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Madagascar, Mahajanga: A Port worth Visiting

By Val Ellis last modified Dec 18, 2013 12:36 PM
Notes from a visit by S/V Wapiti in September 2013.

Published: 2013-12-18 00:00:00
Countries: Madagascar

We had been in doubt about visiting Mahajanga as we had had some bad reports about theft and crime.  However we considered that these were probably old and out of date and we had no problems during our stay which we enjoyed very much.

Anchorage is difficult – the small craft harbour is shallow and very busy, anchoring off the port is exposed and there is a lot of traffic . We anchored as close in to Schneider Bay as possible, GPS  15deg 42.91’ S  46deg 17.79’ E right on the edge of the shallows. The bay itself is too shallow for mooring except for a cat. This was close to a mooring buoy that oil tankers used but they tie up between the buoy and the mole so there was no problem. The anchorage was mostly OK apart from one night when a westerly swell persisted.  We took our dinghy to a small beach and paid 5000 Ar as a minding fee. From there it was a 3000 Ar taxi ride to town.

Facilities: There is a very good supermarket – Score – much better than any in Hellville. Also there is a good fresh market.  Or you can sit in a café having a cold drink and the food will come to you on ladies’  heads – the strawberries were excellent!

Formalities: The harbour master was very helpful (Ratovonjanahary Pascal  Tel: 032 11 257 20) and he lent us his car and driver to complete formalities.  The only cost was 20,000Ar departure tax from immigration.  They did not want to see the last port clearance.

The port is one of the last strongholds of sail anywhere and it was fascinating to see the large schooners without engines coming in to the quay and being unloaded by hand.  We would recommend a stop here as it is such an interesting place.

Our thanks to Roger Morgan for sending us this report.

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