Tuesday, June 28

Madagascar, Day Five: Ile Sainte-Marie

Even though we had more than half our time in Madagascar remaining, due to the inflexibility of internal flights here we were forced to fly to our final destination anyway. I was a bit unsure about having to spend so much time in Ile Sainte-Marie, but these doubts disappeared as soon as we arrived there.

Ile Sainte-Marie is a comparatively small island off the eastern coast of Madagascar, an alternative getaway to the possible more popular Nosy Be. The idea is to get there and experience a little bit of island flavour, you know literally disconnecting you and all.

But arriving at the airport wasn't the end of our journey today. We were actually heading to an even smaller sub island off the south of Ile Sainte-Marie, Ile Aux Nattes. The experience started straight away as we shipped over to the island in a pirogue, a kind of single-piece canoe. The approach was pretty amazing, with the sense of remoteness, idyllicy and peace was quite overwhelming.

Our home for the next three nights is at La Petite Traversee, a beach lodge comprising of around five bungalows and a bar/restaurant. The place is pretty unreal; awesome views, sandy floors, no electricity and the like and hosted by the wonderful and weird Okie. Yes, it did rain quite heavily this afternoon, but that just added to the whole thing. We still got to explore the rest of the island at least.

The biggest shock on our mini exploration was to find the local mosque (map here). Just to give some perspective here, Ile Aux Nattes has a population of around 1300 of which a tiny minority are Muslim. The mosque itself could probably hold no more than 25 people, and in fact my friend and I were the Asr congregation.

The rest of the evening was spent hanging out in La Petite Traversee, eating, drinking and being merry - the bar had become the centre point for some wandering travellers also from the UK and we ended up playing cards (Arsehole) for a bit before ending the night watching Dr Hook videos on a projector our host pulled out of nowhere.

It was ace best.

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