About Madagascar and dangerous anchorages

Even though we arrived here only a few days ago, we have had quite a few exciting experiences on the fourth largest island of the world. It almost seems like the more dangerous the anchoring location is, the better the musicians are. We are not sure if this correlation is scientifically correct, but check out our latest recording and the respective (embarrassing) anchoring stories that accompany these. Coincidence? We don’t think so.

Basically, there are two main options of how you can secure your boat upon arrival. Either you find the nearest marina and have the possibility of fixing your boat at the docks, or you simply drop your anchor(s) somewhere around 50 meters off the beach.

The first option has the clear advantage that it is more convenient for getting on and off the boat, also for bringing supplies and especially electronic equipment on and off the boat. But you should also be aware of the docking fees, and also the possibility of rodents and other little critters getting on board much more easily.

Well, on some of the beautiful tiny islands that we’ve been to you don’t really have a choice anyway since they simply do not have marinas. So you check the depth of the water where ever it is you would like to anchor, and then you chuck out your anchor and make sure the chain length between anchor and boat is approximately three times the depth. Then you inflate your dinghy and paddle ashore. Pretty straight forward eh? Well … easier said than done!

1. Problems with low and high tide

The greenhorns we sometimes apparently still are, we seriously did not realize that it was low tide when we anchored. When we finally see land after weeks of seeing only water, we generally get overly excited and just want to get some cold beer and hot, delicious pizza into our hungry tummies! Excited for the goodness that was awaiting us ashore, we threw out just a bit too little chain. When we came back from our 5-hour self indulging restaurant trip, the high tide had come and basically swept away Marianne. We could only watch as some other sailors got on board of Marianne to start the motor and navigate her to her old spot. A little embarrassing … just a little.

Back when we arrived in Darwin we underestimated the low tide. So one night we were surprised that the boat slowly started tilting to one side and at this point it was too late to do anything about it … the boat came down to the ground, but at least the landing was soft. And on the upside, we got to take a good look at the keel.

2. Accidents while paddling from the boat to land, or back

After the incident with the anchor at our first spot on Madagascar, we decided that we wanted to move to a new spot. We chose a place closer to the actual harbor, which however also meant a lot more traffic around Marianne. One fine day, we were on our way to Marianne in our dinghy after a nice little recording session. A fast boat for commuting to another island approached us rather quickly, and apparently did not see us in our little boat, paddling towards Marianne. This is also because they go at a speed where the front of the boat rises out of the water considerably. The boat did not slow down or change course … so it basically ran over us. We got lucky and only got a little wet, and our recording equipment and computer stayed dry. This, however, could have also been the last day of our journey.

Another aspect to anchoring instead of using a boat dock is that stormy weather can keep us from paddling to the boat, because our equipment would get wet on the way. Which just means … off to the bars!

And here are some pictures:

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