We departed Mahambo by ferry on the 13th to Ille Sainte Marie. The ferry was supposed to leave between 10:00 and noon and departed at just after 12:00. The boarding process started at 10:00. There is no dock or pier for the ferry so a small boat makes trips back and forth to the ferry carrying cargo and passengers. We boarded the ferry at about 10:30 and sat in the inside lower section of the boat where the engine fumes started to become everwhelming after a short period of time. They left the engines running the whole two hours that the boarding process took. Fortunately there was Malagasy music videos playing on the front TV screens but even this became a little overwhelming after a while. The crossing was supposed to take three hours, it took four hours and at times it seemed like the boat was hardly moving. With a capacity of about 220 people, I guess they take their time so as not to induce too many vomiting episodes as the sea was quite rolling. Fortunately there was a dock at our destination so the disembarkation process was a lot quicker and smoother. We were met by a tuc tuc and driven about 2 kms away to Libertalia, a nice French run and owned resort situated on the palm lined shores of the Canal de Sainte Marie/Indian Ocean. The island was a popular base for pirates in the 17th and 18th centuries and a pirate cemetary relpete with skull and crossbones grave markers still exists near the main town of Analanjirofo. The island is tropical and driving the main road was very similar to driving some of the small coastal roads in Jamaica. We ended up doing very little exploration due to the fact that on the evening of our arrival I had 1 beer, a snack and then at dinner time turned white and made a mad dash back to our room where I threw up what seemed like the past 3 days of any and all liquid I had consumed so I wasn’t really in the exploration mood. I wasn’t sick per se after this episode but just felt “off”. If we had one more day we would have rented an ATV and gone off checked out the island. What can you do? These things happen sometime.
Our bungalow was set just back from the seaside and beside a nice infinity pool and long pier which extended to a small rock island. Unfortunately you couldn’t swim off of the beach as there were sea urchins and coral and was grassy when the tide was out and very shallow when the tide was in. You could however swim off of the end of the pier and there were some nice coral formations but not many fish.