagascar and have cleared in at the delightfully named Hellville on the island of Noisy Be.
Before reaching the shelter of Madagascar, winds increased off the Cape d’Ambre to gale force 8 and the cockpit became a no-go area except in dire necessity. It was impossible even to wear a lifejacket since it would inflate automatically when the waves swept over the boat. One of our port hatches was almost blown out by a wave, but we managed to force it shut and we arrived finally, very damp and with some tears on the sails and a missing anchor that worked loose during the passage. At times it felt as though it was going to much worse than that.
All is now calm and more or less dried out, and the prospect from our anchorage is of a beautiful sweep of red-tinged land, criss-crossed with the lateen sails of local boats. Like childbirth, it now feels worth it.