Wow! Madagascar has been quite the roller coaster. It has both exceeded all expectations and been hugely disappointing.
The sail South from Ile St. Marie was really quite idyllic. We hopped from one beautiful anchorage to the next for the first few days and spend two nights anchored in the lee of a gorgeous offshore reef that was reminiscent of Beveridge and Minerva. Perhaps naively, we didn’t expect to find such places in Madagascar.
Sitting out in the middle of the Indian Ocean with a storm bearing down on us, just holding our breath and hoping it will go away. The forecast models still can’t agree on where this cyclone is going to go or what it’s going to do. Some say it’ll go West and sit over Northern Madagascar. Others say that it’ll go South and cut across our track about 400 miles to the West of us. Either way, we’re faced with sitting out here for four more days, doing nothing except watching films, reading books and trying not to be too nervous. There is an alternative though.
Officially the Indian Ocean cyclone season starts in November. This year, apparently, it’s spot-on!
We got an email yesterday. To paraphrase:
“I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there’s a cyclone forming and you’re headed right for it.”
We’ve put the clocks back twice now and still have another three hours to go. We really should have changed three hours already but one of the luxuries of being out here on our own is that the number on the clock is largely irrelevant.
Almost one and a half thousand miles sailed. Two and a half thousand left. The moon has gone from a Cheshire Cat smile to a large white blob, with either a man or a rabbit in it depending on which cultural legend one follows.
The Indian Ocean is living up to it’s reputation. Three separate sets of swells are converging and making things very lumpy. Bob lurches and rolls like a drunken man in unpredictable ways, knocking the wind from the sails and re-filling them with a bang on a regular basis. It is easy to understand why sailors are traditionally superstitious; it seems like all is calm and well until one of us dares to mention that perhaps the sea state is improving. Then, we immediately get picked up and tossed somewhere, and the sounds from the deck of banging sails and lines and the shaking of the rigging reproach our sentiments smartly.