Seychelles to Madagascar - July 2007
Oliver, along with the amateur crew consisting of Jeremy, Alex, Abbie and Jessie arrived in Mahe early morning of 16 July to join the professional crew to sail Boo Too from Mahe to Madagascar via Mayotte and a number of the outlying Seychelles islands. Excitement and exhilaration all around!
Unfortunately a rather vital spare part for the generator did not arrive and after waiting four days for it we decided to depart without it and pick it up in Mayotte. This also meant having to cut out stops in the Amirantes group and Cosmoledo Island and instead sail directly to Mayotte.
We left Mahe on 20 July in the late afternoon and within a short while had the main up with one reef in it and the jib out, cracking along at a good 8 to 9 knots. No real change for the next 36 hours just great sailing but with a building and somewhat confused sea on the beam and a strengthening wind just forward of it. A second reef in the main and two in the jib and we were still cracking along at 9 to 10 knots, although by now some of the crew were feeling a little rough and at least one only just made it to the lea rail in time!
About a day and a half later the wind and the seas started to ease a little and twelve hours later we had flat seas and no wind. Now only about 12 hours away from Mayotte. The only fish caught on this leg was by Jeremy: a really chunky 20lb yellow fin tuna – great excitement!
We arrived at the entrance to the reef surrounding Mayotte in the afternoon of 24 July. Since our main engine exhaust had split we came in rather cautiously under sail, the charts were good and so no problems threading our way through the reefs. By 8pm we were at anchor in Dzoudze bay and a very peaceful night’s sleep was had by all.
We spent three full days in Mayotte which is a delightful small island about 150nm west of Northern Madagascar. Met up with various other yachts we had first made friends with in the Chagos Archipelago and seen again in the Seychelles: Ruling Angel, Ti Tom & Juno among others. On our last day, 27 July, we left Dzoudze early and sailed south about 15nm to the entrance to one of the passes that we intended to go through after dark. In the meantime we wanted to scuba dive on the outside of the reef. This was Jeremy’s first dive since last trying in the Caribbean a few years before when he couldn’t pop his ears. All went well and he and the rest of us thoroughly enjoyed the dive.
Back on board with preparations being made for our departure. We intended to sail to Banc de Geyser on our way to Nosy Be. Banc de Geyser is about half way between Mayotte and Nosy Be and is quite a large reef, about 15nm in diameter and mostly under water so quite hard to find without running into it! We arrived early in the morning of 28 July and found a suitable place to anchor without too much swell in about 20 meters of water. Our proposed dive site was about a mile and a half away so all the equipment was loaded into the tender and off we went. Two great dives with lunch in between and then on our way once again. We arrived in Madagascar the following morning at the large island of Nosy Be dropping anchor off the town of Hell Ville. We cleared into the country here with no problems and then sailed on northwards to the little island of Tsara Bajina. Dinner that night ashore with the Chairman and his wife of the 5 star resort on the island. Delicious!
The next day we sailed south to Komba, a small island opposite Hell Ville taking the Chairman and his wife with us since they and our amateur crew were leaving to go their respective ways the day after. Komba was intriguing: We visited a local village along with a nature walk in the tropical forest in which there were many lemurs and other indigenous animals and plants to be seen.
A final night on board with yet another fantastic dinner prepared by Jen and then a short sail over to Hell Ville and goodbyes to the departing amateur crew, all of whom had been great company on the voyage.