We next sailed the short distance to Crater Bay at Nosy Be. Crater Bay is the main “hangout” for foreign yachts with a partial-service marina. They don’t have dockage, but do have paid moorings, a carening area, a dinghy dock, a restaurant/bar, water, and other minor services. Crater Bay is also the primary “port” for local boats made up of primarily wooden dug-out canoes and wooden sailboats used for small transport between destinations around Madagascar. They would often sail right through the busy anchorage as seen here. The local boats parked near a beach where they mended fishing nets and loaded cargo. In the early mornings the bay would be filled with local dug-outs fishing. Some used small nets and we were glad to see such sustainable fishing. We have never seen large fishing nets or trawlers at use here.
We spent several days in Crater Bay organizing trips for provisions, fuel, souvenir shopping, and tours. We met up with other cruising sailors who were constantly arriving at Nosy Be. The usual meeting place was the marina restaurant and bar which was cleverly made out of a small train. The coal car was used for the toilet. Awnings near the locomotive providing the dining and BBQ area. The primary foods were beer and pizza which were both good. There’s some panoramas of the bar in the slideshow. That’s the crews of s/v Subuti, Mystic, Solace, and Tahina in the picture.
We went to Hellville again multiple times, and we visited the city market for local fruits and vegetables. Amazing variety of people and goods. And always a thrill to see local people in such an busy place. The oldest profession is thriving in Madagascar as in most places, but we were surprised to see a store called “Quality Girls” – it turned out to be a clothing store. It got our attention, and it was Gina from Solace who pointed it out first.
Other cruising yachts started arriving from the Seychelles. We saw s/v Smoke, s/v LeuCat, s/v Grommit, and s/v Solace all arriving at Nosy Be. It was great meeting boats who have nearly completed their journeys across the Indian Ocean and hearing some of their tales of their experiences, and their plans for future passages.
Here’s a slideshow giving you a taste of our experiences at Crater Bay and Hellville.
View full-sized slideshow
And below is the map showing Crater Bay: