Wednesday, June 29

Madagascar, Day Six: Diving, Pirates and Massages

I had some really strange dreams last night. For some reason my room got flooded - perhaps it was high tide or something - and my bed became a boat. I have no idea why I had such vivid images while sleeping but on discussing it with others it's apparently a common thing under the circumstance, something about living on a beach. In a hut.

After an excellent breakfast I went off for a dive. This was my first non-training dive after diving school in Mauritius and also turned out to be my deepest yet at a smidge over 20m. Apart from the usual wildlife I got to see an octopus, but the main highlight was hearing whale song under water. It was amazingly subtle yet exactly how you would imagine it - on asking my dive guide the whales were a few km away.

I was dropped off in the main town of Ile Sainte-Marie, Ambodifotatra. While waiting for my travel companions to meet me there I bumped into some other recently made friends and decided to grab some lunch with them. I had the Barracuda fish with vanilla sauce which was as amazing as it sounds, not least because of the beach view while eating it.

I spent another half hour or so exploring the small town - my main objective was finding the main mosque (map here) to find out details for Jummah, and I also managed to speak to a few local muslims about the facilities.

On the way back to La Petite we stopped off briefly at a pirate cemetery.

It was a little bit of an adventure getting there but pretty cool once we found it - think Goonies-lite.

On exiting we were caught in another downpour, something that was becoming par for the course on this trip, but we shrugged it off as we headed to the Princess Bora.

The reason we stopped off at this boutique hotel was to check out the on site spa we had been told about, and in particular the four hand massage they offered. My excitement was justified and it was pretty amazing; although the locals weren't able to exert as much pressure as I would have liked the novelty of having four hands was well worth the experience. The two masseurs were technically impressive too, perfectly weighted and synchronously timed as if they were one person. And it was super cheap to boot.

Getting home was fun as we dealt with walking down the muddy track in total darkness to catch our pirogue for a night time crossing. An awesome crayfish dinner was waiting for us there (with the soup starter also requiring an explicit mention), and after a well deserved shower we ended up playing boardgames and winding each up for the rest of the night.

All of a sudden we're not staying here long enough.

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