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Sailing in Madagascar

By Sue Richards last modified Oct 10, 2009 06:26 PM

Published: 2009-10-10 18:26:09
Countries: Madagascar

Before flying back to Europe I want to give you a short summary of the situation here, as I will have not too much time later.

There were quite some incidents with murder and thefts recently that should be commented in the forums, as many sailors do not know the background.

There is a gratis visa available until December 2009 for up to 1 months , the extention up to 3 months will be possile, for about 25. E, at the commisariat of the clearance ports (Diego, Hellville, Mahajanga)

To clear the boat you have to check in at 4 places ( police, customs at port and customs main building beside the catholic church in Hellville and harbour authorities) takes not mor than 1 to 2 hours as close to each other in Nosy Be, Helleville, you will be charged for a cruising fee and stay about 1 E a day for the whole boat. Normally small fees of 2 E for the officials are not unusual, as their salaraies are low. Guards 1 or 2 E a good person is Jimmy in hellville, fully reliable, speaks some English.

I personally would say that it is, despite of the incidents, safe here, what concearns the safty of life, as long as you stay on the water and not dealing with sex and drogs and if not going to the capital. I had been warned before I went alone for about 3 weeks with a motobike across the northern part of the main island. I found people extremely friendly and hospital and had no problem so far in all the 8 months I stayed there all together.

Of coarse your belongings should always be normally guarded and locked where possible. Especially outboard engines of high power are often stolen, but this is at many places we sail. The problem seems to me that the economical situation has worsend dramatically as one source of income, tourism, for many has broken down. Not seldom in restaurants I was the only guest. Now the rainy season will srt soon and many people will have a hard time because of that.

The bist time here is, as you know, from April to October. After January you risque to get cought by a cyclon where you can expect 2 or 3 in the Mosambique channal and a far bigger number and more dranmatic heavy cyclons on the eastcoasts. In 2008 cyclon Ivan went up to 180 NMs/h with very heavy rainfalls which destroyed the infrastucture of the main island.

Anchoring in Diego Suarez (Antsiranana) should be done with extremely care, as there are a number of not marked sunken boats specially after last cyclons in 2008 and 2009. Be aware that your gps position will be not correct and try to do eyeball navigation for confirmation of your real position. My Maxsea chart was between Mitsu and Majanga about 0,7 zero point seven !! Nmls too much west and about 0,1 Nmls to the south so that I had to shift, if I wanted my real positon on the chart to the east and north. In all places where I could control it with a fix with the territory it was about everywhere the same abnormality with an accuracy of about 0,1 Nmls in the named aeria . In Mayotte however the positions were correct, and navigation helps and sighns correctly working.

Generally I would recomment to visit the aeria between Mitsu and Majanga as it is a very good place for cruising with boats and you will not find crowded anchorings. The few charterboats mainly stay close to their bases in Nosi Be. As between April and October you will not have to expect winds above 25 kn mainly NW and this normlly close to the mainisland between 13 and 18 h. Therefore you normally do not always need very sheldered anchorings. However be very attendif about not marked reefs.

Limited marine supplies you will find in Crater Bay, Nosi Be.

So far what I would like to give further to other sailors.

Best greetings and again thanks for your support.

Wolfgang Klier