Thursday, November 10, 2011

We were going to wake up at 5am for sunrise, but sun was already up by then, and we wanted to sleep. Crystal got up and had already ventured into the ocean twice by the time Justin got up at 6:30. It was bright and sunny, with a light breeze - just about perfect. We went to breakfast at 7:15, and had breakfast with Patricia and Simon. Patricia had been on Route 7 as well, but found it too touristy. While there were tourists there, we wouldn't call it "touristy." Presumably, any place that is really worth visiting has a lot of people there. It comes with the territory. She was also happy that this was her last stop, a good ending. That we did agree on. Simon told us how nothing could get shipped to Africa - everyone just assumes it won't make it, so they don't bother shipping. So he has a difficult time getting any sort of supplies that we would take for granted with Amazon and other sites. After breakfast, Patricia and Simon headed out, since Simon was taking her to the airport.

Crystal went back to the room to read and go in the ocean. Justin went exploring around the rocks and beach on the point. There were large granite rocks everywhere, with small streams cut by ocean water over time to make "lanes" through the rock. By carefully meandering, Justin was able to walk all the way to where the waves were crashing. It was a bit like Lava Pool in Kauai, with waves coming from multiple directions on the point. Also, with all the granite rocks, it looked a lot like what pictures of the Seychelles look like. This would make sense, since both Madagascar and the Seychelles are islands made from continental crust rather than volcanic activity.

After coming back, Justin looked up photos of Dypsis saintelucei on his computer, hoping that the photos would help our guide, Ernest, identify where they might be in the surrounding area. Unfortunately all the photos were of juvenile plants, and none were that zoomed in. But thankfully, when Justin indicated it was a Dypsis, Ernest indicated there was Dypsis Saintelucei in the area, so that took care of that. Justin set something up for the afternoon, and then came back and took a nap. Meanwhile, Crystal was reading in the hammock since the deck chairs were in the sun.

At 11, we went for a walk on the rocks together. We noticed a couple of small tadpoles or something - they looked like half reptile, half fishes. Near the point, there was a local fishing with a rope. He looked like he was experienced, but it also looked like his method wouldn't be especially successful. But then we saw one of the fish he caught - he had put into small pool in one of the rocks, so it couldn't escape. It was 18" long, so obviously his methods were pretty good. After walking around, we came back for lunch.

After lunch, Crystal went back for more reading and beach going, making the conscious decision not to put on suntan lotion. Justin, for some stupid reason (but again, of his own volition), forewent the beach to go on a hike for palm trees in the nearby forest. He and Ernest walked through a couple of nearby villages, then joined a local to walk through the forest. On the walk, they passed by a number of pitcher plants, which are carniverous plants. They attract flies with liquids inside the pitcher, then have hairs that are pointed downward that make it difficult for the insects to get out. The Manafiafy Lodge and the local village have some sort of joint program to protect the forest, presumably with the Lodge paying the local village some sort of fee.

On the walk, Justin indicated what he wanted to see, and the local seemed to know where everything was, plus more. There were several palm trees in the area, with quite a bit of Dypsis scottiana (a little feather palm), quite a few Dypsis prestoniana (which gets big, but Justin saw only juveniles), and then a couple of samples of Dypsis saintelucei (which is what Justin came for), Dypsis (Masoala) Madagascarensis, and Dypsis fibrosa. The small Dypsis saintelucei had red emerging fronds, just like our small ones in Pahoa and Vista. The large Dypsis saintelucei was enormous, probably 15 meters tall.

After Justin came back, we got cleaned up and then went to the bar for a couple of "sundowners," then watched the sunset from the rocks. It was interesting that on one side of the rocks, the wind was blowing quite hard from the northeast to the southwest, but on the other side of the rocks (where the Lodge is) the rocks stopped the wind, and it was dead calm. Back at the Lodge, before dinner, we had some drinks and talked with Dino, the bartender. We asked him what the Malagasy thought of westerners taking Malarone for Malaria. We weren't sure if they thought it was unnecessary, stupid, if they wished they had it too, or something else. As it turns out, it was something else - all Malagasy believe that westerners take medication for everything, and Malarone was just one of the many medications that they take. Yeah, that's pretty much true. We had dinner, and we were very tired, so we (for the last time) tried to get a good night's sleep.