We decided to leave Crater Bay and do some sightseeing in the area. It involved sailing across the bay to the far south side, spending a night, and then sailing back to the northeast to visit Komba – an island with a lemur tour where the lemurs are used to human interaction and you can feed them bananas. We also planned to do another tour on the east side of Nosy Be. We expected to take 3 or 4 days, which it did.We started out with our sail south, and we didn’t go far before we started seeing whales! Whales passed right behind Solace and we got some far-distant telephoto shots. The whales continued and went behind us a mile or two away. Later we saw whales breaching far ahead of us and got some more telephoto shots. Then those same whales passed right in front of Solace who was behind us. It sure made for a more interesting sail than usual. The weather here has been fantastic with pretty much sunny skies, nice breezes, and cool evenings. Very little rain as well.
We ended up spending the night behind a quiet little island with a small village. In the evening a couple of women with four young kids came out to trade with us. We got some bananas (for the lemurs we planned to visit) and traded them some canned vegetables. We could hear wildlife on shore, but didn’t see more than a few birds.
The next morning we left early and sailed some, but ended up having to motor more than half the distance to Komba. The anchorage is on the northeast side and is a beautiful spot! There is a rock island just off the cove beach that has a small resort nestled on it. Beaches are available on either side of it. The one on the left (south) has a small bar and restaurant called “Yolande” named after the owner who we met. The picture below shows the view from the beach bar (click for larger). Yolande caters to visiting boats and provides a shower, water for tanks, and shows you how to get around the island.We took the tour to see the lemurs first thing. Our guide showed us a variety of plants, fruits, trees, and wildlife along the way. We saw two varieties of chameleon, gecko, tortoises, a Madagascar boa snake, and of course lemurs! They call lemurs “Maki” here and he actually called them out “Maki, Maki, Maki” and they came through the trees looking forward to getting some banana. We each handed out pieces of banana and they would jump on your shoulder and politely take the banana out of your hand. Some were more eager than others, but it was all fun and they were quite gentle and curious.
Coincidentally, along the walk to the lemurs, there are lots of souvenir shops selling lots of things like embroidered table cloths, paintings, wood sculptures, fabrics, shells, t-shirts, etc.
We finished off our walk with cold beers at Yolande’s, and later went back after sunset to have dinner. The beach is very picturesque and a wonder to enjoy. The sunset from the boats was also a delight.
The next morning, Gina, from s/v Solace, and I went on a hike up the mountain. For different health reasons, our spouses are not well-suited for hikes like this. We didn’t know what trail to take, but found someone who showed us part way, then found a couple of young kids to walk us further up the trail. Unfortunately, the young boy seriously needed a shower and to launder his clothes. But, we only had to endure the smell for a couple of miles. We never found the top of the mountain, or a view of the anchorage we wanted. But, we did find an interesting new outdoor chapel with a christian cross mounted on the top of a majestic granite rock. They had steps to the cross which afforded a beautiful view of Nosy Be. We also saw some interesting trees and flowers along the way.
We took our boats up the east coast of Nosy Be and went to another park that has a wildlife tour. There we saw some more lemurs, who were more wild and did not approach humans. We saw a nocturnal lemur, a huge boa (about 12 feet in length), more chameleon and geckos, an interesting frog, and some other varieties of trees, plants, and fruits.
We also had a very unique sighting while riding our dinghy to shore here. We saw two or three zebra shark right at the surface, which was really unique. Unfortunately no pictures, but one of the most unique sightings we have seen in quite some time in the sea.
The following photo album gives you a peak at the interesting wildlife we saw including the lemurs! Definitely worth a viewing if you want a taste of what its like to see wildlife in Madagascar.
The map below shows where we anchored at Komba. We ended up going there for another night after the second tour.