Mon 26 Nov 2007 10:10

About one year ago I was trying to make some sort off plan as to what route to take to get us from

New Zealand to South Africa, If I was to follow the recommended routes lots of places that I had

Wanted to visit would be left out we would also be sailing over large distances with mainly small

Tropical Islands as stop over`s. As we had spent the last year doing just that across the Pacific I

Decided to travel both  north and south of the equator, this gave us far more interesting Destinations

 I had also included Mauritius in the Plan, again taking no notice of the recommendations That

 from the Seychelles it was much easier to sail down the west coast of Madagascar in the Mozambique Channel to get to Durban. I in my wisdom thought it would be a shame to miss out Mauritius. Luckily

when collecting the charts together in New Zealand, Dave a delivery skipper and all round cruising

sage had given me all the charts of Madagascar and the Mozambique channel saying you just as well

take these you never know! And So it turned out after spending 3 weeks in Mayotte we all needed good

sailing with perfect conditions. I think my long suffering fabulous crew just might have got a bit mutinous

if another 1000 miles of beating to windward into large seas had been asked of them. 

 And what a fabulous place Madagascar is for sailing the conditions are superb, 15 knots of wind at night

From the land and 20 knots of sea breeze in the afternoons, sailing along the coastline is superb good

Winds and fantastic scenery. I even managed to get out on the windsurfer to make a grand total of three

Times since our stay in Tonga no wonder its taking me so long to learn to gybe it properly. We also

Had the pleasure of meeting up again with a French boat that we had been in Longoni with.

 Life for most of the people of Madagascar is very basic they are on the whole self sufficient not needing

To buy many goods. They mostly grow their on food build their own houses build their own fantastic

Canoes and small trading craft catch their own fish ect. The items most sort after are Rope for the boats

Fishing line and hooks, T shirts and shorts and glass jars and bottles, these being the goods that they can`t

Make for themselves. Very little of the 21st centaury  is part of their lives I wonder how long that will be the

Case. They are of course fantastic sailors as very few of their craft have engines unless some yachtie has not been carefully guarding his and it has disappeared overnight. It would take them  6months work if they had a

     Paying job to be able to buy £750 outboard motor, so it is easy to see why they are tempted. So here are some

                             Madagas  people doing what they do best Smiling Sailing and Fishing.


Couldn`t resist just one more sunset.   

Moramba Bay Baobab trees and sandstone Islands weird and wonderful. Beautiful snorkelling as well,

Some towns in Madagascar the cruising Guides suggest you do not stop at especially if you plan to stay overnight

Our final stop was a town called Maintirano which Turned out to be a great stop off. We filled the Boat with

Excellent  fruit and veg but no bread as their was no electric for the ovens. We also managed to track down and

Buy the  last 70 litres of diesel in the town, this with the aid of our local fisherman guide who had also provide

His canoe to take us through the surf and onto the beach. We would never have made it with our rubber dinghy.

 So with our stores replenished as well as we could hope for it was time for our 900mile crossing to Richards

Bay South Africa. Once Again Niamh had a friend flying to Durban on the 17th  Nov  so with a final stop on an

Offshore Island for one last swim in warm waters and a final chance for me to collect a few shells from the beach

It was farewell Madagascar. The Sail across went smoothly,  But we did manage to completely destroy our

Spinnaker, I had been expecting that it would give up sometime during the trip and we had managed to keep

It together with spinnaker repair tape. We had had some superb sails down the coast of Madagascar flying the

Spinnaker so at least it had gone  whilst in action not rotting in a sail bag.   So if anyone knows of a spinnaker

For a 44ft yacht with a 18metre masthead rig in good condition I know a good home for it.  Otherwise its another

Expensive Christmas present to myself and none for anyone else. During the crossing we did get 24hrs of pretty

Grim weather and wind and during the night we managed to have enough water come back up through the sink

To overflow into our fridge which is alongside.  The following we had to bail out seawater from the fridge and

Dump most of the contents, not a good job whilst the boat is pounding into the seas at 6 knots. I put that bit in

To give some reality to this otherwise blissful life we are experiencing.  As we approached  S A I could not make

Up my mind whether to stop at Richards Bay or continue on another 84 miles to Durban. Richards Bay got the

Vote as we would be in  and docked by 1800 hrs and would then be able to go for a beer and some food at a

Restaurant it also had the advantage of having Game reserves close by which we would be able to visit.

 So at 2000 we were sat at a restaurant with a bottle of South African wine and dinner on the table chatting

To a South African Guy who originated from my favourite Portuguese city of Porto by 2230 we were in the

Cabin of his fine new catamaran sampling some of Portugal’s finest. By the way we only parked against his

Boat because the engine which had been running for the last 6 hours had stoped when put into neutral and did not


Want to restart. No worries started after we had rafted up and is still going great.   That’s it  only S A to Do.


Living on the outlying Islands of the Coast of Madagascar.  Farther and son our  Fishermen guide,& diesel provider.

Also our transport onto beach through the Surf.