The next day, we had some catching up to do. Fortunately, we didn’t have to wash down the boat because we had a couple of nice rain showers during the night. But, some house cleaning was needed and I had some Internet business to do. I was in the process of recruiting and training a new writer for Google Earth Blog (which I have published since 2005).
The next day, Karen and I went ashore to see the town some and to try and find a courtesy flag for our boat. When we enter a new country, we are supposed to fly the local country flag from our right spreader on the mast. Another yachtie told us approximately where they found one. We attempted to ask several local stores where to get a “petite drapeau”. But, each time we got directed to somewhere else we couldn’t find. We walked through some of the back streets where lots of locals shop in town. Very rustic on crooked dirt roads with rusted tin-roof coverings. We found some really large ones, but we elected to wait before buying one until we got better directions. Later the yachtie who told me about the location took me ashore. We found the store, but they were out. But, another shop keeper offered to go find us one and brought it back a few minutes later.
Here are some photos from Sainte Marie (note a few of the photos came from other boats s/v Delwhinnie and s/v Solace):
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Our friends on Solace started heading north, the day after we arrived, towards Diego Suarez – which is a large protected bay near the north end of Madagascar. Winds and seas at the northernmost cape of Madagascar are notoriously a bit challenging to get right. So, boats coming around often stop at Diego Suarez to wait for the right weather.
On the morning of our third day, several other boats left to head north as well. That afternoon, Karen and I decided to sail north a few miles to a pretty looking bay still on Sainte Marie. We had a nice brisk sail along the shore seeing lots of fish and sea birds along the way. We kept a sharp eye out for whales because several of the other boats had seen them going north.
The next morning we planned to leave mid-morning to time our arrival at Diego Suarez for daylight almost two days away. Early in the morning, I saw a large catamaran with a delivery crew dressed up in foul-weather gear arrive and set anchor next to us. It was a Priveledge 615 (61.5 feet) called s/v Cirrus. Shortly after, I noticed two whales just outside a reef nearby. A few minutes later, I saw whales just a short distance away from our boat. Karen had just woken up, so I suggested we raise our anchor and drift closer to the whales. We watched a mother and what appeared to be two calf or a young adult and one calf. Map below shows our anchoring spot.
Soon after we started heading north, and departed the waters of Sainte Marie. More about that trip in an upcoming post.