09 Novemeber 2012 (Eastern Hemisphere)

Dear F&F, Well, the guide book and Des and Nell of \”Gambit\” said, \”don\’t go there!\”… The guide book further says, when the prison closed…all the thieves and murderers came here….. Food for thought.

However, I wanted to top off fuel and go to a last market before we headed to Baly Bay for our jump off to South Africa. If it was that bad, we\’d just leave.

We arrived in the late afternoon and with the tide falling against the 20 knot westerly we\’d MOTORED into all day, the standing waves were impressive.

The one anchorage the guide book recommended was \”full\”. Read that as ONE boat. It was 5 feet deep in most of that bay, too shallow for my tastes with a strong tidal flow. We went to the far East end of the wharf and found a big boat ramp and a literal \”Ship\’s Graveyard\”. There were dozens, perhaps a few hundred people mulling about the boat ramp with all the coming\’s and goings and right next to it, 25 rusted out hulks. These were mostly small coastal freighter which were clearly one day going to be reclaimed as scrap. To our surprise, at high tide around 11 pm, one of the \”junks\” backed off the beach and pulled up the wharf. Apparently, it\’s used as a cheap repair yard too.

We anchored in 10 feet of water which at low tide became 6 feet of water. That\’s UNDER the hulls of course, so we\’ve about 3 feet (1 meter) of clearance. The bottom was soft mud, so no worries. We\’ve been told about theft stories here, the town is very very poor. The north side beaches looked fairly up market, but the south side wharf area was about as poor as we\’ve seen.

We had an uneventful night and the next morning I went toward the boat ramp with my 13 jerry cans for diesel and was hailed by Andre the boat boy! Andre wanted 10,000 Airy Airy for himself and a friend. That\’s $5.00 USD. He got me a taxi. The taxi driver, \”Mr. Tafita\”, wanted 5,000 Airy Airy. That\’s $2.50 USD. So, you get the concept. They\’re poor. Tafita and I went to the ATM, the diesel station and the quite nice \”Score\” Market. It all took 2 hours. I gave the boys tips amounting to twice what they asked for. For Mr. Tafita, it was three times what he\’d asked for. I thought I was going to be made Mayor of Majunga.

Nikki was embolden and I took her ashore and went back to watch the boat. She walked the 300 meter to the market and had no problems whatsoever. The market was nicer than Hellville\’s (new nice market).

As the wind was back up and the internet was as good as we\’d seen on the boat, we stayed the second night in preparation to go to Baly Bay where we\’d jump off for Richard\’s Bay, SA. We sent \”Sunflower\” and email with peoples names and phone numbers for the taxi, etc. People like it when \”Beach House\” goes ahead of them. They get lots of current information.

More soon, Scott and Navigator Nik