I like to move it move it! Exploring Madagascar

She is clothed in strength and dignity
and laughs without fear of the future…

I finally arrived in Toliara (Tuléar), Madagascar!!! Before I left Antananarivo I was informed that in order to get to my next stop down south (Anakao) I would have to take a 12 hour bus ride on a taxi brousse. The alleged 12 hour bus ride was actually 20 hours!! It was definitely an experience… Nobody spoke english but we sounded amazing together during our sing-alongs to Shania Twain, Rihanna, Adele, Bob Marley & the Beatles.

When nightfall came, there was a ridiculous entanglement of arms, legs & heads everywhere…it didn’t matter if you knew the person next to you or not, you were bound to know them very well by morning because everyone just positioned themselves any way that they could to get comfortable and sometimes that meant sleeping a bit on top of you. The pit stops every couple of hours couldn’t come soon enough (for those of you know me, you know I am a peeing machine!) It was nice to have a little fresh air from the musky stench of the bus and I now have a new appreciation for highway rest stops in the States. As you can see from the photos below, it’s always an adventure to go to the bathroom here. Each stop had a little restaurant as well; and you know you’ve been traveling for a while when you scoop the flies out of your soup, fling them to the side and keep on eating.

I finally got to see baobab trees before the sun set, which was a plus and tasted some good food from the masses of people that swarmed the bus at every pit stop. All in all it was a good journey.

I woke up to this amazing sunrise and knew it was going to be a great day.

The swarms of bus/taxi “agents” were buzzing around me as soon as my foot hit the ground from exiting the bus. It reminded me of the seagull scene from finding nemo, when they are fighting over the fish. Thankfully Tamby, from Aina Madagascar had arranged a taxi to pick me up from the bus station. I met my host from Anakao at the Atlantis Madagascar office. All of the boats had already left for the day to go to the island,  so we went and explored the town of Tuléar and would hop on a pyrog to sail over to Anakao bright and early in the morning 😀

We caught the “Zebu Express” to walk us across the beach in order to avoid the trash and “land mines” aka piles of human/animal feces on the beach….I know, it’s a little disgusting, but it is what it is…

There was a group of 3 friendly polish guys getting in the same pyrog for our 2 & 1/2  hour journey across the waters to Anakao. We chatted about life, places we’ve been, where we’d like to go, they invited me to Poland, so I now have a new stop for the bucket list 🙂

On the South West coast of Madagascar lies the small fishing village of Anakao. The white sand and crystal clear lagoon were very welcoming as we arrived to this absolutely stunning location!

A party was getting ready to take place to celebrate their move to this new location. I got settled into my bungalow and went back out to the common area to play the impossible game of Chinese Checkers and chat with the new gang.

The music began as the sun went down, the island locals came out of the wood work to enjoy the delicious Malagasy and French cuisine and the tasty rum punch. The men started doing their funny chicken dance and Christine, Michael and I jumped right in with them, dancing the night away.

Atlantis Madagascar is the only official PADI dive center south of Nosy Be, and everything is in place for you to  during your stay. Ryan covered all of the information and instruction for me to begin earning my  PADI certification. After a few hours of review it was time to practice what I had learned in the open water. We hopped in their dive boat that has the face of a shark painted on it. I felt free as we skimmed across the ocean with the the wind blowing through my hair. We dropped anchor at an amazing diving spot. It took me a few seconds to calm down my adrenaline and finally get under the water. It’s a strange feeling to be able to swim around underwater like a fish without having to come back up for air on a regular basis.  There were so many breathtaking views of the coral reef. Each section containing some new diverse wildlife. My camera is only made for 30ft. depths and started freezing up the further I went down, but I think I still got some decent video (above). I saw lion fish, stone fish, angel fish, clown fish, a water snake, puffer fish, parrot fish, a star fish….I actually cannon name all of the fish that we saw, one because there were soooo many and two because I am not up to date on the fish names, but either way it was amazing to be swimming with all of them. They come up to you to inspect you and see if you’re a threat of not, several of them just came and hung out by my face looking at me like “What are you doing down here? Are you a giant fish? You don’t look like a threat so I’m just going to swim around you” It was complete magic. I can’t wait to dive again!

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tina
    Jul 03, 2012 @ 15:03:59

    How beautiful the water and sunrise are. I am so glad you are enjoying your adventures and sharing them with us.


  2. kristiwiley
    Jul 03, 2012 @ 16:31:34

    Great post and video. I was kinda hoping that Move It Move It would be the song of choice. It makes me think of Madagascar everytime.

    So, I’ve been struggling with a life decision for a day or two. I asked for a sign today and then read the words at the end of the video. Whoa! My heart and head have been duking it out for the final decision and that basically sums it up to follow your heart. Hmmmmm…

    By the way, Poland has so been on my list for awhile!


  3. Pixel Safari
    Jul 25, 2012 @ 01:39:55

    I love your post. I’m glad you are enjoying life under the sea. I have been diving since 1988, and I never tire of the wonders the ocean have to give. You must dive Lembeh, Indonesia. It’s the muck capital of the world and the strangest creatures are there to be found. My daughter is a lot like you in your love for traveling and adventure.


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