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Cruising Experiences Maldives/Seychelles/Madagascar/Nosy Be

By Val Ellis last modified Dec 24, 2010 03:23 PM

Published: 2010-12-24 15:23:59
Countries: Madagascar , Maldives , Seychelles

Just some short notes on the cruising experiences between the Maldives and Madagascar.

With the SW-Monsoon being very heavy and very early ‘Galateia’ had to make quite a detour from the Maldives to Chagos, but both destinations are well worth a visit. I sailed on portside tack until I reached 2° S, than tacked and sailed easily to Chagos. (First half of May 2010). Paradise found. Big discussions with the other vessels there, whether to sail tot he Seychelles or not because of the piracy situation. In the end I was the only one going west, being quite sure that the dhows would not make it against the SE-tradewinds. It is not their season for that part of the Indian Ocean. As expected, I did not get into any trouble.

Seychelles
Cruising the Seychelles was a bliss, partly because of all the charter-fleets having no business (because of piracy, which is ridiculous between Mahé, Praslin and La Dique, we are talking about a cruising area of 60 miles diameter, that is includes all the islands!).

The new Eden Island Marina just south of Port Victoria is a perfect place to stay. Sailmaker, fuel dock, good provisioning. Contact operations@edenislandmarina.sc

Heading south in July we aimed for Nosy Be, but the South easterlies showed us the way. Wonderful stops at Desroches and Assumption, where we saw a Humpback breeching next to ‘Galateia’. Giant turtles everywhere and friendly rangers, who are happy to see you despite the lack of a cruising permit for the area.

Aldabra itself is out of bounds for yachts for conservation reasons. Basic provisioning is possible.

Madagascar
Roughly 100 miles to the south we were in the lee of Madagascar and sailed in light breezes to Mayotte, enjoying French food. From Mayotte to Nosy Be is again an easy sail, if you are not unlucky enough to have a rare SE against you.

In Nosy Be we expected theft and criminal behaviour to be a nightmare, but actually we felt perfectly safe after a while. A French expat suggested a boatman for us, and that worked out perfectly. Sergio was a great help; from helping at customs and immigration to shopping and being guard for ‘Galateia’ or the dinghy. I made him organize an e-mail address, so if somebody wants to avoid trouble in Hellvlle, you can book him in advance: sergiojaozoky@yahoo.fr His family is well connected on the island an on the mainland, we did a wonderful 4-day tour tot he north of Madagascar with his uncle, who is a business man (building and transport) .

Costs for a good watchman are around 5 Euro a day, giving you better comfort than a marina berth. Highlights of the Nosy Be area are Baie de Russes (book a pirogue-tour with Paul and his wife, just great!), Tanikely (where you can pick up the one good mooring after 16:00hrs to stay overnight and share the island with nobody but the lemurs and the watchmen of the national park), Honey River and the Mitsio and Baradama archipelagos. The area has no ocean swell, sailing is in nice breezes, the anchorages are safe and well sheltered and an easy day sail distance one from another.

For personal reasons I had to leave ‘Galateia’ alone for one month. Safe moorings are available at the Crater Bay Marina if you contact Rudy, info@madavoile.com, www.madavoile.com. Sergio was the guard for ‘Galateia’ for one month – and coming back on board from Germany I found my vessel sparkling clean, toilets flushed every day, engine bilge cleaned, hull polished, perfect! The only theft that occurred was on the day of my return, when to thieves in the mooring area were caught on the spot an handed over the police. That makes one (failed!) incident in three months, and I guess that is below average for worldwide cruising.

The cruise down to Richards Bay, South Africa, was good despite the late departure (end of November) and the chance of an early cyclone. You see me knocking on wood!!

‘Galateia’s voyages are described day by day at www.jojo-wassersport.de/logbuch , all in German, but you will find all the places, pictures and dates.

Out thanks to Wolfgang Weber of SY Galateia for this report.

Noonsite Editor: Do not be complaisant about the pirates sailing in dhows. They are increasingly using previously pirated vessels as a ‘mother ship’ allowing them to operate over a much larger area and in worse weather conditions than they have previously.

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